The emergence of the housewife in the Netherlands over the period 1812–1922 was
strongly influenced by the social norm that women should withdraw from the labour
market on the eve of marriage. Adherence to this norm is most clearly reflected in the
emergence of the housewife among the lower classes, especially at the close of the
nineteenth century among wives of farmers. Women in urban municipalities,
however, set the norm far earlier and differences across social classes were significantly
greater in towns than in rural areas. Paradoxically, the rise of the housewife did
not change work pressures for lower-class women.