Mothering and the economy
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Mothering and the economy book
Mothering is part of and interwoven with the economy at all levels from the bodily work of producing children and human milk to global flows of care and money. The formal economy continues to rely on the life-producing and social reproductive work in families and households, which largely goes unrecognized and uncounted. Mother(like) work makes up a large share of the formal economy in terms of pink-collar professions in the health, care, service, and education sectors, where it is often undervalued and underpaid. Despite the reliance of the formal economy on mothers’ productive work, mothering is excluded from economic thinking and from systems of accounting and valuation, and it is often the cause of women’s exclusion or marginalization in the formal economy and the workplace. This chapter discusses the various ways in which motherhood is intertwined with the economy, the ways in which mothering has been and still is rendered invisible and devalued in economic thinking, and historical and contemporary efforts to value mothering as unpaid work.