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Women's pay in British industry during the Second World War
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 06:26 authored by Ian Gazeley
This article reviews the evidence pertaining to changes in Womens relative pay during the War and presents new evidence relating to important wartime manufacturing industries. It is argued that gender pay inequality declined sharply where women were employed in industries that had been previously dominated by men. Generally, this did not occur in industries that had traditionally been important areas of female employment during the first decades of the Twentieth century. This is consistent with a combination of excess demand effects and institutional factors, both of which were strongest in wartime munitions industries. Because of the importance of these industries to the war economy, the behaviour of inequality in munitions dominates the behaviour of inequality across all industries. Nearly all existing scholarship acknowledges the impact the Second World War had on reducing the employment segregation of women, but simultaneously views the War as an unimportant episode in the history of gender pay inequality. This article shows how the transition from `female to `male work also led to a significant improvement in womens relative pay.
JournalEconomic History Review
Department affiliated with
- History Publications
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