No longer curiously rare but only just within bounds: women in Scottish history

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No longer curiously rare but only just within bounds: women in Scottish history
The first conference of the International Federation for Research in Women’s History (IFRWH, 1989) resulted in the publication of Writing Women’s History: International Perspectives. 1 In that collection, there was no separate chapter on Scottish women’s history, but instead in the then aptly titled chapter ‘uneven developments: women’s history, feminist history and gender history in Great Britain’, Jane Rendall recorded the acknowledgement of a distinguished male historian of Scottish social history, that the neglect of women’s history in Scotland was ‘a historiographical disgrace’. As Rendall acknowledged, that was ‘just beginning to be remedied’. 2 Indeed, Rendall herself has played no small part in the development of Scottish women’s history, not least through her contributions to two projects for Women’s History Scotland (WHS), a Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women and a collection of essays on Gender in Scottish History: 1700-Present. 3 Together, these works are both a reflection of how far women’s and gender history have penetrated higher education in Scotland and also of how much is still to be done. The aim in the latter work in particular and also in this paper is to highlight where women’s experiences should be integrated into the dominant narrative, and the underlying argument is that gender is as fundamental a category of analysis as social class, religion and ethnicity.

From around 1990, Scottish women’s history began to develop through themed collections on women’s history, edited by Eleanor Gordon (Glasgow University) and Esther Breitenbach (Edinburgh University), co-founders in 1993 of the Scottish Women’s History Network (precursor to WHS), and also individual chapters in general works on Scottish history. 4 Yet as late as 1991, the collection Why Scottish History Matters failed to consider why it mattered to Scottish women, or indeed why women should matter to Scottish history. 5 Two years later, speakers at a conference considering the future of Scottish historical studies acknowledged that women were still not central to the discussion. 6 Given the centrality of education to the shaping of national identity, it was fitting that the first conference (held at Glasgow University in 1994) of the Scottish Women’s History Network was on the theme of women and education in nineteenth-century Scotland. The work published on Scottish women over the previous few years had revealed that they had been excluded from history largely by the nature of the debate on Scottish national identity which has been conceived as a masculine construct. 7 In both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries there was much soul-searching over threats to, and loss of national identity, notably under pressure of perceived Anglicisation, reflected in works on the ‘democratic intellect’ in the national educational tradition. 8 Such works have been challenged for overlooking the absence of women from this tradition, which had been framed around men. 9 The parish schoolmaster, the dominie, was seen as dedicating his life to the school, as if book-learning and book-loving was a masculine trait. In practice, Victorian dominies often depended on their wives to run the school, and increasingly from the 1860s, on their daughters rather than their sons to follow them into the profession. Nevertheless, the construction of a masculinity based on the dominie - that dogged, disciplined father figure who presided over packed classrooms in co-educational schools - contributed enormously to the shaping of national identity.

Thus, while education is seen as integral to Scottish distinctiveness, until recently the educational tradition was gender-blind. In 1990, the collection of essays Girls in their Prime included a mixture of historical and contemporary studies which challenged the comfortable stereotypes of the lad of parts (talented boy) and the dominie. The contributors saw the Victorian ideal of domesticity as gendering education in Scotland and argued that the Scottish tradition of co-education (more accurately, mixed sex schooling) discriminated against women. 10 The situation, however, was more complex than this suggested, as parents and some teachers after the 1872 Education Act resisted the growing emphasis on the teaching of domestic subjects because of a belief that intellectual discipline was the best means of developing an intelligent, moral and cultured individual.11 It has also been shown that working-class women were not simply passive recipients of institutional ideologies of domesticity and femininity, and that such a gender specific curriculum was regarded by educational authorities as a distraction from book-learning. 12 Nevertheless, upper and middle-class women, including feminists, criticised the educational establishment for its opposition to domestic training and ensured that it was central to the female curriculum wherever working-class girls were schooled, including Industrial Schools and Ragged Schools established as reformatories, or to provide for potential vagrants. Indeed, in such punitive institutions, girls were specifically prepared for domestic service. 13

Alongside the gendered division of labour in the teaching profession, there was a geographical division. In the Highlands and Islands, generalised poverty meant that few lads and, at least until the early twentieth century fewer lassies, took the low road to the universities. The Highlands were considered to be less civilised than the Lowlands, even when tamed and incorporated into the British state. Even before the union of Scotland with England and Wales in 1707, Scottish soldiers were grossly over-represented in the armed forces; but it was during the surge of imperialism in the later Victorian period that the heroic martial figure came to prominence as the dominie faded, except perhaps as an ideal. In contrast, or perhaps as a complement, to the domestic manliness of the book-loving Lowland dominie was the image of the Highland soldier as the warrior of the British Empire: courageous, loyal, steady under fire and adaptable. 14 This warrior manliness reflects only one aspect of the attractions of the British Empire for Scottish men for while the soldier was perhaps the most evocative of imperial images, professional men were central to the Scottish imperial enterprise, at home and in the colonies. Not surprisingly, Scottish imperialism has been conceived as above all a masculine enterprise, with women in background, supportive roles. Yet women were not entirely absent from the imperial story: in particular, they played a significant role as missionaries, both at home and in the colonies. 15

