Between Taylorism and Dénatalité: Women Welfare Supervisors and the Boundaries of Difference in French Metalworking Factories, 1917-1930

TitleBetween Taylorism and Dénatalité: Women Welfare Supervisors and the Boundaries of Difference in French Metalworking Factories, 1917-1930
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsDowns, Laura Lee
EditorHelly, Dorothy O., and Susan M. Reverby
Book TitleGendered Domains: Rethinking Public and Private in Women’s History
Pagination289-302
PublisherCornell University Press
CityIthaca, NY
Abstract

Studying women’s labor history often means looking for women in places they are not meant to be, for instance, on the metalworking shop floor. The middle-class “lady welfare superintendent” (surintendante d’usine) was an especially unlikely traveler in the notionally all-male and distinctly proletarian world of the metals factory. Yet her presence in this world was no accident. Employers brought the surintendante into their factories during World War I for the sole purpose of attending to the health and welfare of the new female work force. In this chapter, the author argues that the use of these surintendantes by management was, in actuality, a part of their efforts to control working-class family life.

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24911054

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