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The Wife Drought

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  2,533 ratings  ·  259 reviews
‘I need a wife’

It's a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it’s not actually a joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It’s a potent economic asset on the work front. And it’s an advantage enjoyed – even in our modern society – by vastly more men than women.

Working women are in an advanced, sustained, and
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2014 by Ebury Australia
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  2,533 ratings  ·  259 reviews

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Anna Spargo-Ryan
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

Overall, I found The Wife Drought to be a jolly good insight, based on things we kind of know already. For the first quarter of the book, I just felt stressed. Like, “Jesus Annabel! I have to read this and then I have to go and actually live this tomorrow? Pass the Nicholas Sparks!” The challenges of which she speaks are the cold reality for so many women, day in and day out.

It is acutely resonant, and that is both its strength and its weakness. Crabb is, in many ways, preaching to the
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I honestly cannot give this book any higher praise. Annabel's book, the wife drought, is meticulously researched and unpacks the issues surrounding the share of domestic work, work life balance, and the general helpfulness of 'wives' so brilliantly. It is also done with her laugh out loud inducing humour that makes reading it on public transport embarrassing.

The women of Australia thank you, Annabel, and I'm sure the men will get around to it too eventually.

I have to admit to a massive girlie-crush on Annabelle Crabb – to me she is an elegant swan, gracefully delivering intelligent, funny insights into politics with the suggestion of a flurry of activity happening behind the scenes, especially knowing she has small children to manage as well.

(Also my mother in law thinks she’s an awful, smug bore so I naturally love her even more)

Those who haven’t read more than the blurb could be forgiven for thinking this book is all just a whinge about women’s
Andrew Carr
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an impressive book. Annabel Crabb has not only undertaken significant research, but she offers some fresh thinking about the role of women and child rearing in Australia today. As is usual for her, the book is a pleasure to read, both serious enough but also with clever phrasing and personal anecdotes.

I was somewhat surprised while reading this book to find myself arguing with it, though not necessarily because I disagreed with what Crabb was saying. I suspect this reflects an
Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fem-lit, bought
While I quite enjoyed reading Annabel's book, and her writing style is excellent, I don't feel like she has contributed anything new to the debate over who should do what work and why.

I've read fairly widely in this genre and while this book was one of the most entertaining, it wasn't the most illuminating. Annabel is an incredibly intelligent and articulate women, I was secretly hoping she would present a radical solution to the problems women have once their trapped in the cycle of primary
Rachel Eldred
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
I would not have read ‘The Wife Drought’ had it not been selected for my book club. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the image of the iron on the front cover. Iron! What decade are we in? The 1950s?*

If I am to be entirely honest, I’d also lost interest in the author. I’d been a fan when Annabel Crabb wrote for ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’, but thought she’d lost a certain ‘edginess’ when she moved over to the ABC. Those long wild locks had been cropped into a bob and I’m not sure I coped with the
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Where do I start? This book is insightful, funny, real & intelligently written. Just returning to work from mat leave after my second child, I found this book refreshing & inspiring framework to return to the workforce. At every page I wanted to shout out 'yes, exactly that's how I feel'! And it's a wonderful feeling to know that many other working mums feel the same as I do. And finally, so nice to see a book be critically honest and open about the inadequacies of men/family life in the ...more
Peta Campbell
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love Annabel Crabb's writing.
Jennifer (JC-S)
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
‘A ‘wife’ can be male or female. Whether they’re men or women, though, the main thing wives are is a cracking professional asset.’

Many women who juggle work and family responsibilities would like to have a wife. Someone to take care of the domestic stuff, including cooking, cleaning, childcare and ironing. In some households these responsibilities are shared, but why – in the second decade of the 21st century – is this still an issue? After all, equality (of opportunity and pay) has been around
Jan 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2015
Federal politics over the last few years have demonstrated just how deeply misogyny is ingrained in some parts of Australian society. This book is attempting to open a conversation about the position of women, through their need for a 'wife'. It is unclear to me, however, whom the book is aimed at. The book provides basic information, that won't be anything new to many. Whilst it may be 'new' to some in society, I can't really see those people picking up a book called 'The Wife Drought'. This ...more
Michael Livingston
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it
This a clear, well-written discussion of the ways in which men and, particularly, women are constrained by the ways of the modern workplace. It's convincing and well argued, but really feels like something for people who've not really given the topic much thought before - anyone who has been interested or bothered by workplace inequality will have covered most of this ground before. Still - the book seems to have reached a broad audience and that's definitely valuable.
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Absolutely adored this book. I have laughed out loud on public transport, nodded my head in agreement and quoted passages to my mother more times than I can count. Crabb's research is impeccable and her conclusions are sound.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"if we are serious about equality, we should stop worrying so exclusively about women's ease of access to the workplace and start worrying more about men's ease of egress from it"

Clever and engaging look at men & women in the workplace. As a 30-something woman in Australia, this is an emotionally close-to-home and often depressing topic. My jaw dropped at some of the statistics presented in this book. Nevertheless, thanks to Crabb's nuanced handling and excellent sense of humour, this book
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well researched and thoughtful arguments. Love Annabel Crabb
This book is not the second coming of feminism.

It's FUN - full of anecdotes and Crabb's trademark snark, but it is not the second coming of feminism. It said nothing we did not already know (... quite frankly, aside from the stats, its key premises were well known in the EIGHTIES. Women add work to household responsibilities. Men do not typically pick up the latter. Men who do are regarded as weirdos. It would be good if we could do something about the latter two points). Crabb offers no
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A wry and insightful look at the way our society has focused with almost hilarious inequality on one half of the equality debate. Crabb is reliably one of Australia's best commentators on political matters - turning her hand to the social arena, she demonstrates that this is no mere fluke.

