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Women and Trade Unions in France

The Tobacco and Hat Industries, 1890–1914

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Sandra Salin

Based on the thorough examination of French archival sources, this book examines in detail two industries in which women formed the majority of the workforce in France between 1890 and 1914. The choice of the tobacco and hat industries is particularly relevant in the sense that the tobacco industry, unlike the hat industry, was a state monopoly in which women were in the majority and held meaningful responsibilities in unions at a time when women were generally in the minority and under-represented in the labour movement.
The main aim of this comparison is to assess and qualify differences between both industries in terms of workforce and work organisation, trade unions’ attitudes to women and women’s membership and participation in order to get a better understanding of the factors that could have had an impact on female workers’ attitude towards trade unions.
By making women’s presence more visible, therefore more apprehensible, this book contributes to a better understanding of the way in which women perceived themselves, and were perceived, as workers, women, union members and militants in French trade union history prior to 1914.
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Trade Unions Past, Present and Future

EDITED BY CRAIG PHELAN

This series publishes monographs and edited collections on the history, present condition and possible future role of organised labour around the world. Multidisciplinary in approach, geographically and chronologically diverse, this series is dedicated to the study of trade unionism and the undeniably significant role it has played in modern society. Topics include the historical development of organised labour in a variety of national and regional settings; the political, economic and legal contexts in which trade unionism functions; trade union internationalism past and present; comparative and cross-border studies; trade unions’ role in promoting economic equality and social justice; and trade union revitalisation and future prospects. The aims of the series are to promote an appreciation of the diversity of trade union experience worldwide and to provide an international forum for lively debate on all aspects of the subject.

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