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Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen, Volume 2Society, Institutions, and Development$
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Kaushik Basu and Ravi Kanbur

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239979

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239979.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 April 2021

Death and Gender in Victorian England

Death and Gender in Victorian England

(p.259) Chapter 14 Death and Gender in Victorian England
Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen, Volume 2

Jane Humphries

Kirsty Mcnay

Oxford University Press

Amartya Sen has claimed that across the developing world, 100 million women are ‘missing’: presumed dead as a result of unequal access to survival-determining resources. Missing women also haunt past societies. Historians have shown that excess female mortality was widespread in certain age groups and postulated some of the same links from economic structure and opportunities, through social status, to disadvantage in survival that characterize today's poor countries. This chapter develops these themes in the context of Victorian England and Wales. Although male and female death rates were systematically related to economic, environmental, and cultural factors, these differed over the life cycle. In childhood and infancy, the sources of strain on males and females were similar, but by mid-life they had diverged. Thus, excess female mortality in the past appears more complexly related to the economic and social setting. Explanations of it need to take account of the gendered division of labour in both production and reproduction.

Keywords:   death, gender, Victorian England, Victorian Wales, childhood, infancy, female mortality, division of labour, production, reproduction

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