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Title: Women's professional employment in Wales, 1880-1939
Author: Jenkins, Beth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 6095
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines women’s professional employment in Wales between 1880 and 1939. It explores women’s negotiation of professional identities, their formation of professional networks, and their relationship with the broader women’s movement over this formative period in the emergence of the professions. The thesis contributes to neglected histories of women and the middle class in Wales, and enhances our understanding of the strategies women used to enter professional society. As the first major study of women’s professional employment in Wales, the thesis suggests that the Welsh women’s experience did exhibit some distinctive features. Women’s education attained a political and cultural importance in Wales from the late nineteenth century. But the nation’s economic development offered limited opportunities for educated women’s paid employment. This exacerbated the high proportion of women in the teaching profession, and meant that women’s professional employment was confined to a smaller range of occupations in Wales by the outbreak of the Second World War. Unlike most related studies of women’s work which focus on individual occupations, this thesis provides a comparative approach of women’s employment in medicine, teaching and academia. Such an approach reveals the interconnections and networks between groups of professional women and allows for analysis of an overarching feminine version of professional identity. In doing so, the thesis argues that women participated in professional society by exploiting – rather than directly challenging – contemporary gender norms and existing professional practices. By exploiting contemporary gender norms, women developed a distinctive feminine professional identity which highlighted their ‘natural’ skills and, following professional practices, they increasingly institutionalised their networks into women’s professional organisations and capitalised upon professional ideals of meritocracy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D204 Modern History ; DA Great Britain