Not everyone has ‘maids’: class differentials in the elusive quest for work-life balance
Date of Issue2016
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Work–life balance has come to the fore in Singapore as in other countries. Debates have focused on uneven gendered burdens. Less attention has been paid to the ways in which class matters in shaping outcomes for women. In this article, I argue that the work-care regime in Singapore is one that generates uneven consequences for women along class lines. The historical legacy of eugenics-influenced pronatalism, the pursuit of a corporation-centric development, the persistent reticence toward universal provisions and corresponding preference for ‘private’ solutions to care create a context in which women in low-income households have an especially hard time balancing wage work and familial responsibilities. The individualization and marketization of household needs, in Singapore and elsewhere, obscure the circumstances, needs, and well-being of women in lower class circumstances, and undermine the value of housework and care labor.
Gender, Place and Culture
© 2016 Taylor & Francis.