Besides the educational and martial traditions, a major focus of Scottish history has been labour history, which, in an economy that favoured the male-dominated sector of heavy industry, helps explain the neglect of women's history at least until the 1980s. In that decade, studies of urban employment which were not specifically devoted to women’s history revealed how the varied economic structures in the nineteenth century influenced patterns of female labour. Thus while the biggest employer of women in Dundee was textiles, with almost 80 per cent of women workers in that industry and only eight per cent in domestic service, in Edinburgh the majority (42.43 per cent) of women workers was in domestic service, which also accounted for around a fifth of women workers in Glasgow and a quarter of those in Aberdeen. What distinguished female industries in Glasgow, the biggest city in Scotland, was not only the generally low level of skills and lack of training, but also that the participation rate of women, especially married women, was lower and grew more slowly than elsewhere in the country. Indeed, some areas of women’s employment, notably domestic service, textiles and clothing, contracted in Glasgow in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 16 In contrast, the percentage of female employment in Dundee was exceptionally high, while Aberdeen, with the lowest percentage of the four cities, had a more diverse and balanced pattern, with nearly 50 per cent in the service sector, and 40 per cent in manufacturing. 17 Since then there has been a widening of job and educational opportunities for women; nevertheless, women’s work throughout the twentieth century remained low status and lowly paid. 18

Much work still has to be done on women and the professions in Scotland, though it has been shown that the progress made by middle-class women in the late nineteenth century in terms of educational and professional opportunities was, to a considerable degree, gained at the expense of working-class girls who were exhorted, by their social superiors, to accept their domestic destiny. More generally, the latter often advocated intervention in areas of social and sexual control which opened up new professional as well as philanthropic activities to women. 19 Whereas studies of lower class girls deemed to be ‘in moral danger’ tend to focus on the city, and Glasgow in particular, research on illegitimacy in the nineteenth century revealed that there were higher rates in rural areas, particularly in the south-west and north-east of Scotland, confirming the importance of the local context. 20

One result of women entering a profession in considerable numbers has been the feminisation of that profession, reflected again in teaching. In particular, the 1872 Education Act resulted in a huge demand for teachers, opening up a respectable means of becoming self-supporting in a key male profession for the daughters of skilled workers and the lower middle-class. The result was that by 1911, 70 per cent of teachers were female, and within two years a woman (Elizabeth Fish 1860-1944) was elected president of the Educational Institute of Scotland (established in 1847 to defend the dominie, women were only admitted in the wake of the 1872 Education Act). Still, only a minority of female teachers could achieve a university education, and since this was a means of ensuring teaching retained its professional status in keeping with the educational tradition, the schoolmaster monopolised headships and commanded better pay. 21 Moreover, Scottish schoolmistresses have been unfavourably compared to their more feminist English counterparts for appearing to accept a subordinate place in a masculine profession, and thus being complicit in patriarchy. 22 That argument overlooks the relative lack of professional careers open to women in Scotland compared to England, and underestimates the ways in which women manoeuvred within a patriarchal system. As the state school system expanded, women made career gains and gradually, if grudgingly, were recognised as junior partners in preserving the educational tradition, so central to national identity. 23 Thus, gender inequalities co-existed with a shared sense of national identity between the sexes.

Hence on the one hand, the history of the teaching profession reflects the patriarchal nature of Scottish society, but on the other, it reveals a much more complex situation than simply concluding that Scotland was peculiarly patriarchal, in thrall to John Knox’s infamous remarks about the ‘monstrous regiment’ of women. Knox, it has been pointed out, did not aim his ‘first blast of the trumpet’ against women in general, but insisted on the spiritual equality between women and men, and that education for all - regardless of gender as well as social class - was essential. As Eleanor Gordon and Gwyneth Nair have observed, Presbyterianism imbued values of independence, moral responsibility and the dignity of work. 24

It was much more difficult for women to penetrate the more lucrative professions such as medicine. The male profession even sought to exclude women from midwifery by blocking their examination for the Midwifery Licence of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh in the 1870s. 25 The First World War gave women great opportunities to practise medicine denied them in peacetime, notably through the Scottish Women’s Hospitals [SWH] which was founded, supported and run by feminists. 26 Yet even the success of the SWH did not lead to easier acceptance of women in the profession.

