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Patterns of female employment in the Pays de Caux and the Perche, 1792-1901

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The paper begins by exploring the sources available for full reconstructions of the female and male occupational structures of proto-industrial textile regions of France, and makes a case for the use of revolutionary population listings and nineteenth-century population censuses. Data on female and male labour force participation rates and sectoral distributions then enables an exploration of patterns of women’s work and their determinants, in relation with broader debates on the ‘French path’ to industrialisation. Comparison with the British case suggests that data on women’s work could be integral to our understanding of processes of modern economic growth, and force us to redefine current understandings of ‘industrialisation’ and its chronology.

This talk is part of the Graduate Workshop in Economic and Social History series.

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