Turning public issues into private troubles: lead contamination, domestic labor, and the exploitation of womens unpaid labor in Australia

Lois Bryson, Kathryn Robinson, Kathleen McPhillips

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Residents living in the vicinity of lead smelters are subjected to particularly high levels of contamination from the toxic process of smelting. Yet, public health strategies currently promoted by state health authorities in Australia do not focus their major attention on stopping the contamination at its source. This article focuses on housecleaning regimes, largely implemented by women, aimed at stopping the toxic material from being ingested by children. Because the residential areas surrounding the smelters are degraded, their property value is low and, by and large, working-class families live there. As this article shows, the recommended cleaning regimes are embedded in social class and gender relations. Analysis of the implementation of the strategy and the historical context within which it is administered provides an example of a state gender regime, the state "doing" gender and class, and a lens through which to view contemporary gender and class relations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)754-772
    JournalGender and Society
    Volume15
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

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