Agricultural labour and the contested nature of women’s work in interwar England and Wales

VERDON, Nicola (2009). Agricultural labour and the contested nature of women’s work in interwar England and Wales. The Historical Journal, 52 (1), 109-130.

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This article uses a case-study of agriculture to explore the range of anxieties and contradictions surrounding women's work in the interwar period. National statistics are shown to be inconsistent and questionable, raising questions for historians reliant on official data, but they point to regional variation as the continuous defining feature of female labour force participation. Looking beyond the quantitative data a distinction emerges between traditional work on the land and processes. The article shows that women workers in agriculture provoked vigorous debate among a range of interest groups about the scale, nature, and suitability of this work. These groups, such as the National Federation of Women's Institutes, the Women's Farm and Garden Association, and the National Union of Agricultural Workers represented a range of social classes and outlooks, and had diverse agendas underpinning their interest. Consequently women's agricultural labour is exposed as a site of class and gender conflict, connecting to wider economic and cultural tensions surrounding the place of women in interwar society.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Humanities Research Centre
Identification Number:
Page Range: 109-130
Depositing User: Lorna Greaves
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2012 15:32
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 05:10

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