ABSTRACT

T h e preceding chapters have demonstrated the great productive capacity which women possessed when society was organised on the basis of Family and Domestic Industry. There was then no hard and fast line dividing domestic occupations from other branches of industry, and thus it has not been possible to discover how much of women’s labour was given to purposes of trade and how much was confined to the service of their families; but as labour was at this time equally productive, whether it was employed for domestic purposes or in Trade, it is not necessary to discriminate between these two classes of production in estimating the extent to which the community depended upon women’s services. The goods produced and the services rendered to their families by wives and daughters, must if they had been idle have employed labour otherwise available for Trade ; or to put the position in another way, if the labour of women had been withdrawn from the domestic

industries and applied to Trade,more goods would have been produced for the market, which goods the said women’s families would then have obtained by purchase; but while by this means the trade of the country would be greatly increased, unless the efficiency of women’s labour had been raised by its transference from domestic to other forms of industry, the wealth of the community would remain precisely the same.