Outside of the professions, however, it has been argued that women's and children’s labour was significant, if not crucial for Scotland’s early economic transformation. 27 There has also been significant revision which has confronted certain assumptions, notably concerning the concept of ‘skill’ as above all a masculine construct, with women at best semi-skilled and then only at the expense of dilution of male skills. 28 In addition, Eleanor Gordon's seminal work, Women and the Labour Movement in Scotland, challenged earlier labour historians who equated lack of formal trade union organisation among women with passivity, and highlighted the importance of female labour in a particular region, upsetting broad generalisations by demonstrating the need to consider locality and industry, and not just the labour market as a whole. 29 Whereas such studies confirmed a gender segregated work force, they also questioned the assumption that paid employment was necessarily a negative experience for women, showing that they often took pride in and got pleasure from waged work. Certainly, women’s work was inferior to men’s in terms of status and pay, and men were seen as the (main) breadwinners, but it was accepted that women’s wages were often crucial to family survival, while women workers themselves often viewed any work that was specific to them (such as domestic service) to have its own skills. 30

Women also remained important in the agricultural labour force. Often working on farms was a family affair, with daughters being taken on because of the father, and female wages a proportion of men’s. 31 The growing practice of employing low-paid seasonal workers on farms, common throughout the UK into the twentieth century, ensured that women’s (and children’s) wages in the countryside were especially low. However, improved education and job opportunities outside of farming led to the migration of female farm labourers to the towns in the later nineteenth century. Moreover, the mechanisation of harvesting as well as changes in women’s employment patterns, notably from the 1960s with married women increasingly entering full-time jobs, led them to withdraw from casual agricultural work. 32

The regional nature of Scotland’s economy meant that there were exceptions, and not only in industrial areas. Thus, in a case study of Shetland Lynn Abrams argues that it is unique in Western Europe, and not only within the British Isles, as a place where women dominated the economy and the cultural imagination as well as the family. 33 Drawing on the rich female tradition of story-telling in Shetland, Abrams makes us re-consider the usual assumptions on which much women’s history is based, notably separate spheres for the sexes and the dominance of the ideology of domesticity well into the twentieth century. In addition, she argues that we should expand our concept of power to include control over resources, which women in Shetland possessed. This study of Shetland is a challenge to histories of women since the late eighteenth century which tend to focus on industrialized economies. In addition, it reveals considerable differences even within peasant, fishing and island communities.

In none of these communities did women hold political power, however. Like educational and labour history, Scottish political history has been male-dominated, but again that has been challenged since the mid 1990s, as has the definition of ‘political’ to give a fuller and fairer assessment of women’s role, rather than remain within the narrow orbit of parliamentary politics. 34 Indeed, the associational culture which had developed towards the end of the eighteenth century offered new means of access into public life. This was especially important in Scotland because of the enhanced role of civil society since the union of 1707 and the location of the British government in London. Indeed, by the middle of the nineteenth century, engagement with the public sphere was increasingly expected of women, especially middle-class women who made significant contributions to the moulding of civic identity. After these women received the vote in 1918, Women’s Citizens’ Associations showed both the breadth of women’s extra-parliamentary activity and the centrality of municipal feminism, which remained important even as women were drawn into party politics in larger numbers after the Second World War. 35

Again, education provides an example of such public work. When School Boards were set up in Scotland with the 1872 Education Act, women were eligible to vote and to stand for election. The number of women who served on these boards was not large, and generally they stood for election on a platform which focused on the domestic education of girls and insisted on the need for ladies to oversee it. Nevertheless, like most of the women who were involved in local government in Scotland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, female school-board members used their positions to advance causes espoused by the women’s movement. As Eleanor Gordon has pointed out, whereas their un-salaried work did not challenge the notion of separate spheres for the sexes ‘let alone the contemporary notion of women’s essentially moral nature’, it provided them with ‘the opportunity to carve out a public space, and to push back the boundaries of their lives’ as well as ‘a training in organisational and administrative skills’. 36 Lindy Moore counters that school board women were exceptional: however significant they might have been as role models they give ‘a misleading impression of the presence and influence of women in Scottish local educational governance in general’, not least because ‘they were perceived and grouped in terms of gender and allocated responsibilities accordingly’. 37 Certainly, men dominated the education system, but school-board women saw themselves as their partners, not their handmaidens, and women’s work through the committee structure enabled them to help shape policy. 38

Moreover, women’s work on school boards was complemented not only by philanthropy but also by other public offices, for example on parish and town councils, as well as in the labour movement, by involvement in church committees and feminist campaigns, notably for suffrage and higher education for women. Thus, however numerically insignificant, the example of female members of school boards helped secure women, especially but not exclusively from the middle class, a respected and valued place in public life. As articulated by the prominent feminist, Louisa Stevenson (1835-1908), the significance of these women’s contribution lay in the ‘recognition of individual responsibility with regard to the interests of our country generally and more particularly of the town or district in which we live’. 39

However, in terms of the movement for female suffrage in Britain, Scottish women were largely absent from a mainly English, and especially Pankhurst-dominated story, until the pioneering work of Elspeth King on the west of Scotland suffrage movement. 40 Leah Leneman’s later national study confirmed that it differed in significant respects from the English movement, in the independence of the Scottish WSPU from London, the left-wing politics of many of the leading Scottish suffragists, the successful cooperation of all the suffrage organisations in Scotland, and the part played by male supporters. 41 Jim Smyth’s case study of Glasgow placed the suffrage campaign in the wider political context. 42

