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, also considered macro power which is defined as public sphere power; mechanical, electrical or electronic knowledge and skill; employment ("bread-winning", "bringing home the bacon"); most dealings with money; or higher reasoning to perform tasks. The term micro power refers to men having greater power in the home; which means that it is easier for men to avoid house work and care labor. Micro power may also be a tool men use to prevent women from entering the workforce. When women are kept in the private sphere, men remain the sole provider financially, which provides headway in American society. 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).
In addition to the assigned gender roles that women keep themselves busy with each day, there is also paid work some women find themselves working towards. Like "men's work", more and more women are finding themselves in the public sector, contributing to their family financially. Women make up almost half of the employment population, yet see a fraction of the wages men bring home. When women join the work force they are often times still expected to complete household chores, along with providing for their spouse and children. Long work hours, and coming home to another job makes for a long day and many women are banding together to come up with better solutions to divide work and home. With women in the workforce, bigger risks come into play beyond balance and this includes low wages, glass ceilings, and sexual harassment. With these poor working conditions, it is difficult for women to rise in their positions and be taken seriously and not seen as a threat to their male counterparts.