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Wednesday 12 April 2023 14.00 - 16.00
F-3 LAB03 Female Friendly Societies across Europe, 1840s-1940s: Labour, Health, and Mutual-aid
B23
Networks: Labour , Women and Gender Chair: Llorenç Ferrer Alos
Organizers: Llorenç Ferrer Alos, Alfons Zarzoso Discussant: Llorenç Ferrer Alos
Lars Fredrik Andersson, Bernard Harris & Liselotte Eriksson : Exploring Female Morbidity in Early 20th Century Sweden
In this paper we investigate historical morbidity trends among women and men at the first half of the 20th century, by employing individual data from one of the largest health insurance societies in Sweden. The health insurance societies welcomed both men and women and had affiliations all over Sweden. By ... (Show more)
In this paper we investigate historical morbidity trends among women and men at the first half of the 20th century, by employing individual data from one of the largest health insurance societies in Sweden. The health insurance societies welcomed both men and women and had affiliations all over Sweden. By considering individual characteristics and the effect of insurance benefits attributed to each assured individual, we investigate to what extent female and male sickness trajectories diverged; the health of women during and after pregnancy and what factors that explain women’s and men’s morbidity over the life course. Until lately these issues have been difficult to assess properly since micro-based data have been limited to the present day or to men’s sickness experience and because historical data have largely been limited to aggregated series. As a result, the paper aims to not only to add to the history of morbidity in Sweden but also to our understanding of sex-specific differences in morbidity more generally. (Show less)

Julien Caranton : Solidarity and Autonomy: Female Mutual Aid Societies in Grenoble (1840s-1914)
In the mid-nineteenth century, the French government and a large part of the elite encouraged popular classes to join together and create mutual aid societies. This liberal recommendation resulted from the observation of industry's growth and pauperism, but also demographic push in cities. Throughout the century, the city of Grenoble ... (Show more)
In the mid-nineteenth century, the French government and a large part of the elite encouraged popular classes to join together and create mutual aid societies. This liberal recommendation resulted from the observation of industry's growth and pauperism, but also demographic push in cities. Throughout the century, the city of Grenoble has been one of the main centres of mutualism in France. In 1858, the municipal administration counted 18 male and 19 female friendly societies. Grenoble was a great open-cast glove-making workshop which employed several thousand seamstresses. Therefore, these women needed support for sickness, maternity and when their bodies wore out.
Using various archives like associations bylaws, minutes of board meetings and general assemblies, accounting registers, member’s address repertories, this paper proposes to measure the medical, social and economic efficiency of female mutual aid societies. Moreover, the case of Grenoble suggests that friendly societies were a space not only of sociability, but also a space where women could fight male domination. (Show less)

Jose Joaquin Garcia Gomez, Pilar Beneito López & Ángel Pascual Martínez Soto : Gender Pay Gap, Unionisation and Welfare during the Spanish Industrialisation (1870-1920)
The effects of the unionisation in the history of the gender pay gap have not received much attention. This communication deals with these effects during a key period of the Spanish economic history, the consolidation of the industrialisation process, in Yecla, a representative city of this economy. Our research analyses ... (Show more)
The effects of the unionisation in the history of the gender pay gap have not received much attention. This communication deals with these effects during a key period of the Spanish economic history, the consolidation of the industrialisation process, in Yecla, a representative city of this economy. Our research analyses if the increase of women´s unionisation would have driven the reduction of the wage gap through the empowerment of women and the reduction of discrimination. If we assume that the labour skills of individuals are equally distributed between men and women, unionisation would have increased female empowerment, reduced discrimination and the wage gap, and increased their labour force participation. This work contributes to the literature in (at least) five ways. First, by shedding light to the links between the union coverage and the gender wage gaps. Second, by examining this in a period, the industrialisation, of great interest due to the changes operating in the occidental economic system during those decades. Third, because the period of study, 1870-1920, is characterized by two completely different regulatory frame, not only about the labour market conditions, but about the unions and workers´ associations in Spain. It therefore follows that the methodology we use is the difference-in-differences analysis, where the absence of women´s union coverage defines the first period and the creation of different union feminist groups does the second. Fourth, the communication is focused on a rural area in the southeast of Spain. This is important because the study of the labour history has predominantly been concentrated in the Spanish historical industrial areas such as Cataluña, the Basque Country, and, of course in influential political cities as Madrid or Valencia. This approach is relatively new, and it is reinforced because in this rural area, in contrast to what happened in the majority of the Spanish countryside, women achieve to create a strong feminist workers group that influence the local unions. Fifth, due to the significance of the town of Yecla, a very dynamic area during the period of the industrialisation, when it stood out in the Spanish economy because of its agricultural exports and its traditional industry based on espadrilles and textiles, and its proximity to industrial areas as Alcoy and Villena. Last, but not least, due to the inedited and wide unions´ local archive documentation we have consulted, inexistent in the most part of the Spanish locations. (Show less)