In another study of Glasgow, this time of a middle-class area of the Victorian city, Eleanor Gordon and Gwyneth Nair engaged with the historiography of ‘separate spheres’ so influenced by the 1987 work of Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall, Family Fortunes, which focused on Birmingham. Gordon and Nair convincingly demonstrate that the powerful discourse of separate spheres ‘is not sufficient to explain how middle-class women’s experience was shaped and their identities structured’. 43 Elsewhere, Eleanor Gordon has pointed out that separate spheres, like the ideology of domesticity, can have multiple and diverse meanings; moreover, ‘in practice the ideology of patriarchy co-existed with a blurring of gender boundaries of authority and function’. 44 That husbands and fathers had duties as well as rights is an under-researched area. Indeed, pointing to the high incidence of female-headed households and of spinsterhood in Victorian Scotland, Gordon and Nair make a persuasive case for a more nuanced approach to the category ‘family’ and challenge the view that middle-class men were in retreat from domesticity in the late Victorian period. 45 Still, outside of philanthropy, men continued to dominate civic life, in Glasgow as in all Victorian cities, despite the acceleration of female engagement in the public sphere.

This focus on heroic male figures in the educational, military, political and labour histories of Scotland is reflected in the history of Scottish literature. 46 However, in 1997 A History of Scottish Women's Writing challenged the ‘male generated and male fixated’ Scottish tradition in literature in general, and the poet Hugh MacDiarmid’s particular dismissal of Scottish women’s writing. 47 Many contributors to this collection link the inferior status of women in Scottish society to the Reformation and Calvinism, but it has been shown that Presbyterian women also manoeuvred within the patriarchal church to establish an influential, if still subordinate, place for themselves. 48 Indeed, it can be argued that parallel to the feminisation of the teaching profession, there was a feminisation of Presbyterianism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which saw women increasingly engaged with social and public issues such as temperance, education and suffrage. 49 Even the male officials of the Orange Order in Scotland recognised that there was a role for women when they agreed to the establishment of the first women's lodges in 1909; by 1934 there were 191 female lodges with the women soon proving to be ‘expert organisers, indefatigable workers for charity, in particular local hospitals’ and confirmed conservatives in their politics. 50 The Catholic Church in Scotland, another deeply patriarchal institution, also saw women as playing a key role in preserving their minority community and culture within a hostile environment. 51 That role was primarily domestic, though crucially it involved teaching, in which the trainees were told that they stood ‘between the priest and the parent and like them derive authority from Almighty God’. 52 This was another case of manipulating patriarchy (and being manipulated by it) which forces us to confront the rather patronising assumption of female passivity in Scottish history, and confirms the need to widen our concept of ‘political’.

As Esther Breitenbach has pointed out, however, the struggle to escape marginalisation is on three fronts: not only within Scottish history and within the debates on nationalism, but also within British feminist history. 53 That is a considerable task, but one which is being undertaken with energy and determination. It has been spearheaded by the Scottish Women’s History Network which in 2004 re-launched itself as Women’s History Scotland ‘with the aim of publicising more effectively the work we are doing and engaging many more historians of women and gender in Scotland’. 54 This reflected the fact that the Network had never intended to be exclusively an organisation for historians of Scottish women’s and gender history, and that there was much to be learned from a comparative perspective. 55 In addition, as women’s history has developed in Scotland, more male historians have acknowledged the extent to which women are missing from histories of Scotland. Some have perhaps overcompensated for their absence by emphasising the extent of oppression they experienced, for example by portraying them as victims of an ‘all-pervasive, ugly system of gender apartheid’. 56 An article in the national newspaper, The Scotsman, in 2006 acknowledged the efforts by Women’s History Scotland, notably through the Biographical Dictionary, to write women ‘back into the history books’. It contained a quotation from Tom Devine, one of Scotland’s leading historians who has himself written about women, which suggested some ambivalence: on the one hand, he acknowledged that women’s history in Scotland is ‘relatively under-developed’ but on the other, he claimed that it is ‘passé’. He warned against ‘the danger of continuing to ghettoise the female experience if you produce books which are concerned almost exclusively with the historical role of women alone’, while acknowledging that ‘there is bound to be a certain degree of concentration on men in any history of a country that was dominated by them until the mid twentieth century’. 57 However, as Elizabeth Ewan points out, different questions are now being asked of the source material and the process of interrogation may alter perspectives on ‘mainstream’ history, including accepted frameworks such as the Reformation, industrialisation and empire. 58 The place of women in Scottish history has certainly been asserted since Writing Women’s History was published, but it is only slowly being integrated into mainstream studies. The establishment in 2008 of the Centre for Gender History at Glasgow University, which boasts the largest concentration of gender historians in Britain, should hasten that process.

[1] Karen Offen, Ruth Roach Pierson and Jane Rendall (Eds) (1991) Writing Women’s History: International Perspectives (Basingstoke: Macmillan).

