Abstract: Women and Investment in Urban Canada, 1869-1931

Peter Baskerville


Much of the literature that examines specific investments of women is based on qualitative and/or single asset information. What is required are studies over a longer time period that include analysis of as much of the women's portfolio as possible and that can then comment more fully on investment diversity and degree of speculative behavior. While such analyses should certainly be situated in the context of male investment behavior, they should avoid essentializing the woman investor and, instead, be sensitive to the fact that all women, and, indeed, all men, did not invest in similar ways. Such studies should also be sensitive to the fact that gender ideology, though an important context within which to situate investment behavior, was itself always evolving. Ideology interacts with, rather than simply restricts, behavior. Using probate evidence from two Canadian cities, this paper situates wealth holding of men and women in a comparative context with special attention on type of investment behavior and the gendered ideological context within which such behavior occurred.