The cohabitation rule-why it makes sense

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The Cohabitation Rule, fiercely and rightly denounced by feminists, nevertheless makes perfect sense in the context of British social policy and assumptions about women, marriage and domestic labour. Demands for the Rule's abolition which do not take account of this are both doomed to failure and by implication unjust; the women's movement needs to clarify its attitude to women who choose to stay at home and look after children, since at the moment it is mainly concerned with the (no less but no more important) needs of women who make other choices. The Cohabitation Rule is a necessary corollary of the assumption that housewives are parasites, an assumption also implicit in much feminist theory; if we are to deny this, we must accept that at least some kinds of domestic labour should be paid for. © 1979 Pergamon Press Ltd.




Fairbairns, Z. (1979). The cohabitation rule-why it makes sense. Women’s Studies International Quarterly, 2(3), 319–327.

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