By Vivien Hart
What distinction does a written structure make to public coverage? How have girls staff fared in a kingdom sure through constitutional ideas, in comparison with these no longer lined via formal, written promises of reasonable process or equitable final result? to enquire those questions, Vivien Hart strains the evolution of minimal salary rules within the usa and Britain from their universal origins in women's politics round 1900 to their divergent results in our day. She argues, opposite to universal knowledge, that the virtue has been with the yank constitutional method instead of the British. Basing her research on fundamental study, Hart reconstructs felony techniques and coverage judgements that revolved round the acceptance of girls as staff and the general public definition of gender roles. Contrasting seismic shifts and growth in American minimal salary coverage with indifference and eventual abolition in Britain, she demanding situations preconceptions concerning the constraints of yank constitutionalism as opposed to British flexibility. notwithstanding constitutional requisites did block and frustrate women's makes an attempt to realize reasonable wages, in addition they, as Hart demonstrates, created a terrain within the usa for principled debate approximately ladies, paintings, and the state--and a momentum for public policy--unparalleled in Britain. Hart's booklet will be of curiosity to coverage, exertions, women's, and criminal historians, to political scientists, and to scholars of gender matters, legislations, and social coverage.
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Extra resources for Bound by Our Constitution: Women, Workers, and the Minimum Wage
James A. ”25 Few had a separate work room. 26 There was a clear gender difference in the incidence of home work, according to Jenny Morris’s analysis of census data. 27 The typical sweated worker, then, was a woman who, married or single, supported other family members—aged parents, disabled husband, children. Whatever her product, the actual task performed was mindless, repetitive, and often damaging to her health, and the ﬁnished product rarely an object of pride. For this work, she earned seven to ten shillings for upward of sixty hours’ work each week—about one-third of average manufacturing wages, earned over longer-than-average hours, and sandwiched in with domestic duties.
Britain had long accepted different treatment for women. The Mines Act of 1842, banning women from underground work, allowed the contingency of gender to override the market mechanism. The 1844 Factory Act set a twelvehour day for women. By the end of the century some legislation on dangerous trades and sanitary conditions applied directly to men. 37 Opposition to equality between the sexes had sharpened during the 1870s, following demands from some women that sex discrimination in factory laws cease.
The reasoning of conservative forces fearful of minimum wage legislation was spelled out in 1909 in the Quarterly Review. ” A minimum wage was uncalled for: “Natural economic causes are eliminating gradually the less favourable occupations. ”43 Sidney and Beatrice Webb’s plan for a National Minimum also relied on the market, in which competition ideally stimulated new heights of efﬁciency, new technology, and cheaper products. But they identiﬁed sweated trades as a pathological form of competition, deserving of public intervention.
Bound by Our Constitution: Women, Workers, and the Minimum Wage by Vivien Hart