In dealing with the common experience of women in modern society, this book provides a deeper insight into European women at work, at home, at leisure and in their political and educational functions. Particular emphasis is placed upon the significant cultural differences between women of various classes and nationalities.
The first chapters of the book trace the growing importance of women’s work in the economic sector and for modernisation in general. Data from a wide variety of sources, including census figures, government and labour reports and personal accounts, illustrate that women have integrated work roles into a complex life style. The new image of women in society is analysed in the light of the numerous educational, political and legal reforms which took place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and the impact of feminist ideology is discussed in relation to this.
In its overall presentation this book, first published in 1978, illustrates the importance of the history of women not only for an understanding of the female experience but also the process of modernisation in Western Europe in general.