Working women in the factories and home workshops of Catalonia in the 19th and first third of the 20th centuries


  • Albert Balcells Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


The contribution of female labour to Catalan industrialisation was very important in both the textile industry and the garment-making industry. Likewise, in the early 20th century, the tertiary sector offered women new chances for salaried jobs. This article offers an overview of the evolution of female labour at factories and home-based workshops with its specific problems, the resistances it had to overcome, the influence of the purportedly protective legislation and the consequences of women joining the workforce from the 19th century to the 1930s.

Author Biography

Albert Balcells, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Albert Balcells is a member of the History-Archaeology Section of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans, where he has served as the President,
and he is a Professor Emeritus of Contemporary History at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He has been awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi (Cross of St. George) from the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Narcís Monturiol Medal for Scholary Merit. His first book was El sindicalisme a Barcelona, 1916-1923 (1965). He is the co-author and editor of the Història de l’Institut d’Estudis Catalans (2003-2006). Around 40 of his titles can be found in the United States Library of Congress. His most recent books include Llocs de memòria dels catalans (2008), which won the Carles Rahola prize from the Prudenci Bertrana Foundation; El pistolerisme. Barcelona 1917-1923 (2009); El projecte d’autonomia de la Mancomunitat de Catalunya del 1919 i el seu context històric (2010); Els Estudis Universitaris Catalans, 1903-1985. Per una Universitat Catalana (2011); Puig i Cadafalch, president de Catalunya i la seva època (2013) and finally Vuit feministes catalanes entre 1889 i 1977 (2015). Albert Balcells is the editor-in-chief of the Catalan Historical Review. He is also the editor and one of the writers for the most recent Historia de Cataluña published in Spanish in Madrid in 2006.




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