chapter  10
36 Pages

The state and the oppression of women

In this paper it will be argued that the state does this not directly but through its support for a specific form of household: the family household dependent largely upon a male wage and upon female domestic servicing. This household system is in turn related to capitalist production in that it serves (though inadequately) for the reproduction of the working class and for the maintenance of women as a reserve army of labour, low-paid when they are in jobs and often unemployed. This two-pronged relationship involves contradictions and, furthermore, the family household system has

its own history and roots in pre-capitalist society, so that state e'ffort cannot achieve a perfect fit between the household and the various needs of capitalism. State policy is thus constantly juggling to keep several balls in the air at once.