Title: A woman's industry? The role of women in the workforce of the Dundee jute industry c. 1945-1979

Authors: Valerie Wright

Addresses: Economic and Social History, University of Glasgow, Lilybank House, Bute Gardens, Glasgow, G12 8RT, UK

Abstract: This paper will explore the reduced role of women in the jute industry in Dundee in the post-war years. This industry experienced high levels of female participation in the years before 1945, as was the case in many of Britain's textile industries. This was instrumental in the city's characterisation as a 'women's work town'. Following the war however the dominance of the jute industry in Dundee was under threat. Competition from Indian producers as well as from substitutes for jute was intensifying, but perhaps more problematic was increased pessimism concerning the future of the industry within the city itself. Dundee City Council, supported by the Board of Trade and the government more generally, actively campaigned for subsidies to attract new industries to the area and therefore diversify Dundee's industrial base. The success of this policy ensured that the jute industry faced increased competition in terms of retaining its female labour force. As a consequence of this labour shortage, and the jute employers response to it in the 1960s and 1970s, Dundee's jute industry was no longer characterised by high female participation.

Keywords: women workers; jute industry; post-war; Dundee; female labour force; diversification; Scotland.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2014.063847

International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 2014 Vol.8 No.2/3, pp.110 - 125

Published online: 23 Jul 2014 *

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