[2] Ibid, p.56, n.28 for T.C. Smout (1986) A Century of the Scottish People 1830-1950 (London: Collins), p.292. See also Joy Hendry (1992), Snug in the asylum of taciturnity: women’s history in Scotland, in Ian Donnachie and Christopher Whately (Eds) The Manufacture of Scottish History (Edinburgh: Polygon), pp.125-42; Elizabeth Ewan (1995), Women’s History in Scotland: Towards an Agenda, Innes Review, 46, 1, pp.155-64.

[3] Elizabeth Ewan, Sue Innes, Siân Reynolds and Rose Pipes (Eds) (2006) Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press); Lynn Abrams, Eleanor Gordon, Debbi Simonton and Eileen Yeo (Eds) (2006) Gender in Scottish History: 1700-Present (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press). See also Sue Innes (2003-04) Reputations and remembering: work on the first biographical dictionary of Scottish women, études écossaises, 9, pp.11-26.

[4] For edited collections which were influential for the development of women’s history in Scotland see for example E. Gordon and E. Breitenbach (Eds.) (1990) The World is Ill Divided: Women's Work in Scotland in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press); E. Breitenbach and E. Gordon (Eds.) (1992) Out of Bounds: Women in Scottish Society 1800-1945 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press); Elizabeth Ewan and Maureen M. Meikle (Eds) (1999) Women in Scotland c1100-c1750 (East Linton: Tuckwell). See also Eleanor Gordon (1990) Women’s Spheres, pp.206-35 in W. Hamish Fraser and R.J. Morris (Eds) People and Society in Scotland vol.2, 1830-1914 (Edinburgh: John Donald); R.A. Houston (1989) Women in the economy and society of Scotland 1500-1800, in R.A. Houston and I.D. White (Eds) Scottish Society 1500-1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

[5] Rosalind Mitchison (Ed.) (1991) Why Scottish History Matters (Edinburgh: Saltire Society).

[6] The Scottish Historical Review, Special Issue (1993): Whither Scottish History?, pp.73,195.

[7] See Helen Corr (1998) Where is the Lass o’ Pairts?: Gender, Identity and Education in Nineteenth Century Scotland, pp.220-28 in Dauvit Broun, R.J. Finlay and Michael Lynch (Eds) Image and Identity: The Making and Remaking of Scotland Through the Ages (Edinburgh: John Donald).

[8] See especially George Davie (1961) The Democratic Intellect (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press) and C. Beveridge and R. Turnbull (1989) The Eclipse of Scottish Culture: Inferiorism and the Intellectuals (Edinburgh: Polygon).

[9] See Helen Corr (1990) An Exploration into Scottish Education, pp.290-309 in Fraser and Morris (Eds) People and Society in Scotland, Volume 2, 1830-1914; Lindy Moore (2000) Women and Education, pp.316-43 in Heather Holmes (Ed.) Scottish Life and Society. A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology. Volume 11: Education (East Linton).

[10] F.M.S. Paterson and J. Fewell (Eds.) (1990) Girls in their Prime: Scottish Education Revisited (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press): see in particular Helen Corr, ‘Home Rule’ in Scotland: the teaching of housework in Scottish schools 1872-1914, pp.38-53.

[11] See Lindy Moore (1992) Educating for the ‘woman's sphere’: domestic training versus intellectual discipline, chapter 2 in Out of Bounds. See also Lindy Moore (1984) Invisible Scholars: Girls learning Latin and mathematics in the elementary public schools of Scotland before 1872, History of Education, 13, 2, pp.121-137.

[12] See for example, Jane McDermid (2005) The Schooling of Working-Class Girls in Victorian Scotland: Gender, Education and Identity (London: Routledge).

[13] See Linda Mahood (1990) The Magdalenes: Prostitution in the Nineteenth Century (London: Routledge), with a particular focus on Glasgow. See also Barbara Littlejohn & Linda Mahood (1991) Prostitutes, Magdalenes and Wayward Girls: Dangerous Sexualities of Working-Class Women in Victorian Scotland, Gender and History, 3, 2, pp.160-175. For the early modern ‘disorderly woman’, see Yvonne Brown and Rona Ferguson (Eds) (2002) Twisted Sisters: Women, Crime and Deviance in Scotland since 1400 (East Linton: Tuckwell).

[14] Tom Devine (2003) Scotland’s Empire 1600-1815 (London: Allen Lane), pp.297, 305, 308.

[15] See Lesley A. Orr Macdonald (2000) A Unique and Glorious Mission: Women and Presbyterianism in Scotland 1830-1930 (Edinburgh: John Donald). See also Esther Breitenbach (2009) Empire and Scottish Society: the impact of foreign missions at home c.1800-c.1914 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press); Megan Smitley (2002), ‘Inebriates’, ‘heathens’ and suffragists: Scotland and imperial feminism, c.1870-1914, Women’s History Review, 11, 3, pp.455-80. For information on women and emigration from Scotland, see Marjorie Harper (2003) Adventurers and Exiles: The Great Scottish Exodus (London: Profile).