The Wife Drought is a kind and forgiving look at the way that, although our society has spent decades trying to improve women's access to work, we've spent a lot less energy on trying to improve men's access to
Rebecca Edmonds
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this read. I'm a "kitchen cabinet" fan and like Annabelle's presenting style on TV, this book was written just as she would speak which I liked. This book was engaging, accessible and easy to read. A lot of what she writes about seems like common sense, in terms of how women and men behave in modern Australian society to the point I found myself getting angry and frustrated - that despite the work of the feminist movement we still have progress to make in gender equality. Let's ...more
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it

I resisted reading this when it first came out, preaching to the converted and all that, but I'm very glad I eventually did. Thought-provoking and funny (no surprise for any regular reader of Crabb's columns) it raises some interesting questions, particularly about perception and social norms.

I'll forgive the feeling of mild panic Crabb induced in me when she recounted anecdotes of the juggle between parenting, career, relationships. I just wish I had known about jellied breast milk when my
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I expected this book to be a bit annoying, a bit of a 'woe is us' carry on about modern womanhood. Far from it - this was a well researched, well reasoned, well written consideration of modern gender roles, with a big emphasis on the plight of men finding it difficult to stay home. I should have known Annabel would do a good job! A perfect read for me, usually a full time worker but currently on maternity leave confronting my new 'role' and contemplating my return to work.
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
We all need a wife. Indeed. Annabel creates a compelling argument for how things need to change if we're to truly address the issues facing both men and women in the workforce. This is written so very well, combining Annabel's journalistic succinctness with her trademark sense of humour.
Emma Balkin
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
A really interesting and considered discussion of discrepancies between wives and husbands. Full of research and anecdotes, the only flaw was that much was focussed on those working in politics or the corporate sphere. A book about feminism, a book about a problem facing society today.
Carmel Demery
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
An insightful, thoroughly researched commentary that all Australian adults should read. Delivered with Annabelle Crabb's incredible wit & humour, its scathing hypotheses on why women need wives to flourish will hopefully become the ignition to change our gender bias.
Meryl McKerrow
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked this book a lot, mainly because it's always nice to be in complete agreement with the author and want the shout YEAH intermittently.
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
Chilling but written without judgement. Very readable and written with charm and humour.
Cassandra Page
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Wife Drought is both demoralising andinsightful, often at the same time. It defines a "wife" as a part time or stay at home partner who does the bulk of the domestic duties -- cleaning, school drop offs, dealing with tradies --so as to free the other partner up to pursue earning a crust.A "wife" can be a man by this definition, but the truthis that it isalmost always a woman.And it's a huge economic benefit tohave one.

Annabel is ajournalist, and you can see her thoroughness in this book: she
My reading of The Wife Drought was greatly enhanced by selecting the audio version also narrated by Annabel Crab. The turns of phrase and clever descriptions came alive as she delivered every sentence with the full weight of her wit.

The unfortunate aspect of audiobooks versus print is that when your mind wanders off on a tangent thought the audio continues relentlessly on. I guess that's why I prefer non-fiction in audio format as it's less important to me to pay attention to every detail.
Annabel Crabb read this book to me as I travelled to and from work. It has taken almost three years for me to get around to reading it as I thought that as a feminist who had returned to work when her children were infants while the father cared for them, I really knew this subject inside out. I was quite wrong. I was horrified by some of the statistics. After all my husband and I went through (and our experiences resonate strongly here) in the 1980s, fathers as primary parents are actually LESS ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book made me mad about the massive discrepancies between expectations of men and women when it comes to work and home.

Crabb's style is well-researched, charmingly narrated and balanced while leaving room for the reader to make their own assumptions. I particularly enjoyed the deep-dive into the dynamics of family politics within our own Australian parliament and am glad I listened to it at a time when I was familiar with the main players like Christopher Pine, Joe Hockey and Tanya
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Annabelle Crabb is always entertaining as well as having the skill to make serious points with a light touch. The title clearly states her main points.
The book is well researched and argued and is a convincing read on why gender wars help no-one. She presents the case that we are in a different era than the industrial world, which was the beginning of the male provider in the working world . She suggests it may be a better place when men can have a respected and larger family role and women
Rikki Hill
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've had this for so long and I finally read it front to back because I am teaching a unit on women, work and motherhood. I think I put off reading it because I didn't think I'd be all that enlightened by it, I feel reasonably aware of what this book is about, and I thought I'd feel a bit like I was the converted being preached to. And in a way that was the case, but after the first couple of chapters it was less anger- and frustration-inducing and more just interesting. I love Crabb's style and ...more
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Feminist Fight Club : July - The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb 3 5 Jul 12, 2017 06:36AM  

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Annabel Crabb has been a journalist since 1997, beginning her career at Adelaide’s Advertiser and moving on to cover politics first for the Age and then for the Sydney Morning Herald, where she was a columnist and sketch-writer. She is the author of Losing It: The Inside Story of the Labor Party in Opposition (2005) and the Quarterly Essay Stop at Nothing: The Life and Adventures of Malcolm ...more
“How can you test whether something's an assumption? Try this: switch things around, and check how bananas everybody goes.” 1 likes
“smouldering away in a fit of impotent rage” 1 likes
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