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Gender and Political Identities in Scotland, 1919-1939$
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Annmarie Hughes

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748639816

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639816.001.0001

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Usurpers of Men? Gender, Work and Political Identities

Usurpers of Men? Gender, Work and Political Identities

(p.13) Chapter 1 Usurpers of Men? Gender, Work and Political Identities
Gender and Political Identities in Scotland, 1919-1939

Annmarie Hughes

Edinburgh University Press

The gendered nature of employment and women's experiences of work between the wars remains a relatively neglected field of study, especially in Scotland. Contemporary depictions of working women in the inter-war period often present them as cheap labour and ‘usurpers of men's jobs’, while historical representations of women tend to portray them as embracing a reconstructed domesticity. However, Scottish women's employment patterns, work experiences, trade union membership, industrial activism, and political consciousness in the workplace, although failing to fit within labour historiography's male-centric framework, do nevertheless subvert the stereotypes that inter-war working-class women were politically apathetic or that they had the potential to undermine male employees. What the nature of women's work and trade union organisation does highlight are the considerable obstacles that working women had to overcome to achieve progress and avoid exploitation in the world of work.

Keywords:   Scottish women, working-class women, employment, work experiences

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