Main content start

Crunch Time: How Married Couples Confront Unemployment

Publication Date
June 9, 2020
Aliya H. Rao
Author Affiliation
Former Postdoctoral Fellow

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.