What are some examples of gender stratification

Social order
3. Rural society
3.7. Rural life


by Christina Rolf

In the FNZ, work was considered to be the "central expression of the majority of the population" ( Lorenz-Schmidt, Wert, 14), especially those living in rural areas. The socially standardized image of femininity and masculinity was thus inevitably strongly influenced by the tasks that women and men performed. On the other hand, there were certain social expectations of gender-specific role behavior, which in turn significantly influenced the assignment of certain tasks to men or women. Overall, this is a complicated interplay.

The determining element for rural society was the working community of man and woman. As a working couple, the married couple formed the core of the family farm ( Troßbach, Bauern, 71). Within the family, the allocation of certain areas of activity according to gender was decisive. This followed its own logic. Despite regional and temporal differentiations, there are trends in the gender-specific allocation of work. In addition, the social differences must be taken into account: In the rural middle and upper class with servitude, the division of labor was organized more tightly and more consistently than in the rural lower classes without servants. The economic situation often required women to do the traditionally male tasks in addition to their own, or vice versa: Men took on the tasks traditionally performed by women ( Mitterauer, family, 105).

Social status also played an important role within a household (the rural middle and upper classes). The landlord and his wife took on other, usually higher valued tasks than their unmarried children, maids, servants and day laborers. For example, food preparation remained a privilege of the housewife ( Mitterauer, family, 62). Female workspaces Male workspaces Work done together Commercialization and professionalization The effects of proto-industrialization Female workspaces 

While the housewife tended to be busy in the house or in the area close to the house - for example with preparing food, raising children, cleaning the living space, accommodating guests or caring for the sick at home - unmarried daughters and / or single maids also became more physically stressful Outside work used. Mention should be made in this regard, for example, of washing clothes and helping with field and meadow work. Overall, however, it can be assumed that married and / or pregnant women also performed this heavy physical work. Other female tasks were textile production, which was often done collectively in the so-called spinning rooms, poultry farming and dairy farming ( Mitterauer, family, 60-80).

Source: Johann Georg Krünitz on the responsibilities of a housewife Male workspaces 

Almost all 'typically male' tasks can be assigned to the work areas away from the house. This mainly concerns field, forest and meadow work, the transport of loads by wagon and the cooperative land regulation (which included the collective use, processing and maintenance of the communal land). The most important male work close to the house is the manufacture and repair of work equipment, construction and repair work on the company's own farm buildings and responsibility for the draft animals ( Mitterauer, family, 80-93). Work done together 

The work done jointly by men and women was not alike or interchangeable; rather, they built on each other; Both sexes are dependent on each other in the performance of these tasks. Field and meadow work was an important common area of ​​activity, especially during the particularly labor-intensive harvest season. A cooperation took place e.g. in the grain harvest; but here, too, the regional differences are considerable. Sickling the grain and then picking up the stalks was done by men and women in the same way. The transition from sickle to sight and Sense, which took place primarily in the north and east of Germany, and the resulting changes in work techniques had a major impact on the gender-specific division of labor. With the increasing use of the scythe, women were pushed out of the field of grain cutting. While with sickle the whole field was first harvested and then the stalks were picked up, when working with the scythe it was necessary for a second person to follow the mower to pick up the mown stalks and put them in bundles. This "auxiliary work" was done by the women, while the mowing of the grain was the responsibility of the men ( Wiegelmann, problem).

Related topics: conditions, techniques and products of agriculture

Plowing was also done together (usually the man pulls the plow, the woman chops up the pods) and the fertilizing (here the man usually does the heavy lifting of the manure while the women spread the manure in the field) ( Mitterauer, family, 93-107). Commercialization and professionalization 

The commercialization of certain areas of responsibility led to the shift of what was originally female work to the male area of ​​competence. Using the example of the dairy industry, it can be shown that men always took on 'typically female' tasks when there were technical innovations and when production was no longer for their own needs or for trade on the local market, but for a larger market and gave them the " Character of qualified wage labor "was awarded ( Wunder, Arbeit, p.181).

Professionalization is a complex development process that is related, among other things, to the increasing density of settlements and evaporation. Here, too, men took on traditional women's jobs such as baking, tailoring, and brewing, and performed them professionally for a larger market. In the course of time, independent rural businesses developed ( Mitterauer, family, p.118-126). The effects of proto-industrialization 

In general, the early modern gender relationship can be described as hierarchical; Women were subject to their husbands' domestic violence. This convention could be broken through the introduction and development of proto-industrial textile home work - at least in the regions where it was highly developed. There are reports from these areas of women who displayed 'typically male' behavior and claimed typically male rights for themselves. The precise connections between this new type of role behavior have not yet been fully clarified; however, it was viewed extremely critically by outside rapporteurs and portrayed as immoral and immoral. The report “Ueber den Ravensberger Bauer” published in 1786 by the clergyman Johann Moritz Schwager provides a very clear example of this. The adoption of 'typically female' behavior patterns by men, however, is not documented in the sources ( Mitterauer, family, 107-117).

Source: Johann Moritz Schwager, About the Ravensberger Bauer

Another change that went hand in hand with the advancing proto-industrialization towards the end of the 18th century was the division of labor into gainful employment and housework. The women did the housework here.


© 2003 by Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger • mail: [email protected]