Housework, including housecleaning
and similar to housekeeping
, is generally unpaid
work carried out in or around one's own or another's home
. Housework counts as the performance
related to cleaning
the home. Economists
class housework as a force of social reproduction
; a set of processes which allows a society
to continue its activities over time.
Specific examples may include yard work, home maintenance, house and kitchen cleaning, cooking, home finances, laundry, repairs, internet and email, phone, care for plants and pets, paperwork, organizing, packing, unpacking, sweeping and other domestic chores.
Housework may also include childcare, party-organizing, shopping, and grocery-related work, but does not include for-credit activities such as studying and homework, nor for-profit activities such as home-based small business, nor self-improvement activities such as exercise.
Biological reproduction is a controversial element of what some societies, both traditional and contemporary, consider a primary or sole function of persons in the home; this is to say, women.
Despite the predominance of dual-income families in industrialized societies, the bulk all housework is performed by women. This is generally known as the sexual division of labour. Patriarchy plays a very strong role in this division, in that women (and not men) have been conditioned to internalize the household as a day-to-day system. Further, under the dominant social model of patriarchy, men do not acquire the basic, daily skills of housework (such as dishes), preferring rarely called upon, specialized tasks (such as auto mechanics) which, when need happens to arise, allows men to style themselves heroes of the tiny drama.
In the case of hired help, housework performed by domestic servants (generally female, economically disenfranchised, and of a different ethnic group than that of the dominant culture) is often further devalued.
Housework is also a song sung by Fishbone, on the album The Reality of My Surroundings, and a song by The B-52's, on the 1986 album Bouncing Off the Satellites.