An exploration of women's place in the U.S. political economy
Women in 1900
Gateway to the Political Economy of the 20th Century
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Christine E. Bose
The past is more relevant to the present than we often believe. There are historical roots to seemingly new concerns, frequently raised as social problems, which connect the beginning and the end of the twentieth century.
For example, ethnic enclaves, which provided employment networks for women, existed in domestic work long before their recent rediscovery among ethnic men. Female-headed households and single mothers have also been around for a long time, but in 1900 they had to support themselves in the absence of large state or federal welfare programs.
By creatively re-analyzing census data, the author explores women's place in the U.S. political economy at the beginning of the twentieth century, viewed from the national level, but also highlighting the variations in women's experiences according to racial ethnic background, class, and geography. Since this past is often used as a baseline for judging changes during the subsequent one hundred years, it is important to understand it on its own terms.
Since this was also a period of economic transformation and high immigration, it is a key time to observe women's changing work options. Among them are the large volume of women's uncounted work in the informal economy; the individual, household, and geographic characteristics that predicted their formal employment; and the occupational segregation experienced by women of differing racial ethnic backgrounds.
"Bose's book provides a much-needed opportunity to explore [assumptions about women's work] and to broaden our conceptual framework for examining them.... I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from Bose's analysis and her writing, and I am certain that my students will as well."
"Bose's detailed findings deserve the attention of scholars of women's situation, and hopefully will lead to further comparisons with contemporary analyses..."
Preface and Acknowledgments
In the series
Women in the Political Economy, edited by Ronnie J. Steinberg.
No longer active.
Women in the Political Economy, edited by Ronnie J. Steinberg, includes books on women and issues of work, family, social movements, politics, feminism, and empowerment. It emphasizes women's roles in society and the social construction of gender and also explores current policy issues like comparable worth, international development, job training, and parental leave.