Reproductive labor encompasses all the work we do to create and sustain human life—from giving birth, parenting, and raising children to providing food, shelter, clothing, and care for people who rely on us to meet their physical and emotional needs. Reproductive labor encompasses building and maintaining familial and intimate relationships, broader communal ties, crisis planning and management, and passing on cultural knowledge and wisdom. Though this work implicates all of us, of all genders—and some aspects of this work have been commercialized by capitalism—the majority of it remains invisibilized, unpaid, and expected from bodies understood as women. This labor is neither recognized nor valued as work within the capitalist economy, enabling capitalists to accumulate massive wealth from feminized labor by not paying for it. The very concept of waged work in our present reality thus depends on, and simultaneously relies on the invisibility of, unwaged work.

By Grassroots Global Justice Alliance