[16] See James H. Treble (1986) The Characteristics of the Female Unskilled Labour Market and the Formation of the Female Casual Labour Market in Glasgow, 1891-1914, Scottish Economic and Social History, 6, pp.33-46.

[17] J. Butt (1985) The Changing Character of Urban Employment 1901-1981 in G. Gordon (Ed.), Perspectives of the Scottish City (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press), pp.213-16. Yet even in Edinburgh by the beginning of the twentieth century, the most common sector of female employment was industrial: R. Rodger (1985) Employment, Wages and Poverty in the Scottish Cities 1841-1914, in ibid, p.35.

[18] See Arthur J. McIvor (1992), Women and Work in Twentieth-Century Scotland, pp.138-73 in A. Dickson and J.H. Treble (Eds) People and Society in Scotland. Volume 3, 1914-1990 (Edinburgh: John Donald).

[19] See Roger Davidson (1993) ‘A Scourge to be firmly gripped’?: The Campaign for V.D. Controls in Inter-War Scotland, Social History of Medicine, 6, 2, pp.213-235.

[20] See Andrew Blaikie (1994) Illegitimacy, Sex and Society: Northeast Scotland, 1750-1900 (Oxford: Clarendon Press); T.C. Smout (1980) Aspects of sexual behaviour in nineteenth-century Scotland in P. Laslett, K. Oosterveen and R.M. Smith, (Eds) Bastardy and its Comparative History (London: Edward Arnold). See also Rosalind Mitchison and Leah Leneman (1989) Sexuality and Social Control: Scotland 1660-1780 (Oxford: Blackwell); Olive Checkland (1980) Philanthropy and Victorian Scotland: social welfare and the voluntary principle (Edinburgh: John Donald).

[21] Even at the end of the twentieth century, there was a distinct under-representation of women in decision-making positions in Scottish education. For example, in primary schools, where women made up 93 per cent of teachers by the 1990s, men held around a quarter of headships. See M. Macintosh (1993) The Gender Imbalance in Scottish Education, Scottish Affairs, 5, pp.118-23. See also Esther Breitenbach and Fran Wasoff (2007) A Gender Audit of Statistics: Comparing the Position of Women and Men in Scotland (Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Social Research).

[22] See Helen Corr (1995) Dominies and Domination: Schoolteachers, Masculinity and Women in Nineteenth-Century Scotland, History Workshop, 40, pp.151-164; Helen Corr (1997) Teachers and Gender: debating the myths of equal opportunities in Scottish education 1800-1914, Cambridge Journal of Education, 27, 3, pp.355-64.

[23] Jane McDermid (1997) ‘Intellectual Instruction is Best Left to a Man’: the feminisation of the Scottish teaching profession in the second half of the nineteenth century, Women's History Review, 6, 1, pp.95-114; Jane McDermid (2003-04) Handmaiden to a Patriarchal Tradition? The Schoolmistress in Victorian Scotland, études écossaises, 9, pp.43-58.

[24] Eleanor Gordon and Gwyneth Nair (2003) Public Lives: Women, Family and Society in Victorian Britain (New Haven and London), p.5. See also Susan M. Felch (1995) The Rhetoric of Biblical Authority: John Knox and the Question of Women, Sixteenth Century Journal, 26, 4, pp.805-22; Maureen M. Meikle (2003) John Knox and womankind: a reappraisal, The Historian, 79, pp.9-14.

[25] See Wendy Alexander (1987) First Ladies of Medicine: The Origins, Education and Destination of Early Women Medical Graduates of Glasgow University (Glasgow University: Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine); J. Geyer-Kordesch and R. Ferguson (1995) Blue Stockings, Black Gowns, White Coats: A Brief History of Women Entering Higher Education and the Medical Profession in Scotland in Celebration of 100 Years of Women Graduates at the University of Glasgow (Glasgow University: Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine); Shirley Roberts (1993) Sophia Jex-Blake: A Woman Pioneer in Nineteenth Century Medical Reform (London: Routledge); R. Gaffney (1982) Women as Doctors and Nurses, pp.134-48 in O. Checkland and M. Lamb (Eds.) Health Care as Social History: The Glasgow Case (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press); Sheila Hamilton (1983) The First Generations of University Women 1869-1930 in G. Donaldson (Ed.) Four Centuries: Edinburgh University Life, 1583-1983 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press); Lindy Moore (1992) The Scottish Universities and Women Students, 1862-1892, chapter 13 in Jennifer Carter and Donald J. Withrington (Eds.) Scottish Universities: Distinctiveness and Diversity (Edinburgh: John Donald); Lindy Moore (1991) Bajanellas and Semilinas: Aberdeen University and the Education of Women, 1860-1920 (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press). For midwifery see Alison Nuttall (2003) The Edinburgh Royal Maternity Hospital and the Medicalisation of Childbirth in Edinburgh, 1844-1914 (PhD dissertation, Edinburgh University); Anne Cameron (2003) From Ritual to Regulation?: The development of midwifery in Glasgow and the west of Scotland, c.1740-1840 (PhD dissertation, Glasgow University).

