This book focuses on early examples of women who may be said to have anticipated, in one way or another, modern professional and/or career-oriented women. The contributors to the book discuss women who may at least in some respect be seen as professionally ambitious, unlike the great majority of working women in the past. In order to improve their positions or to find better business opportunities, the women discussed in this book invested in developing their qualifications and professional skills, took economic or other kinds of risks, or moved to other countries. Socially, they range from elite women to women of middle-class and lower middle-class origin.
In terms of theory, the book brings fresh insights into issues that have been long discussed in the field of women’s history and are also debated today. However, despite its focus on women, the book is conceptually not so much focused on gender as it is on profession, business, career, qualifications, skills, and work. By applying such concepts to analyzing women’s endeavours, the book aims at challenging the conventional ideas about them.
Table of Contents
1. Women and Professional Ambitions in Northern Europe, c. 1650–1850
[Johanna Ilmakunnas, Marjatta Rahikainen and Kirsi Vainio-Korhonen]
2. Midwives: Birthing Care Professionals in Eighteenth-Century Sweden and Finland
3. Serving the Prince as the First Step of Female Careers: The Electoral Court of Munich, c. 1660–1840
4. From Mother to Daughter: Noblewomen in Service at the Swedish Royal Court, c. 1740–1840
5. Remarkable Women Artists: Flower Painting and Professional Changes in Copenhagen, c. 1690–1790
[Anna Lena Lindberg]
6. Performing Women: The Life and Work of Actresses in Stockholm, c. 1780–1850
7. "Sister to the Tailor": Guilds, Gender and the Needle Trades in Eighteenth-Century Europe
8. Independent Managers: Female Factory Owners in the Northern Provinces of the Russian Empire, c. 1760–1810
9. Urban Opportunities: Women in the Restaurant Business in Swedish and Finnish Cities, c. 1800–1850
10. Desirable Qualifications and Undesirable Behaviour: Teachers in Swedish Schools for Poor Children, c. 1780–1820
[Åsa Karlsson Sjögren]
11. Cross-Cultural Closeness: Foreign Governesses in the Russian Empire, c. 1700–1850
12. Shaping Middle-Class and Upper-Class Girls: Women as Teachers of Daughters of Good Families in the Baltic Sea World, c. 1780–1850
Johanna Ilmakunnas is acting professor of Finnish history at the University of Turku, Finland.
Marjatta Rahikainen is a docent of social history at the University of Helsinki, Finland.
Kirsi Vainio-Korhonen is a professor of Finnish history at the University of Turku, Finland.