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Mainstreaming Co-OperationAn Alternative for the Twenty-First Century?$
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Anthony Webster, Linda Shaw, Rachael Vorberg-Rugh, and Rachael Vorberg-Rugh

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719099595

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719099595.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 14 October 2019

‘The unit of the co-operative movement … is a woman’: gender and the development of the co-operative business model in Britain

‘The unit of the co-operative movement … is a woman’: gender and the development of the co-operative business model in Britain

Chapter:
(p.90) 6 ‘The unit of the co-operative movement … is a woman’: gender and the development of the co-operative business model in Britain
Source:
Mainstreaming Co-Operation
Author(s):

Rachael Vorberg-Rugh

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719099595.003.0006

This chapter traces the growth of Rochdale model consumer co-operatives in nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain, highlighting the ways in which gender shaped, complicated, and sometimes constrained co-operative development. The chapter explores the gendered division of labour and its impact on the developing movement, which politicised household consumption which was mostly performed by women. Subsequent sections highlight women’s economic importance to the movement as consumers and explore the barriers to women’s participation, arguing that despite the movement’s commitment to gender equality in membership, women’s consumer power did not translate to high levels of female membership and participation in co-operative leadership in this period.

Keywords:   Co-operative movement (UK), History, Rochdale Pioneers, Women’s Co-operative Guild, Gender, Consumers, Working classes, Business model, Membership, Leadership, Education

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