'The Widow, the clergyman and the reckless': women investors in England, 1830- 1914

Rutterford, Janette and Maltby, Josephine (2006). 'The Widow, the clergyman and the reckless': women investors in England, 1830- 1914. Feminist Economics, 12(1-2) pp. 111–138.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13545700500508288


Modern historians infrequently acknowledge that women were financial investors before the twentieth century. Yet a study of nineteenth-century England shows substantial groups of women investing for income, capital growth, or a share in the family business. This article will summarize the evidence for women as investors and consider why their participation has been until recently largely ignored by scholars. Second, it will analyze the forms taken by women's investment, exploring the extent to which the development of the stock market and legal changes in married women's property rights facilitated a growing female role in investment. Third, it will analyze the objectives and needs of the three main groups of women investors: speculators, income-seekers, and family investors. The findings have implications for understanding the economic position of women before the First World War and also for contemporary discussion of women's wealth and investment.

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