Bargaining of Unpaid Domestic Work in East Asian-Filipino Marriages: A Marxist-Feminist Approach

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Bonifacio, N.M.G. & Maximo, J.S. (2018). Bargaining of Unpaid Domestic Work in East Asian-Filipino Marriages: A Marxist-Feminist Approach. Unpublished undergraduate thesis, University of the Philippines Diliman College of Mass Communication.

This study explored how Filipina women married to East Asian men bargain reproductive roles such as household work and childrearing in the context of gender and class. It is critically analyzed how unpaid domestic work is bargained within intercultural marriage, how spouses’ respective schemata manifest in their bargaining process, how the costs and benefits that each spouse reaps from the relationship impacts their social exchanges, and how this communication processes within a larger social context is scrutinized with a Marxist-Feminist perspective. Face-to-face and video interviews were conducted among 13 intercultural couples or women living either in the Philippines or in the men’s country of origin. The study found that regardless of views on how household work and childrearing tasks must be divided in the home, interculturally married couples consciously or unconsciously follow a gendered division of labor rooted in the dominant mode of production, that which the husbands’ and wives’ respective cultures operate in. The women’s reproductive burden manifests even in households where couples describe themselves as equal. Factors such as socioeconomic disparity and women’s confinement in the reproductive sphere, as rooted in culture, manifest in the division of labor, thereby creating a double burden even for women who participate in the productive sphere.

Key words: Domestic Work, Marxist Feminism, Social Exchange, Intercultural Marriage

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