'Generic resemblances?' : women and work in Queensland, 1919-1939

Scott, Joanne (1996). 'Generic resemblances?' : women and work in Queensland, 1919-1939 PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Scott, Joanne
Thesis Title 'Generic resemblances?' : women and work in Queensland, 1919-1939
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1996
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Total pages 427
Language eng
Subjects 200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality
750101 Employment
430101 History - Australian
Formatted abstract Women in Queensland engaged in a wider variety of work and economic relationships during the period from 1919 to the outbreak of the Second World War than previous studies of this state have suggested. In addition to their unpaid labour as wives and mothers, thousands of women participated in voluntary work. Women entered the formal economy as employees, self-employed workers and employers. Some women were involved in more than one economic relationship.

Recognition of gender as a category of analysis is crucial to an examination of the different types of work which this thesis investigates. The division of labour between white men and white women by which the former were usually defined as breadwinners while the latter had primary responsibilities for housework, the organisation of voluntary work, and the segregation which characterised the formal economy demonstrate the relevance of the concept of gender to labour history.

Women did not, however, constitute a homogeneous group. During the interwar period, Queensland society was characterised by hierarchies based on race, gender and class. Women's experiences of the economy reflected the outcomes of numerous factors, among which race, gender and class were of particular importance. Their marital status, age, geographical location, degree of financial independence and occupation also influenced their roles in the economy. For women who were dependents of male relatives, the class location, occupation and income of those relatives were significant. Economic events and conditions such as the Great Depression of the 1930s also affected women's experiences of work. These factors interacted with one another, and their relative importance and consequences varied for individual women.

By exploring these factors and the extent to which some women's roles in the Queensland economy were similar to or different from those of other women and also of men, this thesis extends the parameters of feminist and labour history in this state. It offers an analysis which recognises both the patterns which emerge from the study of women's working lives and the extent to which women's experiences defy reduction to these patterns.

Keyword Women -- Employment -- Queensland -- History.
Women -- Queensland -- Economic conditions.
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