Earning Respect: The Lives of Working Women in Small Town Ontario, 1920-1960
Between 1920 and 1960 wage-earning women in factories and offices experienced dramatic shifts in their employment conditions, the result of both the Depression and the expansion of work opportunities during the Second World War. Earning Respect examines the lives of white and blue-collar women workers in Peterborough during this period and notes the emerging changes in their work lives, as working daughters gradually became working mothers.
Joan Sangster focuses in particular on four large workplaces, examining the gendered division of labour, women's work culture, and the forces that encouraged women's accommodation and resistance on the job. She also connects women's wage work to their social and familial lives and to the larger community context, exploring wage-earning women's 'identities,' their attempts to cope with economic and family crises, the gendered definitions of working-class respectability, and the nature of paternalism in a small Ontario manufacturing city.
Sangster draws upon oral histories as well as archival research as she traces the construction of class and gender relations in 'small town' industrialized Ontario in the mid-twentieth century. She uses this local study to explore key themes and theoretical debate in contemporary women's and working-class history.
- Series: Studies in Gender and History
- World Rights
- Page Count: 334 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 9.0in
'Joan Sangster has written a readable and important book which combines many of the best elements of women's history, working-class history and a community study. Her ambitious study looks into the lives of two generations of working women in Peterborough, Ontario.'
Canadian Journal of Urban Research
'Sangster's approach is refreshing in the ways she weaves together gender and class, treating them as symbiotic. ... The book also achieves a successful synthesis in moving beyond the separate spheres of household and market, because Sangster found that she had to explore women's family and community life to understand social relations in the paid workforce.'
Philippa Mein Smith
Joan Sangster is a professor in the Departments of History and Women's Studies at Trent University.
Harold Adams Innis Prize award by the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada- Winner in 1996
Subjects and Courses