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A woman's work is never done? Women's work in England and Wales 1600-1914

This course traces the changing nature of women’s work, and the social and economic factors that shaped their employment opportunities and earnings. Why was women’s work mainly low paid, and how did this begin to change before World War I?

During the seventeenth century, women were actively involved in the household economy, producing both for home consumption and for sale. We will explore how women’s work was affected by the growth of manufacturing and trade, and the expansion of waged employment outside the home during the industrial revolution. And how were women’s opportunities or desire to work affected by the Victorian belief that a woman’s place was in the home, before the emergence of the ‘new women’ who sought financial independence or personal fulfilment in more skilled and professional jobs?

We will investigate the type of work performed by women in the major sectors of female employment – agriculture, textiles, and domestic service – as well as their roles in a wider and sometimes surprising range of industries and services. Regional factors that influenced women’s employment opportunities will also be explored.

Date created:

2017-01-13 13:23
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Resources for this course

Displaying 1 - 13 of 13
Type Resource Description People Full details
Document Clerical work and the 'New Woman'

Week 10. Clerical work and the 'New Woman'

Frances Richardson view
Document Clerical work and the 'New Woman'

Week 10. Clerical work and the 'New Woman'

Frances Richardson view
Document Women in the Nottingham lace industry

Week 9. Women's work in the Nottingham lace industry

Frances Richardson view
Document Businesswomen in the 18th & 19th centuries

Week 9. Women in business

Frances Richardson view
Document Sweated labour

Week 8. Sweated trades of the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Frances Richardson view
Document Women's work reading list, preparation and assignments

Women's work reading list, preparation and assignment options, weeks 1-10

Frances Richardson view
Document Domestic service

Week 7. Women in domestic service

Frances Richardson view
Document Industrialisation - knitting, pottery and metalwork industries

Week 6. Women in the Inustrial Revolution - other industries

Frances Richardson view
Document Industrialisation - textiles

Week 5, Women in the Industrial Revolution - textiles

Frances Richardson view
Document Women in proto-industry

Week 4. Proto-industry - women in cottage industries

Frances Richardson view
Document Women in agriculture

Week 3 class presentation - women in agriculture 1800-1914

Frances Richardson view
Document Women in the seventeenth-century household economy

Week 2 Women's work class presentation

Frances Richardson view
Document The changing nature of women's work.

Week 1 Women's work class presentation - background factors affecting women's work and earnings

Frances Richardson view