Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This work represents an attempt to test the utility of existing theories on the gendered division of labour by applying them to an empirical example of Hamilton, Ontario. Recent theoretical debates locate the period of the early consolidation of industrial capitalism as central to the emergence of a particular family form - the dependent female - breadwinner-male which embodies, enforces and reflects the gendered division of labour. The family wage is central to the notion of this specific family form and has become the focus of ensuing debates. The test of the theories generally indicate a similar pattern occurring in Hamilton as noted by these authors. However, a significant variation of fewer Hamilton married women employed in paid labour points to the emergence of the dependent family form as a slow process contingent upon specific historical elaborations and developments of the separation of the domestic from the industrial unit. A refinement of existing theories is presented by including the role of state labour policies in shaping the form of the family household. The implementation of these policies can be understood as a component of the state fulfilling its function of reproduction. The factory Acts of 1884 distinguished women as a separate occupational group, institutionalized their double day of work, and exacerbated the gendered division of labour. The minimum wage policy for females in 1920, premised on the 'family wage', consolidated the gendered division of labour under capitalism. From these theoretical treatments of historically specific elements in the family wage comes a new question of the relationship between class and gender components in this ideology. It is argued that a theory on the gendered division of labour must include an analysis of the state's contribution to the reproduction of labour power.
Aylward, Sandra, "Hamilton Working Women and 'Protective' Legislation: A Review of Theories on the Gendered Division of Labour" (1983). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6871.
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