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Historian to explore history of women workers


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A leading historian is set to explore the history of women workers at a guest lecture at Leeds Beckett University.

Professor Pamela Cox will be giving a public lecture titled ‘Servants, Shop Girls and Sex Work’ at Leeds Beckett’s Rose Bowl building on Wednesday 15 March from 5.30pm to 7pm.

Professor Cox is the current chair of the Social History Society and is an established authority on the subject of women’s history. She is the author of the book Bad Girls in Britain (2003), and has made two BBC mini-series, ‘Servants’ and ‘Shop Girls’.

The popularity of family history has focused attention on the lives of ordinary people. Many people will be descended from servants and shop workers because domestic service and retail were two of the most important forms of employment during the Victorian period. This, according to Professor Cox, means that ‘their history is our shared history’.

Professor Cox believes that this is especially true for women. She has found ‘new evidence that these trades sometimes offered a cover for sex work’. She believes ‘it’s really important that women’s stories are told because they highlight the huge contributions that they made as well as the personal costs’.

The lecture has been sponsored by the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities at Leeds Beckett.

Speaking ahead of the lecture, Dr Heather Shore, Reader in History at Leeds Beckett, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming Professor Cox to Leeds and the event provides as an opportunity to showcase the importance of history to our daily lives.”

Free tickets are available at http://leedsbeckett.ac.uk/pamcox

Professor Cox teaches and undertakes research across social history, social policy, socio-legal studies and criminology.

In 2014, she presented a BBC TWO series, ‘Shopgirls: The True Story of Life Behind the Counter’ tracing the history of Britain's shopworkers and consumer cultures from 1860 to the present. She has recently been involved in a number of events to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1974 Working Women's Charter.

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