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2012 | 13 | 1 | 52-61

Article title

Osvobozování domácnosti



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The text deals with the efforts to save housework in relation to the process of women’s emancipation. Since the 19th century, using gas, electricity and modern devices in the household promised to eliminate physical exertion and to speed up work substantially. In the process women were to acquire time to participate in education and cultural life. In the 20th century we see a differentiation in women’s roles: educated professional women got rid of most domestic work by hiring other women to perform it. After the Second World War and in relation to the mobilization of women from homes to employment, the communist regime announced the project of the liberated household. A specialized enterprise was to provide full services to households: laundry, cleaning and mending of clothes, cleaning and others. Daily boarding was to be ensured by kitchens in preschool facilities, schools and factories. The displacement of a majority of housework from the household did not succeed, the services sector in real socialism permanently lagged behind the needs of households, and the weight of the second shift was born primarily by women. Since the 1970s the limited market offer and the limitations of public life resulted in various types of domestic activities flourishing further. The text also deals with the maximum rationalization of domestic operation as it has been implemented in the experiment of collective housing. The restriction on the kitchen space which was also reproduced in the housing cores of panel apartment buildings did not work operationally or socially. Food preparation and eating together remained important elements of family life, and today kitchens are the center of a functional home. Cooking has become a recognized activity in which men also participate. Most chores performed in the 19th century by women are carried out today by machines or have been taken over by the industry and paid services. What remains is work related to childcare and nursing the sick and elderly. The recognition and valuation of these activities, performed primarily by women, remain unresolved.




  • Gender, rovné příležitosti, výzkum, redakce, Sociologický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i., Jilská 1, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic


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