The World Is Ill Divided: Women's Work in Scotland in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

The World Is Ill Divided: Women's Work in Scotland in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

The World Is Ill Divided: Women's Work in Scotland in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

The World Is Ill Divided: Women's Work in Scotland in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Excerpt

The 1980s witnessed a flourishing of research and interest in women's history, accompanied by a proliferation of publications in the field. Unfortunately, in terms of the latter there has not been such a rich yield in Scotland. In 1983 the Glasgow Women's Studies Group produced Uncharted Lives: Extracts from Scottish Women's Experience, 1850-1982 (Pressgang), one of the first volumes of essays on Scottish women's experience written from a broadly feminist perspective; in the Introduction, it was noted 'how very little published material there was which concerned women in Scotland and how much there could be'. Sadly, several years on, the situation is much the same. There is certainly not the same volume of research into nineteenth and twentieth-century women's history in Scotland as there is in England. But what is more significant is the enormous disjuncture between research and interest on the one hand and published material on the other which arises from the ethnocentrism on one side of the border, and male prejudices on the other. It is to be hoped that the example set by the Edinburgh University Press in publishing women's history will be followed by others.

We hope that the publication of this collection might fulfil a number of objectives. First, we hope that it will contribute to the present knowledge of the history of the people of Scotland, for despite the increase in publications on Scottish social and labour history in recent years, the experience of women has to a large extent been ignored. A comprehensive historical survey of women's work in Scotland is still a project that awaits its historian. Nonetheless, the essays contained in this volume cover the major sectors of women's employment for much of the period concerned: agriculture, domestic service and textiles. Thus the essays must both broaden and enrich our understanding of our antecedents, through the description and interpretation of women's experience, and through the exploration of both regional and cultural differences within Scotland, though without attempting to elucidate or define the distinctiveness of Scottish women's experience.

Our understanding of the past grows through the examination of . . .

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