This chapter explores three basic questions about the link between gender and work in developing economies, historical and modern. First, what precisely do we know (and not know) about women's and men's work in pre-industrial economies? Second, why was women's and men's work the way it was in European history? Third, what do gender-specific work patterns imply for the wider economy and society? It then introduces the specific society — Württemberg, in southwest Germany — to be analysed in detail, and compares it with other societies of pre-industrial Europe. One benefit of a micro-study is the ability to generate unusual data out of everyday documents, so the final section of the chapter describes a database of gender-specific work observations compiled from church-court records and discusses the methodology that the book uses to distil quantitative findings out of qualitative data.
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