Women’s landownership in England in the nineteenth century
All relevant information was quantified in binary form; thus ownership characteristics, plot uses and time-dependent factors were all expressed as dummy variables. Some of the qualitative information was also used for case study analysis, but the case studies are not discussed in this chapter. Women’s ownership. The principal ownership variable is a binary dummy variable that takes the value of one if a woman was involved at all in the ownership of a plot and is zero otherwise. Women owners were further sub-divided according to their status and to the number and type of their co-owners (see below). Plot use. Plot use was categorised into 17 main uses: housing, retail, agricultural buildings, all kinds of agricultural land, wood, domestic land, waste land and/or common, water, roads, utilities, mining, quarrying, railway, canal, public building, industrial and miscellaneous. A further seven subsidiary categories
were used where the source material provided a sufficient number of observations (normally ten per region) to make them viable for statistical purposes; housing was sub-divided into house, cottage, tenement or court, and agricultural land into arable, meadow and pasture. Some plots had multiple uses. Parish characteristics. The inclusion of parish characteristics in the study makes it possible to investigate whether women revealed a preference for investing in particular kinds of locality. The five parish characteristics are all continuous variables:
• Population density: this is linked to urbanisation (see below); where density is very high it may be linked to poverty and social deprivation;
• Population per house: a possible indicator of over-crowding; it may, however, reflect the sub-division of large houses into separate dwellings;
• Proportion of the population aged below 20 years: the only indicator of age distribution that is available;
• Proportion of the population born outside the county; a measure of immigration into the county;
• Proportion of females in the population: by comparing this ratio with the proportion of land in the parish owned by women it is possible to assess whether high women’s ownership of land is linked to a high proportion of female residents in a parish.