Girls & Women, Men & Boys: Gender in Taradale, 1886-1930

Girls & Women, Men & Boys: Gender in Taradale, 1886-1930

Girls & Women, Men & Boys: Gender in Taradale, 1886-1930

Girls & Women, Men & Boys: Gender in Taradale, 1886-1930

Synopsis

A study of the Hawke's Bay town of Taradale from 1886 to 1930, exploring the interconnections and the interactions between women's and men's lives. Includes historical photographs, and information about the oral informants. Based on a PhD thesis. Daley is a lecturer in history at the University of Auckland, and lived in Taradale.

Excerpt

When she was young and single, Louisa Gebbie could dress up and go to a ball at 9 p.m. and dance until dawn. She could be swept off her feet, or at least be amused, by Patrick O'Dowd in his stockman's outfit. That was in 1887. Within a decade, as Patrick's wife and already the mother of four children under the age of six, she had little time for such frivolities. Now, like other married women, she snatched moments of leisure at home, in her cash-free social sphere. in between scrubbing the floors and pressing clothes, Louisa might be able to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea. But she did so surrounded by the work that still had to be done.

The boundaries between women's domestic work and their leisure were often blurred. a woman who joined her sister on the freshly scrubbed front verandah, mending clothes, was both at work and at play. While her husband could map his leisure in time and space, hers was very different. Women's work did not finish at 5 or 6 o'clock and there were no half-day holidays. Even if there had been, many women would not have been able to leave their homes easily. Apart from childcare, there were transport problems. Many women were rumoured to be able to ride a horse, but few actually did so. Bicycles were out of bounds for most married women, and the rise of the automobile tended to see men behind the steering wheel. Women had to rely on infrequent public transport, or walk. So their leisure was immediately limited by a lack of cash, time, and transport. By default, the work place of the home became the prime site for married women's leisure.

Women's and men's leisure were based on different value systems. For the most part, the girls and women of Taradale used their leisure to . . .

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