Covid, Women's Work and the Crisis of Social Reproduction

Monday, April 12, 2021 - 1:00pm
Silvia Federici

Silvia Federici is the preeminent scholar of the role of women's unpaid, care-giving work in the rise and dominance of capitalism. The Covid pandemic has underscored how women have born the brunt of the crushing burden of both their unpaid labor educating children at home while at the same time trying to do their “paid” jobs. And women, at least since the beginning of capitalism in the 15th century, have born the burden of doing the work of care-giving and reproducing every day life as well as working to supply food whether by paid labor or working in the fields. Absent their unpaid labor of care-giving and reproducing everyday life, capital-accumulation could never have dominated us. Women who strayed from this role – as scholars or nuns, medical shamans, midwives or lesbians, have often been punished as “witches.”

Federici will focus on the enormous burden women have suffered continuing their care-giving roles, helping with the virtual education of their children at home while also doing their “paid” jobs. This burden has increased with the silent epidemic of physical abuse against women and children. The emotional stress of these triple burdens impacts women and children for generations, as the trauma of war has impacted societies for millenia.

The NYT Magazine carried a major article on Silvia Federici at