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This episode uses as a point of departure the famous 19th-century text by Friedrich Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England which, among other issues, paints the grueling/arduous lives of working women.

The episode, however, is focused on contemporary working conditions for women in factories and also in the fields, where women are a key part of the industrial and agricultural workforce. The episode unfolds another key issue – the problem of emotional labor in the service industry, where women carry a major workload. Finally, the episode addresses the perennial problem of housework, indispensable for understanding the mechanisms of the capitalist economy.

These issues are connected and developed in detail which illustrates solely profit-driven capitalism, feminization of low-paid and precarious work, the alienation which is the outcome of emotional labor, the systemic social hypocrisy of presenting housework as the labor of love, preventions of union organizing – all of the above depicted by giving women a voice.

This text was written by Lara Končar and read by Daša Duhaček and Nađa Duhaček

References/links for further reading:

Peter Hudis and Kevin B. Anderson, eds, The Rosa Luxemburg Reader, Monthly Review Press, New York, 2004.

Friedrich Engels, Condition of the Working Class in England, [1844] 2010.

Arlie Russell Hochschild. 1983. The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling, University of California Press, Berkley, 1983.