[26] Leah Leneman (1994) In the Service of Life: The Story of Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals (Edinburgh: Mercat); Eileen Crofton (1997) The Women of Royaumont: A Scottish Women’s Hospital on the Western Front (East Linton: Tuckwell); Jane McDermid (2007) What’s in a Name? The Scottish Women’s Hospitals in the First World War, Minerva: Journal of Women and War, new series, 1, 1, pp.102-114.

[27] Christopher A. Whatley (1997) The Industrial Revolution in Scotland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp.72-75; Christopher A. Whatley (1994) Women and the Economic Transformation of Scotland, c.1740-1830, Scottish Economic and Social History, 14, pp.19-40.

[28] See for example Siân Reynolds (1989) Britannica’s Typesetters: Women Compositors in Edwardian Edinburgh (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press).

[29] Eleanor Gordon (1991) Women and the Labour Movement in Scotland 1850-1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press). See also Jan Merchant (2000) ‘An Insurrection of Maids’: domestic servants and the agitation of 1872, pp.104-21 in Louise Miskell, Christopher A. Whatley and Bob Harris (Eds) Victorian Dundee: Image and Realities (East Linton: Tuckwell Press). See also James D. Young (1985) Women and Popular Struggles: A History of Scottish and English Working-Class Women 1500-1984 (Edinburgh: Mainstream).

[30] See Jayne D. Stephenson and Calum Brown (1990) The View from the Workplace: Women’s memories of Work in Stirling c.1910-c.1950, chapter 1 and James J. Smyth (1990) ‘Ye never got a spell to think aboot it.’: Young Women and Employment in the Inter-War Period: A Case Study of a Textile Village, chapter 5 in The World is Ill Divided.

[31] See Barbara W. Robertson (1990) In Bondage: The Female Farm Worker in South-East Scotland, chapter 6 in The World is Ill Divided; T. M. Devine (Ed.) (1984) Farm Servants and Labour in Lowland Scotland 1770-1914 (Edinburgh: John Donald), especially chapter 6; I. MacDougall (Ed.) (1993) ‘Hard Work Ye Ken’: Midlothian Women Farmworkers (Edinburgh: Canongate); Lynn Jamieson and Claire Toynbee (1992) Country Bairns: Growing Up 1900-1930 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press).

[32] See Heather Holmes (2000) ‘As Good as a Holiday’: Potato harvesting in the Lothians from 1870 to the Present (East Linton: Tuckwell).

[33] Lynn Abrams (2005) Myth and Materiality in a Women’s World: Shetland 1800-2000 (Manchester: Manchester University Press).

[34] Alice Brown, David McCrone and Lindsay Paterson (1996) Politics and Society in Scotland (Basingstoke: Macmillan). See also Esther Breitenbach (1993) Out of Sight, Out of Mind? The History of Women in Scottish Politics, Scottish Affairs, 2, pp.58-70; Esther Breitenbach (1990) Sisters are Doing it for Themselves: The Women's Movement in Scotland in Alice Brown and Richard Parry (Eds.) The Scottish Government Year Book (Edinburgh: Unit for the Study of Government in Scotland); Eleanor Gordon (1990) Women and Working-Class Politics in Scotland 1900-1914, chapter 11 in Lynn Jamieson and Helen Corr (Eds.), State, Private Life and Political Change (Basingstoke: Macmillan).

[35] For the Edinburgh WCA see Sue Innes (2004), Constructing Women’s Citizenship in the Interwar Period: the Edinburgh Women Citizens’ Association, Women’s History Review, 13, 4, pp.621-47; Valerie Wright (2009) Education for active citizenship: women’s organisations in interwar Scotland History of Education, 38,3, pp.419-36.

[36] Gordon (1990) Women’s Spheres, in Fraser and Morris (Eds), People and Society in Scotland. Volume 2, 1830-1914, pp.225-26.

37 Lindy Moore (2006) Education and Learning in Gender in Scottish History since 1700, pp.111-39: 127.

[38] See for example Jane McDermid (2007) Place the book in their hands: Grace Paterson’s contribution to the health and welfare policies of the School Board of Glasgow, 1885-1906 History of Education, 36, 6, pp.697-713; and (2009) School board women and active citizenship in Scotland, 1873-1919 History of Education, 38, 3, pp.333-47.

[39] The Aberdeen Journal, 11 October 1888, p.7.

[40] Elspeth King (1978) The Scottish Women's Suffrage Movement (Glasgow: People’s Palace Museum).

[41] Leah Leneman (1991) A Guid Cause: The Women's Suffrage Movement in Scotland (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press).

[42] J.J. Smyth (2000) Labour in Glasgow, 1896-1936: socialism, suffrage, sectarianism (East Linton: Tuckwell).

[43] Gordon and Nair, Public Lives, p.7. Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall (1987) Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class 1780-1850 (London: Routledge).

