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‘The irreplaceable housewife’

The Story


In 1966, experts predict that countless jobs will soon be replaced by automation. But the housewife? She'll never be replaced by a machine, says leading Canadian automation expert Josef Kates. In this 1966 CBC Radio clip, he says an automated housewife machine would cost "many, many millions of dollars" and would be so large it couldn't even fit inside a kitchen. As Kates explains, a housewife does so much "sensing, seeing, judging, (and) making decisions," she's virtually irreplaceable.

Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: Jan. 7, 1966
Guest(s): Josef Kates
Host: Bill McNeil
Reporter: Jim McLean
Duration: 4:13
Photo: National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / Library and Archives Canada / Accession number 1971-271

Did You know?


• The value of housework and child-rearing is still a hot topic today. A 2005 report by the website salary.com estimated that modern stay-at-home moms would earn an average of $163,852 ($131,471 U.S.) in annual salary (including overtime pay) if their work was remunerated according to typical market values. The website's experts came up with this number based on a 100-hour workweek, and based their calculations on the average wages of daycare teachers, cooks, van drivers, nurses, housekeepers, CEOs and maintenance workers.


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