The Business of Women
Marriage, Family, and Entrepreneurship in British Columbia, 1901-51
Women throughout history have inhabited a conceptual space divorced from the world of business. Historians and social commentators have consequently tended to overlook the experiences of women entrepreneurs. Who were these women? What types of businesses did they establish? And how did they justify their work outside the home?
The Business of Women explores the lives of entrepreneurial women – how they were defined and how they defined themselves – in early twentieth-century British Columbia. Contrary to expectation, the profile of the businesswoman that emerges from both quantitative sources and case studies of the Business and Professional Women’s Clubs is not that of an unmarried or particularly rebellious woman. Rather, the typical businesswoman reconciled entrepreneurship with her identity as a wife, mother, or widow. The entrepreneurial woman was the product of a frontier ethos in British Columbia that translated into higher rates of marriage for women and more married women working outside the home than in any other province in Canada. Like men, they worked to support their families.
This groundbreaking study not only establishes women in the history of the world of business, it challenges commonly held beliefs about women, business, and the marriage between them. It will appeal to students and scholars of labour and business history and anyone interested in BC history or the history of women in Canada.
This book will appeal to students and scholars of labour or business history and anyone interested in BC history or the history of women in Canada.
…Buddle offers rich insights into the characteristics of female self-employment during this period, and lays the groundwork for future explorations of gender and business in Canada…this important book is thus recommended reading for those interested in the history of gender, labour, business, and British Columbia.
Buddle offers a unique and important contribution to Canadian history ... She seeks not only to incorporate women into the history of business but also to reconceptualize business history itself by asking new questions about gender, business, and the family. Business history needs to undergo a gender “revolution.” This book will promote such rethinking of the field.
1 Businesswomen in British Columbia
2 The Marriage of Business and Women: Family Status and Entrepreneurship in British Columbia
3 Careers for Women: Sex Segregation in Self-Employment
4 “They are quick, alert, clear-eyed business girls”: The Business and Professional Women’s Clubs of British Columbia
5 “You have to think like a man and act like a lady”: Gender, Class, and Businesswomen
Conclusion: “Darkened by family obligations”: Reflections on the Business of Women
Notes; Bibliography; Index
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