[44] Gordon (2006) The Family, chapter 9 in Gender in Scottish History, p.239.

[45] Eleanor Gordon and Gwyneth Nair (2006) Domestic Fathers and the Victorian Parental Role, Women’s History Review, 15, 4, pp.551-59.

[46] See D. McCrone, S. Kendrick and P. Straw (Eds) (1989) The Making of Scotland: Nation, Culture and Social Change (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press); Richard S. Findlay (1997) Heroes, Myths and Anniversaries in Modern Scotland, Scottish Affairs, 18, pp.108-125.

[47] Douglas Gifford and Dorothy McMillan (Eds.) (1997) A History of Scottish Women's Writing (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press), p.xix. See also Sarah M. Dunnigan, C. Marie Harker and Evelyn S. Newlyn (Eds) (2004) Woman and the Feminine in Medieval and Early Modern Scottish Writing (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan); Christopher Whyte (Ed.) (1995) Gendering the Nation: Studies in Modern Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press); Jenni Calder (1988) Heroes and Hero-Makers: Women in Nineteenth-century Scottish Fiction, chapter 13 in Douglas Gifford (Ed.) The History of Scottish Literature Volume 3: The Nineteenth Century (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press); Kirsteen McCue (2003) A Survey of Work on Scottish Women Writers from 1995, Women’s Writing, 10, 3, pp.527-33; Études Écossaises (2004-05) 9: Women in Scotland; Siân Reynolds (2006) Gender, the Arts and Culture, chapter 7 in Gender in Scottish History since 1700.

[48] See Calum Brown (1997) Religion and Society in Scotland since 1707 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press); Calum Brown and Jayne Stephenson (1992) ‘Sprouting wings’?: women and religion in Scotland, c.1890-1950, chapter 5 in Out of Bounds; David G. Mullan (1999) Women in Scottish Divinity, c.1590-c.1640, chapter 3 in Ewan and Meikle (Eds) Women in Scotland c.1100-c.1750. There is a considerable body of research on witchcraft in Scotland: see for example Julian Goodare (Ed.) (2002) The Scottish witch-hunt in context (Manchester: Manchester University Press).

[49] See for example Megan Smitley (2002) Woman’s Mission: The Temperance and Women’s Suffrage Movements in Scotland, c.1870-1914 (PhD dissertation, Glasgow University).

[50] Graham Walker (1992) The Orange Order in Scotland Between the Wars, International Review of Social History, 37, part 2, pp.177-206: 203-04.

[51] Alasdair Roberts (1991) The Role of Women in Scottish Catholic Survival, Scottish Historical Review, 70, pp.129-50.

[52] Bernard Aspinwall (1994) Catholic Teachers for Scotland: the Liverpool Connection, The Innes Review, 24, 1, pp.85-108; Jane McDermid (1996) Scottish Catholic Girls’ Education, The Innes Review, 47, 1, pp.69-80; Francis J. O’Hagan (2006) The Contribution of the Religious Orders to Education in Glasgow During the Period 1847-1918 (Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press); Sarah Karly Kehoe (2005) Nursing the Mission. The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and the Sisters of Mercy in Glasgow, 1847-1866, The Innes Review, 56, 46-50; Jane McDermid (2009) Catholic women teachers and Scottish education in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, History of Education, 38, 5, pp.605-20.

[53] Esther Breitenbach (1997) ‘Curiously rare’? Scottish Women of Interest or the Suppression of the Female in the Construction of National Identity, Scottish Affairs, 18, pp.82-94. See also Esther Breitenbach, Alice Brown and Fiona Myers (2005) Understanding Women in Scotland, Feminist Review, 58, pp.44-66.

[54] Scottish Women’s History Network Newsletter, Spring 2005, p.2.

[55] See Terry Brotherstone, Deborah Simonton and Oonagh Walsh (Eds) (1999) Gendering Scottish History: an International Perspective (Glasgow: Cruithne Press). For a UK comparative approach see Jane McDermid (1995) Women and Education, pp.107-30 in June Purvis (Ed.) Women’s History: Britain 1850-1945 (London: UCL). See also Megan Smitley (2007) Feminist Anglo-Saxonism? Representations of ‘Scotch’ Women in the English Women’s Press in the Late Nineteenth Century, Cultural and Social History, 4, 3, pp.341-59.

[56] McIvor, Women and Work in Twentieth-Century Scotland, p.169. See also William W.J. Knox (2006) Lives of Scottish Women: Women and Scottish Society, 1800-1980 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press), where the ten subjects were chosen after ‘a fairly long process of reflection and debate on the nature of female subordination’ (p.2).

[57] Ian Johnston, Writing women back into history books, The Scotsman, 19 January 2005. See also Tom Devine (2000) The Scottish Nation 1700-2000 (London: Allen Lane), especially pp.523-42 for women.

[58] Elizabeth Ewan (November/December 2007) interviewed in History Scotland, 7, 6, pp.48-54. She has created an online searchable bibliography called Women in Scottish History (WISH:

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