The public and the private: Now, future and with ageing

Wendy Parkin, Jeff Hearn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional


Work, that is employed and paid work, and private life are often spoken of as separate worlds. Yet, the notional separation of the public and the private clearly varies immensely by class, occupation, gender, ethnicity and racialisation. Women have always worked in the home, mainly unpaid, and for many this was and still is their main workplace. But many millions have also always worked in the public world of paid work. While in many societies, and not only advanced economic societies, it is commonplace for women to be in the paid workforce, the notional public/private split persists – even if many women are never really free of family obligations when at work. For some people, there is really no separate private world, but rather that is incorporated within the public world of others, as, for example, when workers live in their place of employment or are beholden to employers for their accommodation in other ways. Meanwhile, and in contrast, another way in which these boundaries can blur is when the private is embedded in the public when, for example, a person has sole occupancy of a ‘private’ office as one of the perks of reaching higher office. Such spaces may in turn be made homelike with the presence of personal ‘domestic’ items, for example, family photos or children’s drawings.
Original languageEnglish
BlogSAGE Perspectives
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 09.08.2021
MoE publication typeD1 Article in a trade journal


  • 514,2 Social policy
  • public
  • private
  • age
  • ageing
  • Covid-19

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising


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