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The 'New Women' of late nineteenth-century Britain were seen as defying society's conventions. Studying this phenomenon from its origins in the 1870s to the outbreak of the Great War, Gillian Sutherland examines whether women really had the economic freedom to challenge norms relating to work, political action, love and marriage, and surveys literary and pictorial representations of the New Woman. She considers the proportion of middle-class women who were in employment and the work they did, and compares the different experiences of women who went to Oxbridge and those who went to other universities. Juxtaposing them against the period's rapidly expanding but seldom studied groups of women white-collar workers, the book pays particular attention to clerks and teachers and their political engagement. It also explores the dividing lines between ladies and women, the significance of respectability and the interactions of class, status and gender lying behind such distinctions.