Poverty, Dependence and ‘Women’: Reading Autobiography and Social Policy from 1930s New Zealand
Cooper, Annabel; Molloy, Maureen
This essay explores the construction of ‘women’ in New Zealand during the 1930s, when the social legislation of the First Labour Government was being formulated and enacted. It examines the documentation produced by the legislative process in relation to the autobiographical texts of John A. Lee and Mary Isabella Lee, arguing that there are parallel conflicts in each set of texts. There is a series of double movements: the offer of the state’s protection to women is at the same moment a gesture of defence; ‘women’ are simultaneously constructed as ‘helpless’ and—not so overtly—as needing to be controlled.
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Rights Statement: © Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 1997
Keywords: poverty; gender; dependence; New Zealand history; autobiography; Mary Lee; John A. Lee
Research Type: Journal Article
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