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Labouring Lives

Women, work and the demographic transition in the Netherlands, 1880–1960


Angélique Janssens

Labouring Lives unravels the huge changes which have so fundamentally altered the life courses of ordinary women over the past one hundred and fifty years, namely the changes in marriage and fertility patterns. Using dynamic data from Dutch population registers and analytical techniques from the life course approach, the book offers new evidence on women’s changing position in the labour market, their role in pre-nuptial sexuality, and their contribution to marriage and fertility change in the Netherlands between 1880 and 1960. The author reconstructs the socio-economic and demographic worlds of different groups of working and non-working women, and by doing so she is able to locate the various groups driving the changes. Advanced statistical tools enable the author to analyse differences in fertility strategies, stopping versus spacing, employed by various social and cultural groups in the Netherlands. This book leads to conclusions which challenge a number of orthodoxies in the field.
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List of Tables


Table 2.1:  Population size and marital fertility in four cities, births 1908–1911 and 1959–1961

Table 2.2:  Male and female workforce in the four cities, 1899 and 1930

Table 2.3:  Female labour force participation rates in four cities, 1899 and 1930

Table 2.4:  Number of individual life courses used in this study

Table 3.1:  Percentage of women without a registered occupation by town and birth cohort

Table 3.2:  Percentage of women with two occupational entries who remained in the same occupation, by birth cohort

Table 4.1:  Mean age at first marriage of women, by social class of the bride’s father, by birth cohort and town

Table 4.2:  Mean age at first marriage by female occupational group, by birth cohort and town

Table 4.3:  The percentage of premarital conceptions as a proportion of all first births, by father’s social group and two birth cohorts of women

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