Women and Labour in Late Colonial India: The Bengal Jute Industry

Synopsis

Samita Sen's history of laboring women in Bengal in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries considers how social constructions of gender shaped their lives. The author demonstrates how the long-term trends in the Indian economy devalued women's labor, establishing patterns of urban migration and changing gender equations within the family. She relates these trends to the spread of dowry, enforced widowhood and child marriage. The study will make a significant contribution to the understanding of the social and economic history of colonial India and to notions of gender construction.

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