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The business activities of Jewish women entrepreneurs in medieval England

Reva Berman Brown (Oxford Brookes University Business School, Oxford, UK)
Sean McCartney (University of Essex, Colchester, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 November 2001



Recounts how medieval English Jewry began when Jews were invited to immigrate by William I and ended with their expulsion by Edward I in 1290. The Jewish community was important and for most of its existence it was prosperous, owing to its particular social function – being the bankers, moneylenders and financiers of the time. Concentrates on a relatively little known aspect of the medieval Jewish community: the role played by its women. Jewish women played a significant part in business, not just as the wives or widows of businessmen, but as entrepreneurs on their own account. This was in sharp contrast to the position of women in wider English society. Using contemporary documents, the article examines the scale and nature of the business activities of Jewish women in medieval England, sketches the activities of some of these female entrepreneurs, and attempts to investigate the factors which enabled them to play such a prominent role.



Berman Brown, R. and McCartney, S. (2001), "The business activities of Jewish women entrepreneurs in medieval England", Management Decision, Vol. 39 No. 9, pp. 699-709.




Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited

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