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I was reading this article on How To Be A Good Housewife, and what got my attention was the fact that Mexican women are encouraged to become housewives, because the Bible says so, and Mexico is very Catholic. It also suggests that Proverbs and Song of Songs support the existence of housewives and their important place in the world. Now, if there have been biblical verses that have been used to justify housewives, have there also been biblical verses that have been used to inspire women to work outside the home?

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This is an impossible question to answer fully, as any verse could inspire one woman to get a job. If a woman reads "Jesus wept" and it inspires her to get a job, that verse makes the list. I'm not sure how, but somehow this needs to be narrowed drastically. As it is, it's a list question. –  Flimzy Nov 7 '13 at 13:26
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@Flimzy "Jesus wept" can inspire women to work? Very funny. I'm curious how it's possible :) –  Mawia Nov 7 '13 at 13:55
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@Mawia: He wept for the death of Lazarus; it might inspire someone to become a nurse or a doctor to help postpone death ;) –  Flimzy Nov 7 '13 at 14:06
    
If any sort of movement exists where women used the Bible to justify working outside of the home, then this question is on-topic, but I am unfamiliar with any such movement. So because of my ignorance I vote to leave this open for now. –  fredsbend the Grinch Nov 7 '13 at 17:59
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I think there are a few good ones in the Book of 2nd Opinions. –  The Preacher Nov 7 '13 at 23:04

2 Answers 2

Proverbs 31:10-31 is a famous passage on The Virtuous Woman. In addition to taking care of her family, the passage describes a woman who contributes financially to her household.

Proverbs 31:16-18
She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.

Proverbs 31:24
She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.

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In Acts 16:14, Lydia is mentioned as a "dealer in purple cloth", "a worshiper of God"--enough so that she met with other God fearers/Jews on the Sabbath in a city that did not have a synagogue (so they met by the river). –  Paul A. Clayton Nov 7 '13 at 13:20
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anyone who doesn't value the housewife over any other function, besides serving God, has never had to take care of a home and children without one! –  Bye Nov 7 '13 at 15:59

I couldn't say it for certain but I imagine the book of Ruth could justify women working.

In the book of Ruth, after Naomi returned with Ruth to her homeland, Ruth gleaned from the fields. (See Ruth Chapt 2).

Specifically:

2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”

Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” 3 So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.

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