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Homemaker vs. Housewife: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on September 26, 2023
A homemaker is a gender-neutral term for a person managing the household, while a housewife specifically refers to a married woman managing her household, usually not employed outside the home.

Key Differences

Homemaker and housewife are terms often used interchangeably, but they have distinct connotations. A homemaker is a more inclusive and modern term used to describe any individual, regardless of gender or marital status, who manages the household tasks and responsibilities. It encompasses a broad range of duties, from cleaning and cooking to managing finances and caring for family members. It doesn't imply a lack of external employment, recognizing that one can manage the household and maintain a career simultaneously.
Conversely, the term housewife traditionally refers to a married woman who dedicates her time to managing household chores and caring for her family, typically not participating in paid employment outside the home. It's a more dated term, with a narrower scope, focusing primarily on married women and often assuming a lack of professional engagement. While it highlights domestic responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, and childcare, it can sometimes perpetuate stereotypical gender roles within a family setting.
The use of the term homemaker reflects a shift towards recognizing and respecting the domestic work done by people of all genders and marital statuses. It embodies an understanding that household management is a significant responsibility, deserving of acknowledgment, regardless of whether one is also engaged in paid employment. It provides a more equitable and representative description of individuals managing their homes and families.
Housewife, although still in use, is gradually being replaced by more inclusive terms like homemaker due to its gender-specific nature and its association with outdated societal norms. The evolving dynamics of family structures and gender roles have made it crucial to use language that reflects the diversity and equality of responsibilities within households. The term housewife might continue to exist, but its usage may be limited to specific contexts or preferences.
In a nutshell, while homemaker is a contemporary, inclusive term acknowledging anyone involved in managing a household, regardless of gender or marital status, housewife is a traditional term that primarily refers to married women focusing on domestic responsibilities, often not engaged in external employment.

Comparison Chart


A person who manages the household.
A married woman managing her household.

Gender Specific

No, it's gender-neutral.
Yes, it refers specifically to women.

Marital Status

Inclusive of all marital statuses.
Implies that the woman is married.


Can be employed outside the home.
Traditionally not employed outside the home.


Modern and inclusive term.
Dated and gender-specific term.

Homemaker and Housewife Definitions


An individual responsible for the care of the family and the home.
Jamie, a proficient homemaker, ensures a well-organized and harmonious home environment.


A married woman focusing on home management.
As a housewife, she spends her day organizing, cleaning, and cooking.


A person who manages the household tasks.
As a dedicated homemaker, Alex balances household chores with freelance work.


A woman attending to domestic duties and family care.
The diligent housewife maintained a spotless home and happy children.


A person overseeing domestic affairs and family needs.
Taylor is a meticulous homemaker who plans every meal with nutrition in mind.


A married woman who manages her household.
The housewife meticulously planned every meal for her family.


Someone who handles household management and family care.
Being a homemaker, Jordan takes pride in maintaining a clean and cozy living space.


A married woman overseeing the domestic affairs of her family.
Being a housewife, she takes joy in creating a loving home environment.


A person who undertakes the running of household duties.
Morgan, an efficient homemaker, adeptly manages both the home budget and family schedules.


A married woman who manages the household as her main occupation and whose spouse usually earns the family income.


One who manages a household, especially as one's main daily activity.


(hŭzĭf) A small container for needles, thread, and other sewing equipment.


(US) A person who maintains the administration and upkeep of his or her residence, especially one who is not employed outside the home; one who runs the household.


(plural "housewives") A woman whose main employment is homemaking, maintaining the upkeep of her home and tending to household affairs; often, such a woman whose sole [unpaid] employment is homemaking.


A wife who who manages a household while her husband earns the family income


(plural "housewives") The wife of a householder; the mistress of a family; the female head of a household.


(plural "housewifes") A little case or bag for materials used in sewing, and for other articles of female work.


A worthless woman; a hussy.


Alternative form of housewive


The wife of a householder; the mistress of a family; the female head of a household.
He a good husband, a good housewife she.


A little case or bag for materials used in sewing, and for other articles of female work; - called also hussy.


A hussy.


To manage with skill and economy, as a housewife or other female manager; to economize.
Conferred those moneys on the nuns, which since they have well housewived.


A wife who who manages a household while her husband earns the family income


A woman who dedicates her time to household responsibilities.
The housewife prided herself on her culinary skills and well-kept home.


Is a homemaker always married?

No, a homemaker can be of any marital status.

Can a man be a homemaker?

Yes, the term homemaker is gender-neutral and can refer to a man managing the household.

Is the term housewife outdated?

Some consider it outdated due to its gender-specific nature and evolving societal norms.

Can a homemaker have a career?

Yes, a homemaker can also be employed or have a career outside the home.

Does a housewife always stay at home?

Traditionally, yes, but many modern housewives may also have jobs or hobbies outside the home.

Is a housewife always a woman?

Yes, the term housewife specifically refers to a married woman.

Is the term homemaker modern?

Yes, homemaker is a more modern, inclusive term compared to housewife.

Can a housewife be a man?

The term housewife is gender-specific, but a man performing similar duties might be called a househusband or stay-at-home dad.

Can a homemaker be single?

Yes, a homemaker can be single, managing their household independently.

Is being a homemaker a job?

Managing a household involves various tasks and responsibilities, comparable to a job, though it’s not formally employed work.

Is housewife a formal title?

It’s not a formal title but a descriptive term for a married woman managing her household.

Does being a homemaker include childcare?

Yes, being a homemaker often includes caring for and raising children.

Can a homemaker be a freelancer or have a part-time job?

Absolutely, a homemaker can have flexible work arrangements like freelancing or part-time jobs.

Is the role of a housewife limited to domestic duties?

Traditionally, yes, but the role can be broader, involving community engagement or other activities.

Can the term housewife be offensive?

Some may find it offensive due to its implication of traditional gender roles; preference for more inclusive terms is growing.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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