Epilogue: Economic Change and Women’s Status in the Past
Labouring women’s attempts to ‘make shift’ lend themselves to ambiguous statements. ‘Women’s work’ in the past was defined as far as contemporaries were concerned, but it is far more difficult for historians to specify because we cannot fully enter into the exigencies of a developing economy where ‘islands’ of opportunity were surrounded by a sea of impoverishment.2 Uneven development meant uneven chances to ‘make shift’. Furthermore, the conventional methods that historians use are compromised by the attempt to explain the anomalies presented by the history of women’s employment.
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