Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

Law as a Gendering Practice. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 2000.


The business enterprise is central to the operation of the Canadian capitalist economy in that it is a vehicle for the accumulation of profit, as well as a significant social location of employment. It is therefore one of the key mechanisms through which inter-class relations are mediated. A number of feminist scholars have pointed out that those class relations cannot be understood in isolation from gender relations. As Folbre and Hartmann (1988: 192) note disparagingly, 'the rhetoric of class interest simply subsumes the possibility of gender interests .' In their historical study of the English middle class between 1780 and 1850, Davidoff and Hall (1987: 13) begin their analysis fron1 the proposition that 'gender and class always operate together'. The development, and claim to moral superiority, of the middle class in the period they studied 'was articulated within a gendered concept of class. Middle-class gentlemen and middle-class ladies each had their appointed place in this newly mapped social world.' Indeed, they argue that gender played a strategic role in the development of the middle class in that 'A heavily gendered view of the world was utilized to soften, if not disavov, the disruption of a growing class system as the master and household head was transmuted into employer on the one hand and husband/father on the other.


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