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Gender, Work and Wages in Industrial Revolution Britain


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Part of Cambridge Studies in Economic History - Second Series

  • Date Published: June 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521312288

$ 58.99

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About the Authors
  • A major study of the role of women in the labour market of Industrial Revolution Britain. It is well known that men and women usually worked in different occupations, and that women earned lower wages than men. These differences are usually attributed to custom but Joyce Burnette here demonstrates instead that gender differences in occupations and wages were instead largely driven by market forces. Her findings reveal that rather than harming women competition actually helped them by eroding the power that male workers needed to restrict female employment and minimising the gender wage gap by sorting women into the least strength-intensive occupations. Where the strength requirements of an occupation made women less productive than men, occupational segregation maximised both economic efficiency and female incomes. She shows that women's wages were then market wages rather than customary and the gender wage gap resulted from actual differences in productivity.

    • A major contribution to debates about gender segregation
    • Provides an explanation of the gender wage gap
    • Will appeal to economic historians, social historians and economists
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    • Co-winner of the Economic History Society First Monograph Prize 2010

    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Professor Joyce Burnette has produced a major new work; one in which her arguments are supported and reinforced by comprehensive statistical evidence. For anyone studying women's history this is necessary reading.' Don Vincent, the Open University History Society

    Review of the hardback: 'This is a highly coherent study, the main thesis of which can be easily summarised: the main explanation as to why women earned less than men in industrial revolution Britain was economic rather than cultural.' Local Population Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521312288
    • length: 390 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Women's occupations
    2. Women's wages
    3. Explaining occupational sorting
    4. Testing for occupational barriers in agriculture
    5. Barriers to women's employment
    6. Occupational barriers in self-employment
    7. Women's labour force participation
    8. Conclusion

  • Author

    Joyce Burnette, Wabash College, Indiana


    • Co-winner of the Economic History Society First Monograph Prize 2010

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