Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Gender and Work in the Early Modern Northern European World

11 December 2007 to 13 December 2007
Uppsala, Sweden

Comparing various parts of early modern Europe, one is immediately struck by the fact that some countries developed capitalism very early (like Holland and Britain), whereas others did so much later (like the Nordic countries). This is a all well-known fact, and to some extent it has have been explored from the point of view of gender as well. But generally, questions that have been asked pertain mostly to the effects of capitalism on women's lives. By contrast, we should like to look at early modern economic development from another angle, namely: in what ways did gender regimes affect the development of the economy? For example, the economy of the Dutch Republic is a principal case study in the international debate on economic growth and development. There is evidence that the economic success of the Dutch Republic is related to the position of women on the labour market. The suggestion that the economic role of Dutch women differed from women in other European countries seems rational, but a systematic comparison has never been made. The conference Gender and Work in the Early Modern Northern European world intended to compare female labour participation patterns and property relations in England, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Southern Netherlands and the Dutch Republic in order to increase our understanding of the relation between gender and economic development and the rise of capitalism in the early modern period.


Anne Laurence, Women's lives and fortunes in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales in the seventeenth century. 

Dag Lindström, Gender division of urban work in pre-industrial Sweden

Hilde Sandvik, Women and work in Norway 1500-1800

Ariadne Schmidt [with Manon van der Heijden], For the benefit of all? Women's work in public services in early modern Dutch towns

Laura van Aert, Separate spheres on the labour market? Economic possibilities (in retailing compared to other sectors) of single women in early modern Antwerp

Danielle van den Heuvel, Female traders in the Dutch Republic: some thoughts on women and entrepreneurship in the early modern period

Marjolein van Dekken, A profitable brew. Working women in the production of and trade in alcoholic drinks in the Northern Netherlands, 1500-1800

Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, Working in the margins? Female labour market participation in the Dutch textile industry in international perspective, c. 1600-1800

Amy Louise Erickson, Occupational identity and skill in 18th-century London

Pernilla Jonsson & Ann Ighe, The Table Commission and women's labour in early 19th-century Sweden

Elisabeth Gräslund Berg, Spatiality in women's work - how could we study gendered rural work in the landscape? With figures.

Christopher Pihl, The gender division of labour at the 16th-century Swedish royal demesnes

Hanne Östhus, Conflicts in the Workplace: Female Servants in Court

Lotta Vikström, Complementary and conflicting sources: Some results and experiences from combining data uncovering women's work and family position in nineteenth-century Sundsvall, Sweden.


Ariadne Schmidt []
Maria Ågren []