The Lowlands consist of both rural and urban, agricultural and industrial, areas. Within the Lowlands, regional differentiation is marked in part by divergent economic practice. Although the county of Lothian, for example, is predominantly industrial, East Lothian is known as "corn country" and possesses some of the most prosperous farms of the region, while the Borders are associated with sheep husbandry. Glasgow is the industrial heart of the region, with its economy centered on the busy Clyde docks. It is thus difficult to describe some overall Lowland Scots culture, tradition, or economy. Once known for having higher wages and greater economic opportunities than the rest of Great Britain, the area has suffered something of a decline since the middle of this century, and unemployment has led to significant out-migration. Its traditional industries include shipbuilding and coal mining, both of which have grown less prosperous in recent years. Newer industries include electronics. Women working outside the home can be found today in all fields, but in the past they were associated largely with the textile industries and domestic work. In agricultural regions, a greater division of labor by gender was to be found, with women traditionally occupied in hand weeding and reaping with the sickle; culturally they were prescribed from working with horses. In the Scottish Lowlands, as elsewhere in industrialized regions, there is a marked difference in wage levels for men and women, with women often earning substantially less than their male counterparts.
Scotland as a whole has long honored the idea of education and equal access thereto. Public education, once controlled by the churches, came more and more under the control of the state during the nineteenth century. Higher education is highly valued, and the universities of St. Andrews, Edinburgh, and Glasgow are of world renown. It was not until the last decade of the nineteenth century that women were legally granted full-status access to university-level education.