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Should Women Care Less? Intrinsic Motivation and Gender Inequality


  • Nancy Folbre is at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Gendered values, norms and preferences shape the intrinsic motivation to provide care for others. This article situates an analysis of this motivation within the broader literature on gender inequality, explaining why it has costly consequences for women in both the home and the labour market, even as it provides considerable personal satisfaction and social benefit. Further movement towards gender equality may depend on the success of political and cultural efforts to ‘de-gender’ normative obligations to care.

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