robinson-regenderinglabour-2003.pdf (1.92 MB)
Re-gendering labour: class and gender determinants of New South Wales electoral behaviour 1930-32
journal contributionposted on 2003-11-01, 00:00 authored by Geoffrey RobinsonGeoffrey Robinson
Historians have neglected tbe impact of female enfranchisement on Australian electoral outcomes. This papers employs multivariate analysis to explore electoral behaviour in New South Wales during the Great Depression. It argues that women were less prone to support Labor than men, but that women in paid employment constituted a partial exception to this pattern. In 1932 the conservative parties significantly eroded Labor's working-class support. Part of this success was due to the ability of employers to coerce workers with the threat of dismissal. Female wage earners were particularly vulnerable to this coercion. Conservative electoral appeals recast masculinity in terms of family responsibility rather than class assertion. Conflict in the household economy possibly influenced women to vote against Labor due to its identification with the cause of male breadwinners. Overall female voting behaviour was more stable than that of men and this despite the higb profile of issues that would have been expected particularly to influence female voters.