Wage differences between shop assistants in Barcelona (1920- 1930): building gender awareness?

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With this paper, we want to show the situation of wage discrimination in women in a
sector at a specific time and in a particular institution in the commercial assistance of
Barcelona between 1920 and 1930, and we will do so by using documents issued by an
institution, the Comisión Mixta del Trabajo en el Comercio de Barcelona (hereinafter
the Joint Committee or Comisión Mixta).
By examining these documents, we will check whether such wage discrimination
existed in the early-20s. We will examine the opinions of the components of the
Comisión Mixta and see what arguments were used to justify such discrimination.
Nevertheless, thanks to these documents we will see how the debate on the injustice of
wage discrimination emerged and how, finally, some members of the Comisión Mixta
chose to denounce it. Even so, such discrimination still appeared in recent documents
reviewed by the Comisión Mixta in the late 20s, particularly in the determination of
minimum wages in commerce. It should also be considered that the recommendations of the ILO advocated setting the principle of equal pay, as enshrined in the section on
labour rights of the 1919 Versailles Treaty.
With this, we want to show how fighting against gender pay discrimination was not
effective or efficient in the trade sector in Barcelona between the years 1920 and 1930.
In fact, it was minor. This will help us better interpret the situation of women's work in
post-World War I Barcelona and its trade.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-368
Number of pages20
JournalIusLabor 1/2018
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Joint Committee on Work in Trade in Barcelona
  • Salaries
  • Women


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