“They Concern Themselves Most with It”: Women, Family, and Alcohol Retail in Early Modern Cape Town





women entrepreneurs, cape town, alcohol trade, women in business, women's history, Dutch history, women and family


This article explores women’s role in the alcohol trade in Cape Town between 1680 and 1795, particularly their use of social and symbolic capital against the background of their male counterparts’ activities. While these women are conspicuous due to their direct involvement in the alcohol trade, they, too, did so within a context of spousal cooperation and family involvement. Several men entered the trade because of marriage into an alcohol retail family, while in many cases, wives were heavily involved in their husbands’ entrepreneurial activities. Some families were involved in this trade over several generations, mostly through the female line. This paper demonstrates that the greater social and economic freedom accorded women in the Dutch Republic during this period also occurred in the colonial space, including Cape Town.


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How to Cite

Groenewald, Gerald. 2023. “‘They Concern Themselves Most With It’: Women, Family, and Alcohol Retail in Early Modern Cape Town”. Gender Questions 11 (2):18 pages . https://doi.org/10.25159/2412-8457/13234.



Received 2023-02-24
Accepted 2023-11-21
Published 2023-12-01