Did factory girls make bad mothers? Women's labor market experience, motherhood, and children's mortality risks in the past
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SourceBiodemography and Social Biology, 58, 2, (2012), pp. 133-148
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR SOC
Biodemography and Social Biology
SubjectInequality, cohesion and modernization; Public and private life: the history of politics and human life courses; Ongelijkheid, cohesie en modernisering
Prior research has suggested that the quality of maternal care given to infants and small children plays an important role in the strong clustering of children's deaths. In this article, we investigate the quality of maternal care provided by those women who most nineteenth-century social commentators declared would never make good housewives or mothers: the young girls and women working in textile mills. We carried out this examination using an analysis of children's mortality risks in two textile cities in The Netherlands between roughly 1900 and 1930. Our analysis suggests that these children's clustered mortality risks cannot have resulted from either their mothers' labor market experience or biological or genetic factors.
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