A Labour of Love
Women, Work and Caring
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What are the realities of ‘community care’ – the unpaid care given by hundreds of thousands of women, often in their own homes – for children and adults who are handicapped or chronically sick, or for frail elderly people? Originally published in 1983, this book explores the experiences of such women and the dilemmas which ‘caring’ poses for them. At a time when most women needed to earn money from a paid job, how did ‘carers’ manage to juggle their caring and other domestic responsibilities, and what happened if they had to give up work?
Against a background of government policies which favour care ‘by’ the community, the contributors to this book raise crucial issues for social and economic policy. Hilary Graham examines what caring really means and Clare Ungerson asks why women do it. Sally Baldwin and Caroline Glendinning focus on mothers with handicapped children and Fay Wright on single adults with elderly dependants. Alan Walker highlights the dependencies implicit in caring relationships with the elderly. Lesley Rimmer looks at the economic ‘costs’ of care, and Dulcie Groves and Janet Finch examine the invalid care allowance – a carers’ benefit for which married women can never qualify.
In exploring the domestic sector of welfare, A Labour of Love was a highly topical contribution to the debate both on welfare provision and on the division of labour between men and women at the time.
Table of Contents
Notes on Contributors, Acknowledgements, Introduction, Part 1: The Social Context of Caring, 1. Caring: A Labour of Love, 2. Why Do Women Care?, Part 2: The Experience of Caring, 3. Employment, Women and Their Disabled Children, 4. The Caring Wife, 5. Single Carers: Employment, Housework and Caring, 6. Care for Elderly People: A Conflict Between Women and the State, Part 3: The Economics of Caring, 7. The Economics of Work and Caring, 8. Natural Selection: Perspectives on Entitlement to the Invalid Care Allowance, Notes, Bibliography, Index
Janet Finch and Dulcie Groves