Rugby working women: Choices and experiences, 1920-1950

Description

This thesis is a study of working women in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire. It aims to 'tracks' the experiences of young female embarking on their first job and their subsequent lives via the oral testimony of Rugby inhabitants. Oral evidence has been used, which has provided a unique resource. Over one hundred interviews were conducted with Rugby women which discussed their background, childhood and school days, starting work, employment experiences, finding a husband and their lives after marriage. The oral testimony is used to create a 'cameo' of national experience during the period and poses questions as to how young Rugby girls were affected by national events. First, the thesis concentrates on the question of 'choice' for girls upon leaving school compared with the opportunities offered in the town, and how a number of factors influenced their decisions when seeking employment for the first time for example, parental influence, financial considerations and the prospects for future education and training. Secondly, the future lives of the young girls are explored by focusing on the ramifications of their 'choices' and how important it was for girls to have made the 'correct' decision. For example, different employers are discussed in relation to promotion and the training of a skill, the earning possibilities when comparing factory and clerical work and the possibilities of finding a suitable marriage partner. Lastly, the female 'powerbase' is discussed in relation to the home and workplace. The thesis suggests that married women found themselves in an ambiguous position of having moral authority and power in the home, whilst being unable to match this in the workplace.

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Citation

Robinson-Pyne, Elizabeth Mary, “Rugby working women: Choices and experiences, 1920-1950,” Centre for English Local History Theses and Papers, accessed July 13, 2020, https://elhleics.omeka.net/items/show/39.