I received a nice surprise when I arrived home last night. Propped up next to my door was a box containing my copy of a new book by Ashgate Publishing containing an article of mine.
The book, Women in Law and Lawmaking in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Europe, edited by Eva Schandevyl, is a collection of articles exploring “the recent feminisation of justice, its historical beginnings and the impact of gendered constructions on jurisprudence.” My contribution to the volume is an article based on my Master’s thesis. The article, titled “Arbitrating Class and Gender: Working-Class Women and Labour Arbitration in Tourcoing, 1848-1894,” examines the impacts of an 1848 reform that allowed male workers to elect and run to serve as representatives to the French labour arbitration boards known as the conseils des prud’hommes. The prud’hommes were essentially local arbitration boards first created in 1806 to provide France’s workers and employers with a means of settling minor workplace disputes through conciliation rather than resorting to collective action. Although women were not allowed to elect or run for positions on the board, they could access its services as plaintiffs or defendants. My chapter examines how the presence of male workers on the prud’hommes affected its rulings in cases concerning female workers. The article is a much shorter, more condensed version of my Master’s thesis, which I successfully defended in 2009 at the University of Ottawa.
This is my first publication, and working with Dr. Schandevyl on this project was a pleasure. For more information on the book, visit Ashgate Publishing’s website.