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The Rise of Professional Women in France
Gender and Public Administration since 1830


  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521027885

£ 30.99

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About the Authors
  • This history of professional women in positions of administrative responsibility illuminates women's changing relationship to the public sphere in France since the Revolution of 1789. Linda L. Clark traces several generations of French women in public administration, examining public policy and politics, attitudes towards gender, and women's work and education. Women's own perceptions and assessments of their positions illustrate changes in gender roles and women's relationship to the state. With seniority-based promotion, maternity leaves and the absence of the marriage bar, the situation of French women administrators invites comparison with their counterparts in other countries. Why has the profile of women's employment in France differed from that in the USA and the UK? This study gives unique insights into French social, political and cultural history, and the history of women during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It will interest scholars of European history and also specialists in women's studies.

    • A detailed study of French professional women entering previously all-male occupations
    • History of pioneering groups of professional women in administration combines public policy and politics, attitudes towards gender, and women's work and education
    • Illuminates women's changing relationship to the public sphere in France during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'There is a wealth of detail about pay, conditions and work … This valuable empirical study has a complicated story to tell, and suggestive points to make.' Sian Reynolds, French History

    'This book constitutes a definitive study to which postgraduates and researchers, particularly in social and administrative history, but also with a wider interest in the development of modern France, will gratefully turn.' Modern and Contemporary France

    'Uncovering in fascinating detail this largely unexplored subject … The Rise of Professional Women in France is a cogently presented, original, and very well-researched contribution to the history of women … it adds to and refines our understanding of the ambiguous situation of women at work, and challenges any simplistic analyses of relations between the sexes and women's fight for citizenship in France.' The Historical Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521027885
    • length: 340 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 151 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.502kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    List of abbreviations
    Part I. Defining a Feminine Sphere of Action, 1830–1914:
    1. Public roles for maternal authority: the introduction of inspectresses, 1830–70
    2. Educating a new democracy: school inspectresses and the Third Republic
    3. Addressing crime, poverty, and depopulation: the Interior ministry inspectresses
    4. Protecting women workers: the Labor administration
    Part II. Steps toward Equality: Women's Administrative Careers since the First World War: Introduction: the First World War: a '1789' for women?
    5. New opportunities for women in central government offices, 1919–29
    6. The challenges of the 1930s for women civil servants
    7. Gendered assignments in the interwar Labor, Health, and Education ministries
    8. Firings and hirings, collaboration and resistance: women civil servants and the Second World War
    9. After the pioneers: women administrators since 1945
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    Linda L. Clark, Millersville University, Pennsylvania

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