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Women's unemployment; a domestic occupation: A reconsideration of women's employment, unemployment and domesticity

Evans, Frances B. (1984) Women's unemployment; a domestic occupation: A reconsideration of women's employment, unemployment and domesticity. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94331) (KAR id:94331)


This thesis explores women's unemployment through an analysis of their paid and unpaid work. It is suggested that sociological writing about unemployment has been dominated by accounts of male experience, and a specific consideration of the meaning of unemployment for women is presented here. A blend of research methodologies has been developed, using the work of feminists, life historians and interactionists. This distinctive, qualitative approach produces empirical data about many aspects of the lives of a group of middle-aged women, in which to situate their experiences of work of all kinds. Before presenting an analysis of these data, the period through which the women have lived is discussed, in order to understand the broader social context of their lives. This account draws on the published work of both historians and sociologists, identifying the social trends and events which may have been of particular relevance to women, as well as the range of influences on such developments. The empirical part of the research which is reported on here produced two types of findings. The first deals with the patterns of women's paid employment over the life-cycle, while the second relates to women's attitudes to domestic labour. Both make clear the links between domestic and paid work. A wide range of published material from the seventeenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries is then used to develop an understanding of the contemporary form of domestic labour. Particular attention is paid in this analysis to the ways in which ideological and material influences mould the historically specific meaning and practice of domestic labour. In conclusion, the findings which are presented in this thesis are discussed in the context of other recently published work which addresses the analysis of women's unemployment.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Pahl, Ray
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94331
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Labour studies, women, unemployment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2023 10:29 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2023 10:29 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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