Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Women and Economics

(119 words)
  • Denise Knight (SUNY, Cortland)

Subtitled “A Study of the Economic Relation Between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution,” Women and Economics thrust Charlotte Perkins Gilman (then Stetson) into the spotlight and won her international acclaim with its publication in 1898. Translated into seven languages, the book provided an evolutionary context to explain women's economic subordination. Arguing that women's economic dependence on men is detrimental to both genders, Gilman encouraged women to hire professional housekeepers and cooks in order to release themselves from the domestic drudgery that precluded their participation in the outside workforce. Only then, she maintained, could humanity undergo positive change, which would ultimately result i…

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Knight, Denise. "Women and Economics". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]