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The Wife Drought  : Why Women Need Wives and Men Need Lives - Annabel Crabb

The Wife Drought

Why Women Need Wives and Men Need Lives

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'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 chronically under-reported state of wife drought, and there is no sign of rain.

But why is the work-and-family debate always about women? Why don't men get the same flexibility that women do? In our fixation on the barriers that face women on the way into the workplace, do we forget about the barriers that – for men – still block the exits?

The Wife Drought is about women, men, family and work. Written in Annabel Crabb's inimitable style, it's full of candid and funny stories from the author's work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of ‘The Wife' in Australia, and intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.

Crabb's call is for a ceasefire in the gender wars. Rather than a shout of rage, The Wife Drought is the thoughtful, engaging catalyst for a conversation that's long overdue.

Read Caroline Baum's Review

I never thought that a guinea pig would have much to contribute to a book about twenty first century feminism, but I was wrong. Among the many gems in this marvellously entertaining and thought provoking book is one hilarious anecdote of a super competent mother having a meeting on the phone while her children are dealing with a crisis of their own. It illustrates perfectly the problem of trying to do it all and covering up for the demands of parenting.

Without stridency or shrillness, Crabb coolly and calmly analyses all the impediments, self-inflicted and imposed by society, that are still obstacles, in our day, to women claiming equal pay and status and to the work life balance between men and women being more equitably shared. The answer is not as simple as saying that it would all be alright if we were all Norwegian. The more you read of this spirited book, the more you wonder why on earth we are still in this pickle and having this conversation.

About the Author

One of Australia's most popular political commentators, Annabel Crabb is the ABC's chief online political writer. Annabel has worked extensively in newspapers, radio and television as a political commentator and has established a regular live 'Twittercast' of parliamentary question time, as well as regular commentary.

Industry Reviews

"Crabb is an excellent writer, and the book is neither a polemical rant nor a statement of the bleeding obvious. She has presented the facts -- the Australian economy is being held back by the rigid gender roles of its employees -- in a new and interesting way, penned with the wry wit for which she is famous. One of the best chapters in the book involves the effect gender equalisation would have men, who would ultimately benefit from a realignment of their employment priorities. If you assume that there is more to life than work and that having a good relationship with your children is valuable, she writes, taking time off from work to have a family is a good investment. 'Yet we live in a system that consistently, in one way or other, discourages men from even attempting to make that investment.'" - Margot Saville, Crikey

"Annabel Crabb is a great writer...The Wife Drought makes an important contribution to the debate about women in the workforce" - Kara Nicholson, Readings Carlton

Absolutely fabulous!!


Engaging, thought provoking, funny - this book was like a fabulous conversation with a good friend.

Sunny Coast Qld


Great piece of journalism


When I first saw the book I wondered how it would be possible to fill a whole volume with this particular topic. Annabel Crabb managed to do just that in a most entertaining and informative fashion while imparting snippets of learning and humorous anecdotes throughout. She has a wonderful easy flowing style.

Forster NSW


funny, clever, informative


Annabelle presents an in depth analysis of the roles of women and men in our society with her usual wit and insight making this informative book a joy to read



A real eye opener.


Fantastic read. it has helped me to explain very complicated topics to my husband and kickstart a few difficult conversations.



Get ye a wife!


I just finished off The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb. If you like her style, you will enjoy this one and even if you are not necessarily a fan, there are some large chunky bits of food for thought and a good dash of humour!

Fremantle, AU


Eye-opening and amusing


This book provided a great deal of information, was very easy to read and digest and gave me some real context for things in my life. Who knew why my ex-husband was so annoyed that I earned more than he did? And yes I did all those things to protect him; making it sound like my work was a job rather than a career, making his sound like it was essential and a pathway to greater things. I will read this one again for sure.



Brilliantly funny with a good message.


Laughed till I cried.

Barwon Heads


Insightful and interesting


This was a fascinating read. I would recommend it to any woman who is or has ever been in the workforce!



A needed conversation


Annabel Crabb's new book is the right conversation at the right time. It's easy reading thanks to her lovely engaging style, and the message is a really worthwhile one. Women who are engaged with feminist issues will enjoy it; I only wish it was a bit more accessible to men, as the core message, that we need to let men out of the workplace to support women going into it, is a beneficial one for men. Sadly, though, I think it will still be uncomfortable reading for *most* men, probably even many who are quite feminist in outlook.



Must be read by everyone 16 years and up


Nails the "liberation" - it isn't gender specific. Want it all - yes if you change some of your thinking.




4.4 10


ISBN: 9780857984265
ISBN-10: 0857984268
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 1st October 2014
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.39
Edition Number: 1