Middle class women may be well off but often lack

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often lack property or labour force experience, and if divorced, could find themselves in poverty.The position of working class women is likely to be mixed, depending on whether or not she participates in the labour force, and depending on her wage. If the latter is adequate to support her and her children, she may be able to have some independenc e. More likely though, the working class woman has little income, responsibility for household tasks, and is inferior socially and in terms of power and independence to her husband. This may allow a male wage earner to exercise "personal power, compensa tion for his actual powerlessness in society. She is in other words, 'the slave of a slave.’" (Ritzer, p. 469).For women within the labour force, this work is often as alienating as that of men, or perhaps more alienating. Women are often paid less, and tend to be in subordinate positions. There are relatively few cases where women within the work force are m anagers or are in dominant positions within a hierarchy. For women who are not in the work force, alienation occurs in a different form, that of powerlessness, with women being required to serve others. (Based on Code, p. 39).b. Household and FamilySome Marxists view the household as an institution that functions to support capitalism and it permits or even encourages exploitation. That is, by creating and recreating sexual inequalities, and keeping women in the home with responsibility for fami ly subsistence, emotional support and reproduction, the family helps capitalism continue to exploit labour and helps maintains stability within a system of class oppression and inequality. There are various ways in which the family and sex roles do this.i. First are the strictly economic features. So long as women have primary responsibility for reproduction (physical and socialization) and household and family maintenance, women constitute a cheap form of labour, a reserve army of labour. T hey have been a latent reserve over the last forty years, some are a short term reserve over the economic cycle, and women are a labour reserve in a generational sense. That is, the expectation that women will not be as committed to many jobs as men, wit h time taken off for childbearing, child care, care of elderly parents, etc., allows employers to pay women less than men. The lower status of women within society also allows women to be paid less, since some wages and salaries are structured on status considerations.ii. A second feature is that these household and family responsibilities of women allow the extraction of surplus value, although in an indirect form. That is, much of the necessary labour of maintaining and reproducing workers is carried out as unpaid labour by women. Workers come to the labour force at no cost to employers, and if employers had to pay for reproducing workers, the cost would be considerably greater than what wages currently are. Where wages are family wages, so that the mal e wage is large enough to support the whole family, there is still much unpaid work in the

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