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Confronting Economic Gender Inequality


Cohen, Philip N. (2007). Confronting Economic Gender Inequality. Review of Radical Political Economics, 39(1), 132-137.


The expansion of market relations into new arenas, reflecting the bourgeois need to “nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere” (Marx and Engels 1998: 39), is not just geographic. Colonization begins at home, as seen in the progressive commodification of women’s previously unpaid labor. Thus, even as women slowly improved the gender division of housework (Bianchi et al. 2000), more and more unwaged labor was moving into low-wage jobs in the service economy (Duffy 2005). Women’s waged work is still gendered and segregated, tainted by a traditional and ongoing association with devalued characteristics such as caring (Cohen and Huffman 2003; Folbre 2001). Nevertheless, paid workers are more interchangeable than unpaid workers— just ask a male fast-food cook—and that could be good for gender inequality. These two books bring much needed attention to the problems of gender inequality in labor markets themselves, and also in other arenas in an era dominated by expanding market reach.


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Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Review of Radical Political Economics


Cohen, Philip N.