This book examines the lives of Irish women between 1890 and 1914, tracing the shift of their labour out of the fields and into the home. Joanna Bourke shows how their position within the employment market deteriorated: married women came to be increasingly dependent on their husbands' earnings, while economic opportunities for unmarried and widowed women collapsed. More and more women devoted all their productive enterprise to performing housework. In this thoroughly documented and carefully argued study, Dr Bourke analyses the crucial elements in this change: the coincidence of sectoral shifts in the employment market, increasing investment in the rural economy, and the growth of a labour-intensive household sector. Controversially, she argues that Irish women welcomed their altered role, finding housework preferable to many of the other options available to them.
Publisher: Oxford University Press