Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This study was an attempt to conceptually and empirically expand Marx's class analytic scheme to include the unique position of women. The goals in this study were to: (1) discuss and resolve certain issues surrounding the definition of the working class; and (2) to test an empirical measure of class that would reflect women's roles in the home and the workplace. The first goal was met basically by a theoretical model that allowed the conceptualization of women and their place in production (both in home and work) into an already existing class structure. This study concentrated on the differences in the boundary problem (the criteria for class definitions) for those who did not own the means of production. It was the theoretical position in this paper that the married women in this study were found in positions constituting the working class. However, this only resolved those issues concerning womens' individual class position and not their link to the family. The second goal was to capture women's experience both in the family and in the workplace. This was done by a specific empirical test using the data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. An interactive term reflecting both husband's and wife's individual class position was used to determine family class effect on income (earnings). Also, a variable measuring domestic labor was designed to demonstrate women's role in the home as well. The empirical findings were mixed, using the most conservative statistical measures. The interactive term did not play a significant role in the earnings model at this time. Nonetheless, it is hoped that future tests with the present or different data will result in more decisive findings. What is clear from the data is that women do not "fit" very well into class analysis and new methods must be derived to understand and conceptualize women's role in the workplace and at home.