“To be employed in the Company’s work”: Women working with and against the English East India Company

Aske Laursen Brock (Lecturer)

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Women generally lacked formal opportunities within the East India Company, though some did find formal work as hotpressers, dyers or petty victuallers. However, women were also integral in the networks that constituted the companies, both in England and in Asia. The private networks, encouraged by the East India Company’s semi-decentralised structure, allowed, and even necessitated, otherwise disenfranchised agents, such as women, to filter into their knowledge base, which, perhaps inadvertently, improved the companies’ performances. However, the role women held in large overseas companies in the period before the financial revolution have generally been under-appreciated in the existing historiography. Based on a database consisting of more than 1,200 female petitioners to the English East India Company, 1600-1759, this paper examines how women worked with and against the company in the seventeenth century.
Period14 Nov 201915 Nov 2019
Event titleWorking Women in Pre-Industrial Europe: Perspectives on the Gendering of Urban Labor Markets
Event typeConference
LocationLeuven, Belgium
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Gender
  • Labour
  • Global
  • Digital humanities