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The Swedish social scientist Alva Myrdal and the Austrian sociologist émigré to England Viola Klein published Women’s Two Roles in 1956. It was one of the first pieces of work to suggest that women might marry, have children and also go out to work, albeit not at the same time. Myrdal and Klein tackled the issue of combining paid and unpaid work by arguing that women (but not men) should adjust to modern social and economic conditions, by working full-time, having and raising children and then returning to work full-time. Their concern, particularly Myrdal’s, was focused on the needs of society rather than on the individual rights and experiences of women. The chapter looks at the early ideas of Myrdal and of Klein, their working relationship, and the ideational and socio-economic context (particularly in the UK) for their argument in favour of a bimodal female employment pattern.


  • Klein Viola
  • Myrdal Alva
  • Paid and unpaid work
  • Motherhood
  • Gendered roles – Family
  • State
  • Housework
Jane Lewis
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Uploaded on on 30/11/-0001
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