For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Black Mothering, Paid work and Identity"

by Reynolds, Tracey (2001)


Recent figures suggest that in Britain today, 77.3% of black women are engaged in full-time paid work, a figure which has remained fairly consistent since the introduction of statistical data assessing the work activity of African-Caribbean women from post-war years (CRE 1997). The study addresses the extent to which black women's high work rate derives from a combination of historical cultural and structural economic factors. Historical and cultural, because the experiences of slavery, colonialism and economic migration have had a direct impact on black women's relationship to full-time paid work today in contemporary Britain. In addition, structural economic factors such as high rates of unemployment for black men and lower rates of pay for black men and women compared to their white male and female counterparts, actively encourage a high proportion of black women towards full-time paid work in order to make up for this economic shortfall. A primary consequence of these inter-locking factors is that full-time paid work becomes central to black women's mothering and black mothers' work status is part of their everyday family experience.

Key Passage



Mothering, Domestic Labour, Care Work, Unpaid Labour, Womens Work, Female Labour, Colonialism, Slavery, Unemployment, Race, Minority, Gendered Labour, Family, Parenting


Black Women

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