Women and Credit in Pre-Industrial Europe.

Women and Credit in Pre-Industrial Europe.

Elise M. Dermineur (ed.)
Brepols, 2018

This collection of essays aims to address the role and involvement of women in credit transactions in early modern Europe.

That women made economic contributions to their households in the management, care, and sale of livestock and farm products, and in the production of textile items, is incontrovertible. But the significance and extent of their larger economic role has been neglected, especially when it comes to financial exchange and credit. Gender, as a category of historical analysis, is often absent from the concern of economic historians. And yet, women’s role, not only as creditors but also as debtors, was significant, and informs us not only about the mechanisms of the local economy but also about patriarchy and gender within the community.

For the most part, however, we are still fundamentally ignorant of the extent of women’s capacity to lend and borrow, of gendered practices related to credit, of women’s access to credit, of the impact of female involvement in credit networks traditionally dominated by men, and of the effects of female participation in the economic life of their household and community.

One of the main objectives of this book is to compare and discuss women’s participation in credit markets and highlight the characteristics, common mechanisms, similarities, discrepancies, and differences across various periods of time and regions.

In this books, expertsexamine these issues and bring answers to questions such as: What was the extent of female credit capacity in terms of lending and borrowing? How did women participate in credit exchange in practice? Did specific legal, social, political and economic contexts both influence and have a greater impact on female participation and access in credit markets? What did female participation in the credit market mean for households and the community, especially with reference to the paradigm of patriarchy? Were women empowered by credit? How did women experience the transition to capitalism in terms of credit access and allocation?