224 Pages
    by Routledge

    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    In 1965, at the age of twenty-nine, the young sociologist Hannah Gavron took her own life. A year later, the book based on the research she carried out for her thesis was published as The Captive Wife. Based on first-hand accounts of the lives of working and middle-class working women in Kentish Town in London, it was one of the earliest works of British, sociological feminism and has since become a feminist classic.

    Arguing that motherhood stripped women of independence as it often brought an end to paid work, Gavron explores how their values and aspirations as women came into conflict with the traditional role they had to play as mothers.

    Written in simple prose and fair-minded in its approach, it became an inspirational book for many mothers, feminists and activists seeking equality for women and remains a vital book today.

    This Routledge Classics edition includes a new Foreword by Ann Oakley.

    Foreword to the Routledge Classics Edition Ann Oakley

    Preface and Acknowledgements


    Part 1: Social and Historical Background

    1. Legal and Political Changes

    2. General Changes in the Structure and Patterns of Family Life

    3. The Family Today

    4. Changing Patterns of Work

    5. A Summary

    Part 2: The Survey

    6. Background of the Samples

    7. Housing

    8. Marriage

    9. Mothers and Children

    10. The Running of the Home

    11. Social Contacts

    12. Children and Leisure

    13. Mothers and Work

    Part 3: Conclusion and Proposals

    14. Conflict and Ambivalence

    15. Results of the Survey Summarised

    16. A Final Analysis and Proposals for the Future

    Appendices of Methods

    1. Design of the Interview

    2. Schedule

    3. Selection of the Samples.




    Hannah Gavron was a brilliant, promising British sociologist who died at the age of twenty-nine. Her only book, The Captive Wife, was published the year after her death in 1965. Her son Jeremy Gavron's A Woman on the Edge of Time is an acclaimed account of his mother's life and suicide and was the subject of a BBC radio drama.

    “...a model of what a well-informed, humane and intelligent sociologist can do. It is luminous, informative, true: one of the tiny number of good books about marriage and the family, written with compassion but without jealousy or wrath.” - The New Society

    “...conveys a sense of passionate interest in the people written about and concern about society.” - Daily Mail