Friday 14 April 2023
11.00 - 13.00
Women in Professions
SEB salen (Z)
Liliosa Azara :
Women in the Italian Police force (1961-1980): Work, Stereotypes and Sexism
This paper provides insight into the conditions and events characterising life for women in the Police force from 1961-1980. The period saw the uneasy coexistence of revolutionary struggle (contraception, abortion and divorce) alongside stratified prejudice regarding women in non-domestic work, morality and decency. The first point of note is the ... (Show more)
This paper provides insight into the conditions and events characterising life for women in the Police force from 1961-1980. The period saw the uneasy coexistence of revolutionary struggle (contraception, abortion and divorce) alongside stratified prejudice regarding women in non-domestic work, morality and decency. The first point of note is the late institution of a female police force in Italy in comparison with earlier established women’s Police forces in Europe and beyond. The paper then examines how the male universe responded to women’s entry into the Police. Women Police officers were exclusively assigned to juvenile delinquency and prostitution, considered more appropriate for their sex, nevertheless, male colleagues considered them an unwanted intrusion into the world of male professions. The third focus will be on the perceived risk of threatened masculinity as a starting point for the gradual downgrading of roles and skills of women officers, who were assigned modest duties with scarce responsibility and built-in salary gap. While joining the Police does provide women with independent employment and full civil rights with equal access to judiciary and policing careers, for traditionalists it is a kind of betrayal of roles held to be “naturally” feminine in domestic and reproductive terms. Final analysis will turn to the sexist portrayal of women Police officers in the national press (in the ‘70s). The phenomenon reflects institutional and professional ostracism in certain sectors of the labour market, as well as obstructing women’s empowerment and worsening the gender gap that typifies Italian society today. (Show less)
Julien Delattre, Fanny Verslype :
The First Women Lawyers in Belgium: a Historical Perspective
In 2022, Belgium commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the women’s admission to the legal profession. This advance, enshrined in the law of 7 April 1922, is the result of a long struggle. It began with the decision of the Brussels Court of Appeal of 12 December 1888, which refused ... (Show more)
In 2022, Belgium commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the women’s admission to the legal profession. This advance, enshrined in the law of 7 April 1922, is the result of a long struggle. It began with the decision of the Brussels Court of Appeal of 12 December 1888, which refused to admit Marie Popelin to the lawyer’s oath . The Court justified its decision on the basis of historical and semantic considerations, as well as the nature of women as intrinsically incompatible with certain legal functions (Brussels, 12 December 1888, Pas., 1889, II, p. 48; de Brogniez, 2016). The Popelin judgment became the "Popelin case" and led to the creation of the first Belgian feminist society (Ligue belge du droit des femmes).
In Belgium, unlike France or the Anglo-Saxon countries, the question of women's access to the bar was for a long time considered exclusively from " the Popelin case" (De Bueger-Van Lierde, 1972; Nandrin, 2001). On the other hand, the first female lawyers are little known and have never been the subject of a separate contribution, although they are sometimes mentioned in publications in connection with their respective commitments (Van Rokeghem, Vercheval-Vervoort, Aubenas, 2006).
The arrival of the first female lawyers raises many questions that are fundamentally linked to female emancipation and the consequences of obtaining new rights in the 19th and 20th centuries. Who were these pioneers? What are their individual and collective profiles? What reactions did their arrival provoke in society and among their male colleagues? What relationship did these first women have to the law and how did the judicial sphere act as a vehicle for their demands? What impact did these early women lawyers have on their contemporaries and heirs? To what extent, despite their access to the legal profession, do these women remain dependent on gender representations in the exercise of their function?
