UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Vernacular Discourses Of Gender Equality In The Post-War British Working Class

Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, Florence; Thomlinson, Natalie; (2022) Vernacular Discourses Of Gender Equality In The Post-War British Working Class. Past & Present , 254 (1) pp. 277-313. 10.1093/pastj/gtab012. Green open access

[thumbnail of Sutcliffe-Braithwaite_gtab012.pdf]
Preview
Text
Sutcliffe-Braithwaite_gtab012.pdf

Download (337kB) | Preview

Abstract

Why did women’s roles change so dramatically in the West in the period after 1945? These years saw major changes in those roles, and in dominant understandings of female selfhood, from a model based on self-abnegation to one based on self-fulfilment. The roots of this shift have often been located in the post-1968 feminist movement and in economic change. Examining this question through the lens of Great Britain, this article, however, centres working-class women as drivers of these changes, drawing on oral history interviews with over 100 women from coalfield communities. In the decades after 1950, these women constructed a new vernacular discourse of gender equality which had profound implications for the position of women in society. This vernacular discourse shared some similarities with post-1968 feminism, but rather than focusing on the division of domestic and paid labour, or sexual violence, it emphasized women’s autonomy, individuality and voice. In constructing it, working-class women drew on pervasive post-war ideas about equality and democracy, discourses of individualism and individual fulfilment, and discourses of ‘companionate’ marriage and ‘child-centred’ parenting in order to make claims for women’s rights. Through doing so, they constructed women not only as wives and mothers, but also as free and equal individuals.

Type: Article
Title: Vernacular Discourses Of Gender Equality In The Post-War British Working Class
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtab012
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtab012
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Past and Present Society, Oxford, 2021. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10142862
Downloads since deposit
16Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item