The Gender of Breadwinners: Women, Men and Change in Two Industrial Towns, 1880-1950

By Joy Parr

© 1998

This is a story of two Ontario towns, Hanover and Paris, that grew in many parallel ways. They were about the same size, and both were primarily one-industry towns. But Hanover was a furniture-manufacturing centre; most of its workers were men, drawn from a community of ethnic German artisans and agriculturalists. In Paris the biggest employer was the textile industry; most of its wage earners were women, assisted in emigration from England by their Canadian employer.

Joy Parr considers the impacy of these fundamental differences from a feminist perspective in her study of the towns' industrial, domestic, and community life. She combines interviews of women and men of the towns with analyses of a wide range of documents: records of the firms from which their families worked, newspapers, tax records, paintings, photographs, and government documents.

Two surprising and contrasting narratives emerge. The effects of gender identities upon both women's and men's workplace experience and of economic roles upon familial relationships are starkly apparent.

Extending through seventy crucial years, these closely textured case studies challenge conventional views about the distinctiveness of gender and class roles. They reconfigure the social and economic change accompanying the rise of industry. They insistently transcend the reflexive dichtomies drawn between womena dn men, public and privae, wage and non-wage work. They investigate industrial structure, technological change, domesticity, militance, and perceptions of personal power and worth, simultaneously as products of gender and class identities, recast through community sensibilities.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 314 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.9in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP001556

  • PUBLISHED DEC 1998

    From: $32.96

    Regular Price: $43.95

    ISBN 9780802067609
  • PUBLISHED SEP 2004

    From: $41.25

    Regular Price: $55.00

Quick Overview

Extending through seventy crucial years, these closely textured case studies challenge conventional views about the distinctiveness of gender and class roles.

The Gender of Breadwinners: Women, Men and Change in Two Industrial Towns, 1880-1950

By Joy Parr

© 1998

This is a story of two Ontario towns, Hanover and Paris, that grew in many parallel ways. They were about the same size, and both were primarily one-industry towns. But Hanover was a furniture-manufacturing centre; most of its workers were men, drawn from a community of ethnic German artisans and agriculturalists. In Paris the biggest employer was the textile industry; most of its wage earners were women, assisted in emigration from England by their Canadian employer.

Joy Parr considers the impacy of these fundamental differences from a feminist perspective in her study of the towns' industrial, domestic, and community life. She combines interviews of women and men of the towns with analyses of a wide range of documents: records of the firms from which their families worked, newspapers, tax records, paintings, photographs, and government documents.

Two surprising and contrasting narratives emerge. The effects of gender identities upon both women's and men's workplace experience and of economic roles upon familial relationships are starkly apparent.

Extending through seventy crucial years, these closely textured case studies challenge conventional views about the distinctiveness of gender and class roles. They reconfigure the social and economic change accompanying the rise of industry. They insistently transcend the reflexive dichtomies drawn between womena dn men, public and privae, wage and non-wage work. They investigate industrial structure, technological change, domesticity, militance, and perceptions of personal power and worth, simultaneously as products of gender and class identities, recast through community sensibilities.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 314 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.9in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    'The most exhilarating, challenging book to appear in modern Canadian social history in many years. Part women's history, part labour history, part technological history, part economic history, it integrates and surpasses these discrete subfields. Its theoretical underpinnings are particularly innovative.'


    Craig Heron, Canadian Historical Review

    'Well worth a careful reading for anyone interested in gender and work issues.'


    Nancy E. Bertaux
    Journal of Economic History

    'Clearly a benchmark in Canadian historical scholarship.'


    Margaret Conrad
    American Review of Canadian Studies

    'A work of truly remarkable sensitivity, depth and complexity.'


    Deborah Gorham
    Canadian Forum
  • Author Information

    Joy Parr is Canada Research Chair in Technology, Environment and the Everyday, in the department of Geography at the University of Western Ontario..

  • Prizes

    François-Xavier Garneau Medal - Winner in 1990
    John A. Macdonald Prize - Winner in 1990
    The Harold Adam Innis Prize award by the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada - Winner in 1990
  • Subjects and Courses

By the Same Author(s)