Being a housewife in our society is sometimes considered as luxury, as it usually means that the man in the house earns enough money to support the family. Housewives are envied, but are also often criticized. Before, the role of women was mainly to care for children, home, to cook…. Nevertheless, as society evolved, women began to work to support the family or their own needs. Many men see housewives as privileged people who can do whatever they want of their days. A survey has been conducted and shows that housewives are not inactive at all. Indeed, a housewife does on average 94 hours of work per week, which would correspond to a monthly salary of $6900. An active woman (work and house) makes 98 hours for a salary of $4100. Thus, this study shows that staying at home is not restful and not rewarded at its seems to be. Beyond the fictitious salary of a housewife, there is also the question of citizenship. This makes me bounce back on the book of Shklar “American citizenship” which explains that to be citizen, one must vote and be able to earn. She gives the example of slaves in her book and explains that because they do not have the opportunity to vote or earn, they are not citizens. Thus, slaves are not considered as belonging to society: they are excluded. What about the case of housewives? Can they vote? The answer is yes! Do they have the opportunity to earn? The answer to this question is more complex. According to Shklar, the answer would be no because they do not work outside the home, they do not receive wages and do not contribute to the society. Nevertheless, must these two conditions be met in order to be considered as a citizen?
I do not agree with Shklar. First of all, according to the 14th Amendment of the American Constitution, it is mentioned that “any person born or naturalized in the United States, subject to their jurisdiction, is a citizen of the United States and of the State in which he resides “. This amendment does not, in any way, refer to the two categories described by Shklar. Nevertheless, voting is considered as a right, but also a citizen’s duty. Everyone is free to vote or not, but the fact of having the right to vote is a characteristic of the citizen. As far as the right to work and earn is concerned, I do not think it has any place in the definition of citizenship. Indeed, it is not because one is unemployed, because the company for which one worked for example closed, that the person cannot be considered as a citizen anymore. Rather, it is about personal satisfaction, but also for being seen as a “normal person” by society. Indeed, who has ever heard that an unemployed person is lazy? Many of you I think. Nevertheless, are we aware of the reasons why the person is unemployed? Perhaps it is not his choice. Should his citizenship be withdrawn? I do not think so. For me, citizenship represents the fact of belonging to society, regardless of our standard of living, religion, social class, but also the fact of having rights and duties with the possibility of participating in the political life of our country. Shklar speaks about the concept of inclusion in his book but does the imposition of these conditions to be a citizen does not refer rather to an exclusion?