Women in the fan industry

Sexual division of labour

Gender and clothing

Gender and space

Traditionally, fan workshops were run by men, known as master fanmakers. They were responsible for the financial management of the company and the ribbing process, cutting out, printing and painting the leaf, and the part corresponding to the polishing and final varnish. Women were assigned the more laborious tasks, such as sanding the ribs by hand. In fact, prior to mechanization, women made up the bulk of the employees in the old workshops, although they also performed jobs related to sewing, such as the fabric, lace, sequins, embroidery and decoration, and lastly, assembly and finishing touches on the fan. However, in the final third of the 20th century, the trade of master fanmaker ceased to be the sole province of men. During this period, female master fanmakers began to emerge, business owners with their own workshops and artists responsible for such important aspects as the painting, decoration and lacework.