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Women in Classical Economics History of Thought. In Reviewing Education Adam Smith takes the point of view of the efficiency of women’s education Mill.

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Presentation on theme: "Women in Classical Economics History of Thought. In Reviewing Education Adam Smith takes the point of view of the efficiency of women’s education Mill."— Presentation transcript:

1 Women in Classical Economics History of Thought

2 In Reviewing Education Adam Smith takes the point of view of the efficiency of women’s education Mill and Taylor take also the view of efficiency but in this case the loss of social welfare efficiency

3 Adam Smith There are no public institutions for the education of women, and there is accordingly nothing useless, absurd, or fantastical in the common course of their education. They are taught what their parents or guardians judge it necessary or useful for them to learn, and they are taught nothing else. Every part of their education tends evidently to some useful purpose; either to improve the natural attractions of their person, or to form their mind to reserve, to modesty,

4 Adam Smith to chastity, and too economy; to render them likely to become mistresses of a family, and to behave properly when they have become such. In every part of her life a woman feels some conveniency or advantage from every part of her education. It seldom happens that a man, in any part of his life, derives any conveniency or advantage from some of the most laborious and troublesome parts of his education.

5 Harriet Taylor Mill When, however, we ask why the existence of one-half the species should be merely ancillary to that of the other – why each woman should be a mere appendage to a man, allowed to have no interests of her own, that there may be nothing to compete in her mind with his interests and his pleasure, the only reason that can be given is, that men like it.

6 Wages Mill and Taylor argue: When the efficiency is equal, but the pay is unequal, the only explanation that can be given is custom; grounded either in a prejudice, or in the present constitution of society, which, making almost every woman, socially speaking, an appendage of some man, enables men to take the lion’s share of whatever belongs to both

7 Wages Sidney Webb (1891) writes article: “Alleged Differences in Wages Paid to Women and Men for Similar Work” Women workers appear almost invariably to earn less than men in a few except in a few instances of exceptional ability, in a few occupations where sexual attraction enters in. Where the inferiority of earnings exist, it is

8 Wages Sidney Webb (1891) writes article: “Alleged Differences in Wages Paid to Women and Men for Similar Work” (CONT) Almost always coexistent with an inferiority of work. And the general inferiority of women’s work seems to influence their wages in industries in which no such inferiority exists

9 Wages Millicent Garrett Fawcett (critique of Webb) states A woman servant, who may be, and generally is, a much more desirable person to have about one than a man servant, and who, therefore, if mere utility governed value, would get more, is paid about half as much, because the other employments within her reach are only about half as productive of wealth of man’s

10 Wages Millicent Garrett Fawcett (Cont) Interestingly she argues against same wages: I have always regarded it as an error, both in principle and in tactics to advise woman under all circumstances to demand the same wages for the same work as men….The cry ‘the same wages for the same work’ is very plausible but it is proved impossible of achievement when the economic conditions of the two sexes are so widely different

11 Wages Millicent Garrett Fawcett (Cont) Interestingly she argues that when a school decided to pay same amount to men and women, excellent women applied while only average women applied She instead argued for unionization and more importantly to access of better education

12 “the opening of industrial occupations freely to both sexes ” Mill and Taylor argue: The same reasons which make it no longer necessary that the poor hould depend on the rich, make it equally unnecessary that women should depend on men; and the least which justice requires is that law and custom should not enforce dependence ( when the correlative protection has become superfluous) by ordaining that a woman, who does not happen to have a provision by inheritance, shall have scarcely

13 “the opening of industrial occupations freely to both sexes ” Mill and Taylor argue: any means open to her of gaining a livelihood, except as a wife and mother. Let women who prefer that occupation, adopt it; but that there should be no option, no other carrière possible for the great majority of women, except in the humbler departments of life, is a flagrant social injustice

14 Ada Heather-Bigg In the 1890s she wrote: The ideal to be aimed at, I submit, is not that the man should be the sole bread-winner, but that bread-winning should go under circumstances which secure the most comfortable life for the men, women, and children composing the family, which

15 Ada Heather-Bigg In the 1890s she wrote: openly substitute economic co-operation on the part of the wife for economic dependence

16 Alfred Marshall Walks a fine line between “old” school and “new” school For instance. “the degradation of the working classes varies almost uniformly with the amount of rough work done by women. The most valuable of all capital is the invested in human beings; and of that capital, the most precious part is the result of the care and

17 Alfred Marshall Walks a fine line between “old” school and “new” school Influence of the mother, so long as she retains her tender and unselfish instincts, and has not been hardened by the strain and stress of unfeminine work On the other hand he states:

18 Alfred Marshall Walks a fine line between “old” school and “new” school In England, many women get low wages, not because the value of the work they do is low, but because both they and their employers have been in the habit of taking it for granted that the wages of women must be low. Sometimes even when men and women

19 Alfred Marshall Walks a fine line between “old” school and “new” school do the same work in the same factory, not only the Time-wages, but also the Task- wages of the women are lower than those of the men

20 Women as contributors to Economic Theory Jane Marcet’s “Conversations on Political Economy” (1824) Malthus stated: I own I had felt some anxiety about the success of your undertaking, both on account of its difficulty, and its utility; and I am very happy to be able to say that I think you have overcome the first and consequently insured

21 Women as contributors to Economic Theory Jane Marcet’s “Conversations on Political Economy” (1824) Malthus stated: Completely the second…I have no doubt that it will have a considerable effect in rendering the science much more popular that it was, and spreading it among a class of persons that was before totally unacquainted with these subjects

22 Women as contributors to Economic Theory Another author (also teacher rather than contributor of theory) is Harriet Martineau Her book was aimed more at working class audience Malthus also praises her

23 Women as contributors to Economic Theory Another author (also teacher rather than contributor of theory) is Harriet Martineau Malthus, I have read John Hopkins’s Notions on Political Economy with great interest and satisfaction and am decidedly of opinion that they are calculated to be very useful. They are

24 Women as contributors to Economic Theory Another author (also teacher rather than contributor of theory) is Harriet Martineau of opinion that they are calculated to be very useful…They are in many respects better suited to the labouring classes…I think the doctrines are very sound, and what is a more essential point, you have explained them with great plainness and clearness

25 Women as contributors to Economic Theory To this day there is ample controversy over the amount of influence and the direction of the influence between Mill and Taylor Joan Anderson and Chamberlain J.K. Rollings


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