“When I Iron My Son’s Shirt, I Feel My Maternal Role”: Making Women’s Invisible Work Visible

Amit Kaplan, Maha Sabbah-Karkabi*, Hanna Herzog

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This article seeks to learn how women perceive invisible work and how it affects their lives. This article contributes to the integration of different manifestations of invisible work into a conceptual whole, especially in light of the fact that most research has confined itself to only one aspect such as care work, housework, or volunteering. Nine group interviews were conducted with Israeli mothers from differing ethnic, religious, class, and age groups. Analysis reveals that the distinctions between aspects of invisible work, such as housework and care work and between activities belonging to the private and public spheres are much more blurred in women’s lives than might be inferred from the academic literature. Furthermore, throughout the life course of women the meanings and expressions of invisible work evolve creating a continuous struggle. In describing their everyday activities, women challenge the socially constructed binary oppositions in the context of the neoliberal economy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1525-1545
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


FundersFunder number
Donna Dalnekoff
National Insurance Institute of Israel


    • gender and family
    • household labor
    • life course
    • qualitative
    • work and family


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