Through the press, institutional and individual archives, this contribution aims to answer these different questions. The study of the daily and specialised press and the legislative process that led to the adoption of the law of 7 April 1922 allows to identify the dominant discourses relating to the place of women within the legal professions. A biographical and prosopographical analysis of the first female lawyers at the Brussels bar provides a multi-scalar overview of the careers of these pioneers, the difficulties they faced and the networks they could rely on. (Show less)
Nebiha Guiga :
Risk, Courage and Gender: an Exploration of Gender Roles in the Royal National Lifeboat Institution since 1824
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, founded in 1824 (under the name of National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck) is a charity, operating lifeboats off the coasts of the UK and Ireland with the purpose of saving lives at sea. A large majority of lifeboatmen (and, more recently, ... (Show more)
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, founded in 1824 (under the name of National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck) is a charity, operating lifeboats off the coasts of the UK and Ireland with the purpose of saving lives at sea. A large majority of lifeboatmen (and, more recently, women) are volunteers, and while loss of life has become less common for volunteers over the almost two centuries the charity has operated, acceptance of the risking of one’s life to save a stranger’s remain central to the mission statement. Medals which have been attributed by the institution since its founding, while initially sometimes given as a way to encourage lifesaving actions in the early years of the institution, have rapidly become a tool to recognize acts where the lifesaver’s life was endangered.
While women have been part of the institution, as donors and fundraiser, from the inception of the charity, they do not appear in crews before 1969, and remain a small minority on the boats to this day (the RNLI website gives a figure 11% for lifeboat-station volunteers, which includes shore-crew and station management). The aim of this paper is to look at the relationship between the centrality of exposures to risk and the history of gender role constructions in the organization.
In this paper, I will look at the role of courage and the willingness to risk one’s life in the construction of crew member’s masculinities, as well as the experience of waiting for a male family member on a lifeboat as a central element in the construction of female gender roles in the institution. I will focus on both elements strengthening these constructions of such complementary gender roles as well as elements of subversion of this model, and of its evolution in the almost two hundred years of the charity’s history.
Using inspection reports, minute books and other documents from RNLI station primarily located in the North-East of England near Whitby and in the Dublin bay in Ireland, I will first present elements to more precisely map-out these constructions of gender roles. Then, using newspaper articles from the early 1950s, as well as audio documents from the RNLI archive from the same time, I will look in more detail at the case of the Runswick female lifeboat launchers and the way in which they both re-affirm and subvert these roles. Finally, using both testimonies and the result of interviews with modern-day lifeboat-men and women from the Dun Laoghaire lifeboat station in Dublin, I will look at both the longevity of this model, and more contemporary representation of lifeboat men and women’s gender roles, in particular around the dimension of care work their role entails. (Show less)
JeanMary Walker :
A Dublin Hospital as a Microcosm of Nineteenth Century British Empire Politics of Respectability
The weight of the term “respectable” as a measurement of moral worth when attached to women who were, or who interacted with, syphilitic patients in nineteenth century Ireland will be considered, using the Westmoreland lock hospital for females, Dublin, Ireland (1792-1955), as a case study. Established under charter ... (Show more)
The weight of the term “respectable” as a measurement of moral worth when attached to women who were, or who interacted with, syphilitic patients in nineteenth century Ireland will be considered, using the Westmoreland lock hospital for females, Dublin, Ireland (1792-1955), as a case study. Established under charter by the then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the hospital was a charitable hospital maintained by government funding.
Here, medical registrars categorised women seeking admission. Common law wives, servants of the grand houses, married women and women who were ‘respectable’ tradeswomen and lower class working girls were sometimes given moral distinction within the hospital, sometimes they were not. Others were defined as disreputable and assigned the level of accommodation deemed appropriate for their moral standing.
For female hospital staff, from the matron to the wardsmaids, their treatment by their superiors was also determined by their adherence to “respectable” behaviour.
Daughters and wives of members of the board of superintendence of hospitals, of the officiating hospital chaplain and other lady visitors attended the hospital as an act of charity, and were considered to be bastions of respectability. Nevertheless, they were subject to restrictive gendered societal attitudes and were regarded as a destabilising force when they insisted on having a role within the hospital. This was evident most particularly when they attempted to challenge the male dominated governing structure of the hospital establishment.
In 1894 visiting ladies supported a patient in her claims of assault by a male doctor, and his neglect leading to the death of another patient. Both patients and visitors were undermined and denigrated by the hospital board of management on the basis of the patients’ lack of respectability and the women-visitors inability to recognise this.
This event will be theorised within a modern theoretical framework of gendered power relations and the politics of moral and social respectability in the British Empire. (Show less)