Women And The Welfare State Essay
State-Sponsored Work for Women
In May 1790, the French National Assembly created spinning workshops (ateliers de filature) for thousands of unemployed women in Paris. These ateliers disclose new aspects of the process which transformed Old Regime charity into revolutionary welfare initiatives characterized by secularization, centralization, and entitlements based on citizenship. This study is the first to examine women and the welfare state in its formative period, at a time when modern concepts of human rights were elaborated.
Under the Old Regime, various governmental and religious institutions funded distribution centers where women could pick up raw materials to spin thread at home. But the Revolutionary legislators preferred to put women workers together in a common site where they could be supervised, rather than dispersed around the city. The year II Transformation of work, welfare, and citizenship
Lisa DiCaprio traces three main phases in revolutionary approaches to these workshops. During the first liberal phase from 1790 to 1792, administrators struggled to find a way to make welfare pay for itself as they introduced economizing measures borrowed from private industry. Commercial viability proved an impossible goal. However, during the…