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Gendering the Fertility Decline in the Western World


Angélique Janssens

The first demographic transition changed the face of the western world as thoroughly as did the Industrial Revolution. As couples began to have fewer children, women were released from the heavy burden of endless pregnancies and extended periods of child care. Even though this profound process of change has been extensively researched, women were rarely pictured as decision-makers concerning fertility and family. Moreover, men and women were mostly not perceived as having potentially differing interests in sexuality and child-bearing. This volume contains papers delivered at the conference Were Women Present at the Demographic Transition? which was held at the Radboud University Nijmegen, 20-21 May 2005. The contributions throw light on the active role women played in the fertility decline as well as on the complex process of decision-making between husbands and wives.
Contents: Angélique Janssens: Gendering the Fertility Decline in the Western World – Pau Baizán/Enriqueta Camps: The Impact of Women’s Educational and Economic Resources on Fertility. Spanish Birth Cohorts 1901-1950 – Ida Blom: ‘Master of Your Own Body and What Is In It’ - Reducing Marital Fertility in Norway, 1890-1930 – Fernando Gil Alonso: Women Who Controlled Their Fertility and Women Who Did Not - An Analysis of Women’s Fertility Behaviour in Late 19th and Early 20th Century Spain – Jane Humphries: ‘Because They Are too Menny…’ Children, Mothers and Fertility Decline - The Evidence from Working-class Autobiographies of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries – Angélique Janssens: Education and Female Work Cultures in the Dutch Fertility Decline, 1880-1960 – Sofia Kling: ‘I Think I’d Rather Die than Go through with a Pregnancy Again’. Experiences of Childbearing and Birth Control in Sweden in the 1930s – Alison Mackinnon/Caz Batson/Julie Petersen-Gray: ‘…But I’m so Embarrassed, I Said, if It’s Another Baby!’ Schooling, Girls and Declining Fertility in Urban South Australia in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century – Rita Müller/Sylvia Schraut: Women’s Influence on Fertility and Mortality during Industrialisation, Stuttgart, 1830-1910 – Anne-Françoise Praz: Gender and Religion Shaping the Pace of the Fertility Decline. A Comparative Analysis of two Swiss Cantons (1860-1930) – Jutta Schwarzkopf: Bringing Babies into Line with Mothers’ Jobs: Lancashire Cotton Weavers’ Fertility Regime – Eric Vanhaute/Christa Matthys: A ‘Silent Class’ and a ‘Quiet Revolution’. Female Domestics and Fertility Decline in Flanders.