Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A homemaker is a person whose prime occupation is to care for their family and home. The term homemaker is used in preference to either housewife or househusband because it is inclusive, defines the rôle in terms of activities, rather than relation to another, and is independent of marital status. The terms stay-at-home mother and stay-at-home father are also used.
Traditionally this role has been filled predominantly by women. It is still the case today in most societies and many men and women alike view that a homemaker is the natural, appropriate and most fulfilling role for women. Reasons for choosing the occupation of a housewife vary, but many women choose it largely because of financial benefits and their view of families. In many countries, including the United States and Japan, housewives can further claim certain tax deductions. Feminists have criticized this tax policy of giving unfair financial incentive for young women to choose a housewife or a part-time job over full time job.
Many feminists, beginning with Betty Friedan, have criticised the marginalisation of women as housewives. Feminists generally suggest that homemaking should be an appropriate role for a parent of either sex. Also, they maintain that housewives can become socially isolated by being tied to their home.
Some feminists also point out that the monetary contribution of housewives work to society is ignored in standard formulations of economic output, such as GDP or employment figures. In the US, housewives work many hours a week without it being recorded, while depending on their partners employment to provide health insurance and money.
Despite many Westerners' criticism of women staying in the home, many cultures still view that it is vital that women stay at home. Many people argue that children are best raised by a mother in the home, and that many families fail when women seek to work outside the home. Many argue that couples who have jobs will seldom see each other and it is the women's role to make sure the house is clean.
Homemakers are usually financially dependent on members of the household who are employed; however, people working full-time (particularly under "at-will employment" arrangements) are also financially dependent. In many employment situations, women still face discrimination in salary and employment conditions; the relationship between these facts and women's homemaking rôle are complex.
A range of educational and practical experiences can prepare someone for an occupation at home. In high school, they may for instance study cooking, nutrition, home economics, family and consumer science or food and cooking hygiene. However, many of these skills are acquired by experience and observation of domestic routines during childhood.
Male role in homemaking
Stay-at-home dads are seen in increasing numbers in Western culture, since the late 20th century. In East Asian nations like Japan and South Korea this is less common, and the traditional view of women is still dominant. The belief that homemaking is "women's work" remains pervasive (see gender role), and the large majority of homemakers remains female.
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