chapter  Chapter 2
21 Pages

Women and Civic Life in Eighteenth-Century England *

WithRosemary Sweet

This chapter attempts to explore what the civic identity might have meant to women and the contexts in which they might have participated in and been conscious of a civic and, looking at towns more generally, an urban identity. Rather, it is intended to consider how and to what extent women were integrated into the civic life of a town, how far they shared in the expression of urban identity, and what membership of the civic and the urban community might have meant and entailed for them. Although an isolated example, provides an illustration of the circumstances in which women were permitted, albeit temporarily, to participate in an active political sense in urban citizenship. A more flexible definition of citizenship, which draws on the participation of the individual in various aspects of the public life of the town more broadly defined, allows for the possibility of women to share in it.