By Vivien Hart
What distinction does a written structure make to public coverage? How have girls employees fared in a kingdom certain by means of constitutional rules, in comparison with these no longer lined via formal, written promises of reasonable approach or equitable consequence? 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 criminal concepts and coverage judgements that revolved round the reputation of girls as employees and the general public definition of gender roles. Contrasting seismic shifts and enlargement in American minimal salary coverage with indifference and eventual abolition in Britain, she demanding situations preconceptions concerning the constraints of yankee constitutionalism as opposed to British flexibility. even though constitutional necessities did block and frustrate women's makes an attempt to achieve 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 could be of curiosity to coverage, exertions, women's, and felony historians, to political scientists, and to scholars of gender concerns, legislation, and social coverage.
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Additional info for Bound by Our Constitution: Women, Workers, and the Minimum Wage
Her biographer recalled: “She worked for women, but her vision was not bounded by them any more than it was bounded by industry. ”97 When she campaigned for the abolition of sex discrimination, it was in tandem with the abolition of class distinctions. Thus, for example, her position on suffrage: “If, in the later stages of the Women’s Suffrage agitation she seemed to undervalue the vote, it was because the working women who most needed its protection were left out in the cold under the Limited Bill, as were large numbers of working men.
The WTUL women who initiated the campaign had a different agenda. They blamed economic structures, explained dirt and disease as the consequence of life on starvation wages, applied the analysis to home and factory, and promulgated a solution that would provide sweated workers with the wherewithal to live without imposing rules on how to live. The views of Mary Macarthur suggest that a different class, generation, and the rise of collectivist-socialist ideas represented a new stage in the deﬁnition of women’s politics.
But, though neither the WTUL’s Wages Board Bill nor the WIC’s Home Work Regulation Bill became law, the years had not been wasted. Women had brought the policy into serious contention, and in the process brought deﬁnitions of both gender and class identities to a new complexity, more appropriate to women’s lives in industrial Britain. • N O S W E A T • 29 WOMEN’S VOICES The dispute over whether home workers (virtually a gendered category), or sweated labor (a class category), should beneﬁt was the crux of the division between women in the ﬁrst years of the minimum wage campaign.