Women Mean Business showcases New Zealand’s nineteenth-century urban businesswomen to reveal that they were more numerous than usually imagined and were engaged in an extraordinary variety of enterprises.
They range from hard-working milliners and dressmakers, teachers, boarding-house keepers and laundresses to colourful publicans, brothelkeepers and travelling performers, along with the odd taxidermist, bootmaker and butcher – and Australasia’s first woman chemist.
In this fascinating and entertaining book, award-winning historian Dr Catherine Bishop showcases many of the individual businesswomen whose efforts, collectively, contributed so much to the making of urban life in New Zealand.
Dr Catherine Bishop grew up in Whanganui. She completed her first degree at Victoria University in Wellington, before working as a maths teacher, bookseller and mother in the UK and Australia. She finished her Ph.D at the Australian National University in 2012 and now lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. Her first book, Minding Her Own Business: Colonial businesswomen in Sydney, won the prestigious Ashurst Business Literature Prize in 2016. She currently holds a research fellowship funded by the Australian Research Council at Macquarie University, where she is writing a history of women in business in twentieth-century Australia. The research for Women Mean Business was assisted by a New Zealand History Trust Award.