The Gender and Work database [GaW]: an infrastructure for historical research into work, gender and everyday life
At the centre of this project stands the GaW database [Gender and work]. The database was developed at the history department, Uppsala University, in collaboration with CEDAR (the Demographic Database) at Umeå University. GaW offers information on women’s and men’s work activities in Sweden between 1550 and 1799. As a rule, such information is hard to come by and its collection requires painstaking analysis of (usually handwritten) historical sources. The major part of the sources used for GaW consists of court records. Storing this information in a database that can be accessed free of cost on the internet allows for inter-subjective scrutiny and reuse of data. In this way, the information can be used to answer many different questions, not least about people’s everyday lives. The database is constructed so as to support analysis according to the verb-oriented method. A major result of such an analysis is that before 1800, marital status (whether a person was married or not) seems to have been highly important for what types of work s/he carried out, maybe even more important than gender. This project develops and improves the usefulness and visibility of the database by (i) increasing its geographic and chronological coverage, (ii) linking information on people’s work to information on their marital status and age, (iii) facilitating the invitation of young non-Swedish scholars to the GaW research environment.