Social Scientist. v 4, no. 40-41 (Nov-Dec 1975) p. 124.

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Problems of Working Women in Urban Areas

IT WAS against the background of mid-nineteenth century Europe and striking a hopeful note, that Engels wrote: "The emancipation of women and their equality with men are impossible and must remain so as long as women are excluded from socially productive work, and restricted to housework, which is private."1 He implied that the capitalist revolution and the spread of modern industry would lay the foundations of a movement for the social emancipation of women, even if it could not be realized except under socialism. Capitolism, while founded on private property, the ownership of the means of production by the few, and production for profit, willy-nilly also brought into existence the proletariat which could build a society in which all these would be abolished. Similarly, by bringing women in large numbers into the class of the proletariat it would destory, at least for that class, the system of inequality between the sexes which was inherent in bourgeois society.

Since then capitalism has survived many crises and entered the stage of monopoly and imperialism. In the process it has managed to push back women largely into the sphere of housework; and the nuclear family, consisting of the man who forks', and the woman 'who is only a housewife9, and their childcen, has remained an institution of great convenience to the ruling classes in capitalist countries. The two go

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