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Ten Neglected Classics of Philosophy$
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Eric Schliesser

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199928903

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199928903.001.0001

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Jane Addams’s “Women and Public Housekeeping”

Jane Addams’s “Women and Public Housekeeping”

(p.148) Chapter 6 Jane Addams’s “Women and Public Housekeeping”
Ten Neglected Classics of Philosophy

Sally Haslanger

Oxford University Press

Jane Addams’ broadside, “Women and Public Housekeeping” (1910), argues that household tasks keeping women out of the public realm also provide knowledge that would make them excellent city leaders. This is an early example of feminist epistemology that provides a social critique that tackles gender bias and also challenges assumptions about where to find excellent philosophy (in part due to its very form as a broadside, reflecting the need for women to keep their non-housework efforts brief). Addams’ work is also an example of philosophy that might help advance women in politics, since it states men’s military conception of government should give way to public housekeeping. Finally, Addams challenges the public/private distinction that has burdened political philosophy and leads to gendered concepts of work and labor that don’t serve communities well. Civic housekeeping must learn from private housekeeping, and in turn such municipal participation would enrich women’s lives.

Keywords:   Jane Addams, women in politics, gender bias, gendered concepts, labor, feminist epistemology

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