“The housewife is an unpaid worker in her husband’s house in return for the security of being a permanent employee: hers is the reductio ad absurdum of the employee who accepts a lower wage in return for permanence of his employment. But the lowest paid employees can be and are laid off, and so are wives. They have no savings, no skills which they can bargain with elsewhere, and they must bear the stigma of having been sacked” — Germaine Greer
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Germaine Greer is criticizing the traditional role of housewives and comparing their situation to low-paid employees. She argues that housewives work unpaid as laborers in their husband’s home in exchange for the supposed “security” of being a permanent member of the household.
However, Greer says this makes housewives similar to employees who accept lower wages in return for ongoing employment, even though employees can still be laid off. Likewise, wives can find themselves divorced or abandoned by their husbands.
According to Greer, housewives end up in a vulnerable position since they have no independent savings, marketable skills, or way to support themselves if they lose their “job” as a housewife. She asserts that housewives take on risks similar to low-wage workers but without any of the protections or means of support that typical employees have.