Tidsskriftet Kulturstudier
Tidsskriftet Kulturstudier

Tidsskriftet

Det er artiklens primære målsætning at påvise eksistensen af kvinde- og børnearbejde i skoven. Mange fotografier og erindringer henviser til dette arbejde, men vi ved reelt intet om omfanget. Her er gjort et forsøg på at beskrive og kvantificere kvinders og børns arbejde ved produktionen af planter på Hedeselskabets plan- teskole i Birkebæk i perioden fra 1890 til 1932 ud fra betalingslisterne i planteskolens regnskaber. Oplysningerne heri er suppleret med erindringsbeskrivelser og fotografier.
Da kvinder og børn ikke er nævnt direkte i regnskabsmaterialet, er omfanget af deres arbejde undersøgt ved at se på lønsatsen for dag- eller timeløn og sammenligne den med de sparsomme statistiske oplysninger om lønningerne i denne periode. De høje satser blev udbetalt for mændenes arbejde, de lavere for kvinders og børns. Derefter blev dage og timer fordelt på de enkelte grupper; mænd, store drenge, kvinder og børn. Regnskabsposterne oplyser, hvilken opgave der blev udført, og heraf er det muligt at udlede, at de vigtigste opgaver for kvinder og børn havde med udprikling og lugning at gøre, dvs. de monotone opgaver, som foregik ved jorden i dårlige arbejdsstillinger. Mændene tog sig af det fysisk hårdere arbejde som jordforberedelse og kørsel.
Resultatet af undersøgelsen er et større kendskab til arbejdsfordelingen mellem kønnene. Kvinder og børn har udgjort en meget vigtig arbejdskraft i planteproduktionen, men det reelle omfang er stadig ukendt, da tallene heri udelukkende
viser en lokal situation.

English summary

It is the aim of this study to document the existence of women and children working in the forest. A number of photos and memoirs mention this kind of work, but in reality we do not have much knowledge of the type and extent of this work. Here, a qualified attempt is made at describing and quantifying the work of women and children in producing forest plants at a nursery in Birkebæk, owned by Hedeselskabet (The Danish Heath Society) during the period 1890-1932. This is done by examining the wage accounts. Women and children are not mentioned specifically by name, but their share of the work may be gauged by looking at the wage levels. The days and hours enumerated at low pay represent the amount of work performed by women and children. To ensure that this was actually the case, wages in the accounts were compared to the few scraps of local information available and to the statistical information on wage levels.
From the accounts may be seen that the work was strictly divided on the basis of sex and age. Men did the heavy work, such as handling the horses (ploughing, harrowing and transport work) and preparing the soil (digging and fertilizing), whilst the main tasks for women and children was weeding out and transplanting the small plants, tasks that included monotonous work in very bad working postures and requiring small hands and lots of patience. This is also borne out by contemporary photos: Women and children down on their knees weeding out while men are performing the same job but in an upright position, using a hoe or a rake.
The results of the study confirm that women and children have been important as a workforce in the nurseries. Unfortunately, the true extent of their work has yet to be discovered. Other studies will have to show if the situation was the same in most nurseries all over Denmark in this period – which by the author’s recollection is the most likely.