What Marriage Really Means for WomenBook - 2002
Men get one thing from marriage that women never do: they get wives.
Husbands and wives may say they are committed to equality, and indeed, many believe that they live that way. Yet, whether they are employed or not, wives still perform an astounding share of the physical, emotional, and organizational labor in marriage-everything from housework to 'sex work'. 'Wifework' is shorthand for this relentless routine of husband maintenance, and it's the reason that a married man is so much better off than a bachelor. He does fewer chores, is happier, healthier and generally more satisfied. A married woman, by contrast, will perform two to three times more unpaid physical, emotional, and organizational labor than her husband-and for a fraction of the rewards. Women today initiate three-quarters of all divorces, and wifework, Maushart argues, is at the core of their disillusionment. If family life is worth saving, the job description for wives will have to be rewritten.
Bolstering her own personal experience as a twice-married mother of three with substantial research and broad statistical evidence, Maushart delves into history to explore the theoretical and evolutionary reasons behind marital inequity. Her arguments are passionate, but she keeps her sense of humor intact throughout, producing a work that is lucid, provocative, and resonant.