Women's work or woman's work is a term used particularly in the West to indicate work that is believed to be exclusively the domain of women and associates particular tasks with the female gender. It is particularly used with regard to work that a mother or wife will perform within a family and household. (See sexual division of labour.) Related concepts include gender role, wage labour and employment, female workforce, and women's rights (cf. Gender roles and feminism). The term may be pejorative, when applied to men performing roles which are largely designated for women.
The term "women's work" may indicate a role with children as defined by nature in that only women are biologically capable of performing them: pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. It may also refer to professions that involve these functions: midwife and wet nurse. "Women's work" may also refer to roles in raising children particularly within the home: diaper changing and related hygiene, toilet training, bathing, clothing, feeding, monitoring, and education with regard to personal care. It may also refer to professions that include these functions such as that of: teacher (up to the age of puberty), governess, nanny, day care worker, and au pair. "Women's work" may also refer to roles related to housekeeping such as: cooking, sewing, ironing, and cleaning. It may also refer to professions that include these functions such as: maid and cook. Though much of "women's work" is indoors, some is outdoors such as: fetching water, grocery shopping or food foraging, and gardening.
By contrast, "men's work" involves the usage of strength or work outdoors; mechanical, electrical or electronic knowledge and skill; employment ("bread-winning", "bringing home the bacon"); most dealings with money; or higher reasoning to perform tasks. Among some people, men's work is considered to be the opposite of "women's work" and thus does not include activities within the home or with children, though "men's work" traditionally includes work that involves both (such as repairing appliances and disciplining children).