Published by EH.Net (April 2013)
Beatrice Moring, editor, Female Economic Strategies in the Modern World. London: Pickering and Chatto, 2012. xiii + 201 pp. £60/$99 (hardcover), ISBN: 978-1-84893-350-7.
Reviewed for EH.Net by Vellore Arthi, Faculty of History, University of Oxford.
In Female Economic Strategies in the Modern World, Beatrice Moring and her contributors add to ongoing debates on women’s work and wellbeing, compiling varied but thematically linked historical accounts of female survival.
Moring, in her introduction, argues that women were more resilient and had greater access to diverse survival strategies than is traditionally assumed. The eight cases presented in the chapters that follow suggest, perhaps less optimistically, that women faced grim realities fraught with uncertainty. Indeed, even where they found the means to get by, women rarely enjoyed stability, comfort, and upward mobility.
While these studies hang together rather loosely, and examine women’s lives through broad-ranging sources and contexts, they reveal striking similarities in female economic strategies. The thematic patterns that emerge – for instance, reliance on interpersonal networks or the importance of housing-sharing – emphasize women’s creativity and self-sacrifice as engines of survival, and patriarchal ideology, gender-segregated labor markets, and institutional barriers to women’s autonomy as impediments to their wellbeing. Below, I provide a brief look at some of these patterns in the contexts of propertied women, working-class women, and women in today’s developing world.
Unique among the contributions to this volume, and indeed, rare in studies of women’s welfare,
Marie-Pierre Arrizabalaga and Margareth Lanzinger examine the fates of women of means.
General, International, or Comparative
Household, Family and Consumer History
Social and Cultural History, including Race, Ethnicity and Gender
20th Century: Pre WWII
20th Century: WWII and post-WWII