Charlotte Perkins Gilman from Women and Economics (1898) describes the traditional division of labor in the household leads to exploitation of women by men. She argues this leaves women to economically dependent on men. All living things are economically dependent on others but all living things pay for what they get except women. The housework women perform is part of her functional duty. Their economic status has no relation to their domestic labors. Poorer women do the most work and richer women do the least work because they can hire someone else. She further argues motherhood is not an exchangeable commodity because women aren’t paid based on the care they give and this leaves married women without children no economic status. Women’s economic dependence on men leaves them to be focused on getting married than being a productive citizen and giving up their talents and capabilities. Without men, a community would fail economically to a greater extent than if it were to remove its female workers. Charlotte Gilman argues as far to say all human progress has been accomplished by men and women have been left behind without any social relation but the sex-relation they have lived.
Charlotte Perkins has a valid theory of the traditional division of labor. If a man decides to leave his wife, the woman has nothing to show for the housework she has done. She would have to find a way to support herself and her children. While his wife has been doing housework and caring for children, her husband has gained experience in his field of work and can continue to support himself. Once the husband leaves, economically the woman has nothing which shows her economic status was never hers. It is important for a woman to receive an education to have her own means to not only support herself but to be a part of society. I also feel the women could feel more fulfilled having a career which determines her own economic status. Women would have to cut back on housework and caring for children if working full-time but this should be compensated by men. After all, It is their house and their children too. Much of human progress has been accomplished by men but this will change since more women are in the work force now more than ever.