On Equal Terms? Membership in the Economic Society

Theresa Ann Smith

in The Emerging Female Citizen

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780520245839
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932227 | DOI:
On Equal Terms? Membership in the Economic Society

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This chapter focuses on the question of female admission to the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country in Madrid. The intense debate over women's admission to the Madrid branch spanned more than a decade, lasting from 1775, when the organization was founded, to 1786, when the king agreed to create a junta de damas, or women's auxiliary. An analysis of the arguments for women's membership in the organization suggests that even male members in favor of women's admission did not envision women as active participants. This chapter locates the discussion of women's place in the Economic Society and in society at large in the context of Spanish intellectuals' calls for national reform. It argues that intellectuals posited a status-specific definition of female citizenship. They differentiated between working-class women, who would serve the nation as producers, and elite women, who would be good consumers.

Keywords: Spain; women; admission; Economic Society; junta de damas; membership; intellectuals; reform; female citizenship; elite women

Chapter.  14984 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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