Alba Masramon : Working Women’s Institut: Mutual Aid, Labour, Health and Female Agency (1920-1936)
Since the late nineteenth century, even earlier, the Spanish bourgeoisie began to express a growing concern towards the "social issue”. In other words, they worried about the miserable life conditions in which the working class was immersed in a context of capitalism consolidation and in the face of the State's ... (Show more)
Since the late nineteenth century, even earlier, the Spanish bourgeoisie began to express a growing concern towards the "social issue”. In other words, they worried about the miserable life conditions in which the working class was immersed in a context of capitalism consolidation and in the face of the State's indifference in the matter of social services. That is the reason why friendly societies flourished in this context, as they were the only available way for the popular classes to cope with their difficulties. Here we study the historical evolution of one of them: the Saint Madrona’s Mutual Aid Society, founded in 1900 Barcelona by a bishop whose aim was to promote women association while preventing them to engage in trade unions or similar associations. In 1920, this organization was taken up by a saving bank (La Caixa d’Estalvis) to become the so-called Working Women’s Institute (Instituto de la Mujer que Trabaja), with a main objective: to protect working women socially and morally. This bourgeoisie’s manoeuvre explains their attempt to control working class spaces, and social Catholicism had an important role in this paternalistic strategy. Thanks to the financial support of this saving entity, the new association was able to improve, hedge and rationalize the services they offered. Besides the mutual facet, which was enhanced with several medical services (surgery, gynaecology, medical laboratories, maternal clinic, etc), the Working Women’s Institute created a hospice, a nursing school, a library, an employment agency, and so on for the affiliated women. Although originally founded in Barcelona, it spread throughout several cities in Catalonia and in the Balearic Islands during the 1920s. Despite its longer trajectory, we limit our research until 1936 when the Spanish civil war starts. (Show less)

Alfons Zarzoso : Regimes of Self-help: Female Mutual Aid Societies in Late 19th- and Early 20th-century Barcelona
Since the 1770s the city of Barcelona experienced a social and economic transformation strongly based in the growing process of industrialization. In just over a century and a half, the population increased tenfold, reaching a million inhabitants in the 1930s. Popular classes had to face the challenge of urban industrial ... (Show more)
Since the 1770s the city of Barcelona experienced a social and economic transformation strongly based in the growing process of industrialization. In just over a century and a half, the population increased tenfold, reaching a million inhabitants in the 1930s. Popular classes had to face the challenge of urban industrial life, which was parallel to the policy of social inaction that characterized the Spanish liberal state. This search for protection against the threat of sickness led to the development of different forms of self-help. Despite suffering the ups and downs of political repression or permissiveness, friendly societies were a consistent and extensive response throughout this period. Most of those associations were male, run by men. However, female mutualism had also a significant presence in Barcelona. This issue has received scant historical attention. Through different resources such as association bylaws, minutes of fees and subsidies, housing geography, employment status, marital status and age of associates, and medical reports, this paper tries both to overview female participation in the organization and management of these societies and to evaluate the extent of compatibility between those female societies and the male dominance as breadwinner. As a last objective, this paper reflects on that experience understood in terms of a regime of self-help, a way of living that allowed urban women to develop networks of sociability and survival strategies and fight against the misfortune of sickness. (Show less)



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