Governing Women in Capitalism on Three Continents
Kari Zimmerman’s paper on women’s patent applications in nineteenth-century Brazil argues that women used the protections of 1850’s Commercial Code to position themselves as entrepreneurs. Bernardita Escobar’s focus is also on patents, but in twentieth-century Chile women rarely received patents, maneuvering instead on the borders of state-protected security. Zimmerman and Escobar both find that gendered family claims framed access to patent protection and economic autonomy. Lindsay Keiter’s study of early South Carolina family trusts argues that increasingly sophisticated investments reinforced women’s economic subordination within marriage. Reconsidering family economic strategies and the state through another tool—U.S. Reconstruction Finance Corporation loans—Edie Sparks finds Great Depression-era government surprisingly receptive to marginal female building owners. In contrast, Shennette Garrett-Scott argues, black women after the Civil War faced exploitative informal and formal financial institutions that proved hostile to black women’s borrowing, saving, and investing Finally, Corinna Schlombs details what happens when entrepreneurs from one capitalist culture (IBM) are forced to confront a new state’s (Germany) legal structuring of gendered marketplaces.
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