Crunch Time: How Married Couples Confront Unemployment
University of California Press, Jul 2, 2020 - 306 pages
In Crunch Time, Aliya Hamid Rao gets up close and personal with college-educated, unemployed men, women, and spouses to explain how comparable men and women have starkly different experiences of unemployment. Traditionally gendered understandings of work--that it's a requirement for men and optional for women--loom large in this process, even for marriages that had been not organized in gender-traditional ways. These beliefs serve to make men's unemployment an urgent problem, while women's unemployment--cocooned within a narrative of staying at home--is almost a non-issue. Crunch Time reveals the minutiae of how gendered norms and behaviors are actively maintained by spouses at a time when they could be dismantled, and how gender is central to the ways couples react to and make sense of unemployment.