Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Number of Pages
In 1842 the British Parliament passed the Mines and Collieries Act which excluded women from working in underground mines. The legislation created a gender based, industry-wide segmentation of labor that persisted in Great Britain and the United States for 130 years. Post-World War II social and legal changes created a context from which women reappropriated their choice to seek jobs as underground coal miners. Women's representation in the industry increased into the 1980s, peaking at between eight and eleven percent of the workforce, but by 1983 their numbers began to substantially deCline After the coal boom of the 1970s ended, hundreds of coal miners were layed off, accounting for much of the deCline But other women chose to leave the occupation; Although women continue to work underground, the occupation has been resegregated. How and why has that happened? The purpose of this study is to examine the dynamics of the original segregation of the coal industry by sex, its persistence, desegregation in the 1970s, and finally its resegregation. Experiences of women interviewed for this study raised the issue of choice. Coal company documents and oral interviews of women miners associated with the Orchard Valley Mine in Paonia, Colorado, raise the possibility that despite efforts by women and the industry, there are occupations that are appropriately sex segregated.
Choose; Coal; Colorado; Colorado1976; Her; Miners Paonia; Surely; Wench; Women; Women Workers; Work; Workers
Women's studies; Labor economics; Industrial relations
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Gearhart, Dona G, ""Surely, a wench can choose her own work!" Women coal miners in Paonia, Colorado, 1976-1987" (1995). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2995.