The wages and employment of female day-labourers in English agriculture, 1740–1850

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Using a new sample of farm accounts from 84 farms throughout England, this article provides measures of regional variation and changes over time in female wages and employment in agriculture. Female wages were not fixed, but changed over time and responded to high demand for female labour. The female-male wage ratio fell between 1750 and 1850, except in the industrial north west. In 1851 approximately 19 per cent of agricultural day-labourers were female. In the industrial north west, opportunities for factory employment reduced the supply of females to agriculture, but elsewhere the relative demand for female labour in agriculture declined.


  • Joyce Burnette
External organisations
  • Wabash College
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History


  • women's work, agricultural labourers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-690
Number of pages27
JournalEconomic History Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes