The washing machine has had a greater liberating role for women than the contraceptive pill, according to a L'Osservatore Romano commentary on International Women's Day last Sunday.
"The washing machine and the emancipation of women: put in the powder, close the lid and relax," said the headline on the article in L'Osservatore Romano.
"In the 20th century, what contributed most to the emancipation of western women?" the article asked.
"The debate is still open. Some say it was the pill, others the liberalisation of abortion, or being able to work outside the home. Others go even further: the washing machine."
The paper quoted late feminist Betty Friedan's comment on "the sublime mystique to being able to 'change the sheets on the beds twice a week instead of once."
Washing machine brought rights to women: Vatican (Calgary Herald)