This book examines three different groups of women - in coal mining communities, in inshore fishing communities and in agricultural labour. It demonstrates how the work these groups undertook was fundamental in shaping their experiences as women in different ways and shows that women's experiences varied within class as well as between classes. The book illustrates how mining women, despite being restricted to domestic roles, created, through meticulous housekeeping, a power base in their homes and rendered their husbands dependent on them, while a minority took so active a role in politics that they were said to be 'the backbone of the Labour Party'; how fisher women, engaging in a household economy reminiscent of pre-modern times, exercised great influence on financial decision making through their roles in baiting lines and selling fish; and how some single female agricultural labourers exercised considerable autonomy whereas those who were tied in a family economy had little independence. Overall, the book makes a very significant contribution to women's history, to labour history and to economic and social history. "This is a tremendously useful and relevant book for historians of women as well as social and labor historians." - Professor Joan Scott, Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton University. VALERIE HALL is Professor Emerita of History at William Peace University, North Carolina
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