Students Staff

14 April 2014

Census evidence challenges understanding of women's work in 19th century

The idea of the Victorian woman as the ‘angel of the home’, who gave up work at marriage and devoted her life to raising her family and keeping house, is simply not accurate.

Indeed, according to new research by Dr Amanda Wilkinson from the Department of History, a significant proportion of working-class women were working after they married and continued to do so throughout their lives. And many were their families’ breadwinner.

Both The Times and The Guardian have reported on the findings of Dr Wilkinson’s research which she presented at the Economic History Society’s annual conference .

Dr Wilkinson, who is an EHS Power Fellow, said: “These findings create an entirely new and exciting field of research. The study is currently being extended to cover the whole of the south of England through the use of the I-CeM database, newly released at the University of Essex.

“At a time when family, local, and gender history is enjoying a rapid rise in importance and interest, this study will change our understanding of the nature of women’s work, and reliability of the census.”

Economic History Society website
The Guardian
The Times (Pay wall applies)

...more news releases