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Title: Female enterprise and entrepreneurship in North East England, 1778-1801
Author: Beaumont, Susan Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 7724
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2019
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Existing interpretations of women's work in industrialising England have previously been unable to fully assess the contribution that self-employed women made to this process because evidence of female enterprise and entrepreneurship has been difficult to find. This study addresses this problem as far as the North East of England is concerned, where this form of work was a regional rather than a specifically urban phenomenon, based on women's legalised ownership of their own capital. This is demonstrated here to have encouraged women to engage with enterprise and accumulate sufficient capital to contest the idea that it was men but not women who industrialised Britain. The acquisition of a diversified portfolio of assets is argued here to have challenged 'constraint-based models' of women's work, which assume that gender, social position, marital status, and patriarchal ideology prevented middling women from working, yet, according to the evidence presented here, North Eastern women overcame those constraints. The fact that they did so is addressed in detail here, principally in the argument that female enterprise made an invaluable contribution to English industrialisation. Despite the dominance of male occupations in the North East, few sectors of this regional economy were entirely closed to enterprising women. A mutual commitment to enterprise changed relations between men and women, repositioning women as equal partners in an industrial and commercial context. Charlotte Guest, who described herself as a 'Female Master' summarised what enterprising and entrepreneurial women expected to achieve through their economic agency, namely a new concept of themselves as agents of change rather than a subordinate species. This multi-faceted view of middling women's work sees enterprise and entrepreneurship as a source of empowerment for women in patriarchal societies, which envisioned their eventual emancipation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available