The Lasting Invisibilization of Women's Domestic, Home-based, and Salaried Work: ‘Working’ and ‘Non-working’ Women in the French Censuses (1861-1896)
Hirsch, Agnès (2022), The Lasting Invisibilization of Women's Domestic, Home-based, and Salaried Work: ‘Working’ and ‘Non-working’ Women in the French Censuses (1861-1896), 13th Conference of Young Demographers, 2022-02, Prague, République tchèque
TypeCommunication / Conférence
Conference title13th Conference of Young Demographers
Conference countryRépublique tchèque
MetadataShow full item record
Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Sciences Sociales [IRISSO]
Abstract (EN)Changes in census methods, in the objectives assigned to labor statistics, and in the economic structure all have an impact on statistical categories. These categories are evolving, but they still tend to perpetuate forms of invisibilization of women's domestic, home-based, and salaried work. By following the evolution of the division of the population into a working and a non-working class (respectively “population active” and “population inactive”) drawn from the French censuses from 1861 to 1896, the aim of this communication is to show how, despite changes in the objectives and criteria of classification, this construction has contributed and still contributes to the invisibilization of work performed by women in France. Two partitions of the population, reflecting two different conceptions of activity, clashed at the end of the 19th century. The first, introduced at the beginning of the 1860s, makes the home-based and salaried work of married women invisible by systematically considering the wife and the children as dependent on the income earned “directly” by the husband when they were not engaged in an occupation distinct from that of the latter. The second, which was introduced in the 1896 census, improves in some ways the measurement of women's home-based and salaried work but restricts it to the market sphere, perpetuating the invisibilization of women's domestic and unpaid work. This new partition was conditional on the delimitation of what constituted a professional activity, particularly regarding work performed within the family unit.
Subjects / Keywordstravail invisible; travail domestique; France; femmes
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