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Diffusion of a Social Norm: Tracing the Emergence of the Housewife in the Netherlands, 1812-1922

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Author Info

  • Frans W.A. van Poppel

    ()
    (Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute)

  • Hendrik P. van Dalen

    ()
    (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

  • Evelien Walhout

    ()
    (International Institute for Social History)

Abstract

The emergence of the housewife in the Netherlands over the period 1812-1922 was strongly influenced by the social norm that women should withdraw from the labour market on the eve of marriage. Adherence to this norm is most clearly reflected in the emergence of the housewife among the lower classes, especially at the close of the nineteenth century among wives of farmers. Women in urban municipalities, however, set the norm far earlier and differences across social classes were significantly larger in towns than in rural areas. Paradoxically, the rise of the housewife did not change work pressures for lower–class women. This paradox is resolved by noting that they substituted registered work for unregistered work, e.g., in house industries, working in the family firm or farm.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 06-107/1.

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Date of creation: 04 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20060107

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: marriage; norms; division of labour; housewife; breadwinner;

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Cited by:
  1. Jona Schellekens & Frans Poppel, 2012. "Marital Fertility Decline in the Netherlands: Child Mortality, Real Wages, and Unemployment, 1860–1939," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 965-988, August.
  2. Wiebke Schulz & Ineke Maas, 2010. "Studying historical occupational careers with multilevel growth models," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 23(24), pages 669-696, October.
  3. Frans Poppel & Niels Schenk & Ruben Gaalen, 2013. "Demographic Transitions and Changes in the Living Arrangements of Children: The Netherlands 1850–2010," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 243-260, April.

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