Domesticity, Pillarization and Gender. Historical Explanations for the Divergent Pattern of Dutch Women’s Economic Citizenship
Keywords:Emancipation, Women, Work
Are there historical explanations for the paradox that, in a country with a reputation for being egalitarian and democratic, reasonable and tolerant, women have less economic independence compared with other countries and are under-represented in decision-making roles in society? This has often, implicitly and explicitly, been the guiding question in historical research into the gender relations in the Netherlands. Mineke Bosch takes up this question again and discusses gender-historical research that focuses on specific developments in the area of ‘work’ and ‘women’s work’, whereby the national character is of less relevance, as well as historical research in which broader lines are drawn in relation to the Dutch gender relations in comparison to other countries.
In research in the second category, more so than in the first, standard explanatory concepts are used such as burgerlijkheid [bourgeois mentality] and domesticity, or pillarization. As outmoded connotations (and myths) concerning masculinity and femininity often lurk within these terms, this type of research risks degenerating into histories of nineteenth-century civilization in which gender relations were used as a basis for explanations.
This article is part of the special issue 'The International Relevance of Dutch History'.
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Copyright (c) 2010 Mineke Bosch
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