Housework as Work

Working in the home means paid work and housework taking place in the same space. Lockdown has shown us a lot about work and what it means. When children’s homework, family meals and remote meetings all started taking place at the same table, the boundary between housework and paid work became even more blurred than it was before. The divide between the domestic world and the world of work has never been a straightforward one, rather it’s a rather artificial one which makes paid work seem more important while domestic labour becomes invisible. What if we could think about work differently? Where housework and paid work are seen as part of the same continuum of work.

When both types of work take place in the same space – as they still are during the UK’s semi-lockdown period – we have to ask, why do we still value salaried work more than the management and maintenance of our homes? Our homes are a vital part of our lives and the pandemic has highlighted this. As the public world of work shut down, even more pressure was placed on the home and the people who traditionally maintain it: women. We have to acknowledge how crucial the labour devoted to childcare and housework is so we can start discussing the issues we face when it comes to distributing work (all work) fairly and equally. What work do you do in the home? Share your story with us.