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Women in the Rural and Industrial Labor Force in Nineteenth-Century Spain


  • Luisa Muñoz Abeledo


This contribution analyzes determinants of women's labor force participation (LFP) in northwest coastal Spain (Galicia) in the second half of the nineteenth century. The study uses census takers' notebooks from 1857 and 1870 in three municipalities with different economic structures: Nigrán, an agricultural municipality in southern Galicia on the estuary of Vigo, where women predominantly worked in agriculture; Bueu, an industrial town where 80 percent of women were employed in fish processing and related activities; and Coruña, Galicia's biggest city in 1857, where commerce and services were the main economic activities. The sample represents 2 percent of the region's population. The study focuses both on demand -- how the local economic structure influenced the entrance of women into the labor market; and supply -- how age, civil status, and number of children influenced women's LFP. The industrialization of coastal Galicia impelled women's high participation rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Luisa Muñoz Abeledo, 2012. "Women in the Rural and Industrial Labor Force in Nineteenth-Century Spain," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 121-144, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:18:y:2012:i:4:p:121-144
    DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2012.738302

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
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