Constitutional Law

Bound by Our Constitution: Women, Workers, and the Minimum by Vivien Hart

By Vivien Hart

What distinction does a written structure make to public coverage? How have ladies employees fared in a kingdom certain via constitutional ideas, in comparison with these now not lined via formal, written promises of reasonable method or equitable end result? to enquire those questions, Vivien Hart strains the evolution of minimal salary rules within the usa and Britain from their universal origins in women's politics round 1900 to their divergent results in our day. She argues, opposite to universal knowledge, that the virtue has been with the yank constitutional procedure instead of the British. Basing her research on fundamental learn, Hart reconstructs felony innovations and coverage judgements that revolved round the acceptance of ladies as employees and the general public definition of gender roles. Contrasting seismic shifts and enlargement in American minimal salary coverage with indifference and eventual abolition in Britain, she demanding situations preconceptions concerning the constraints of yankee constitutionalism as opposed to British flexibility. although constitutional requisites did block and frustrate women's makes an attempt to achieve reasonable wages, in addition they, as Hart demonstrates, created a terrain within the usa for principled debate approximately girls, paintings, and the state--and a momentum for public policy--unparalleled in Britain. Hart's ebook may be of curiosity to coverage, exertions, women's, and criminal historians, to political scientists, and to scholars of gender matters, legislations, and social coverage.

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Extra resources for Bound by Our Constitution: Women, Workers, and the Minimum Wage

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86 The two groups had been far apart in 1902 when their two bills were on the parliamentary agenda. ” MacDonald proposed an amendment: “That in view of the failure of the supporters of wages boards to present workable proposals . . ’”87 But by this time the WIC split was inconsequential. Legislation was certain to pass. Since 1906, the action had moved elsewhere, under the male leadership of the National Anti-Sweating League, in close association with the WTUL. But, though neither the WTUL’s Wages Board Bill nor the WIC’s Home Work Regulation Bill became law, the years had not been wasted.

Wage rates must be publicly posted, but only in industries designated by the Home Office (which did include some classic sweated trades such as chain making). The Truck Acts were supposed to guarantee payment in cash— • N O S W E A T • 21 but only where a personal contract existed, a technicality that excluded those receiving work from middlemen. 33 A contemporary study of factory laws argued that this failure lay in the unsystematic development of legislation. 34 But the failure was more than one of haphazard pragmatism.

Dilke and her niece Gertrude Tuckwell were uncomfortable when the protection of the maternal role that they idealized clashed with the needs of a class whose rights they recognized. But they were not just uncomprehending middle-class women. If their maternalism led them to advocate special legislation for mothers—Tuckwell was a strong supporter of free medical care for mothers and children, and of widows’ pensions— their class analysis led them to conclude that the dirt and chaos of the lives of sweated workers were the product of hardship, not of inadequate character.

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