This volume explores how the classical economists explained the status of women in society. As the essays show, the focus of the classical school was not nearly as limited to the activities of men as conventional wisdom supposed. The contributors explore their insights and how they illuminate contemporary economic debates regarding women's status. The classical school specified a number of fundamental research themes which have since dominated how economists approach this topic. A sophisticated response was developed to the question: why is it that in all human societies women have suffered a lower status than that enjoyed by men? Those who theorized on the question are covered here and include: Poulain de la Barre, John Locke, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Nicolas and Sophie de Condorcet, Jeremy Bentham, Priscilla Wakefield, Jean-Baptiste Say, Nassau Senior, John Stuart Mill, Harriet Taylor Mill, Harriet Martineau, William Thompson and Anna Wheeler. Economists interested in the history of their discipline as well as women's studies scholars from history, philosophy and politics should find this an enlightening volume.
Non-technical in nature, it should also appeal to anyone interested in how economists have explained the economic and social status of women.