Women, Work & Sexual Politics in Eighteenth-century England

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 1994 - History - 275 pages
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Although housework is acknowledged by social historians to be one of women's responsibilities, Hill is one of the few historians to focus on the household as the most important unit of production in the eighteenth century. She examines the work done by women in the family economy, including housework, agriculture, and manufacturing. She also considers a whole range of women's activities that have been largely ignored by historians, including domestic service, apprenticeship, and many occupations that went unrecorded in censuses. Highlighting the implications of the increasing division of labour according to sex, Hill considers how the changing nature of women's work influenced courtship, marriage, and relations between the sexes. She pays particular attention to the situation of spinsters and widows.
 

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Contents

Pinchbeck and After
1
The Social Context
9
Womens Work in the Family Economy
24
The Undermining of the Family Economy
47
Female Servants in Husbandry
69
Female Apprenticeship
85
Housework
103
Domestic Service
125
Some Occupations of Women
148
The Economics of Courtship and Marriage
174
Clarity and Obscurity in the Law Relating to Wives Property and Marriage
196
Spinsters and Spinsterhood
221
Widows
240
Conclusion
259
Index
268
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About the author (1994)

Bridget Hill is a former Fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford and was a Staff Tutor at the Open University.

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