Women's Role In The Industrial Revolution

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The Industrial Revolution in England brought about a major change to women’s roles in society. New job opportunities for women arose as the need for low-cost workers increased, and women could seek employment outside of their homes. There was a drastic change to the societal expectations of women before, during and at the end of the Industrial Revolution, with women being introduced to the workforce and eventually gaining more freedom as individuals. Before the Industrial Revolution, women were expected to remain at home and care for their children. They had little legal rights and were economically and socially dependent on their husbands. Essentially, women had no legal identity apart from their husbands. In the 18th century, it was common…show more content…
This was due to the fact that there were not enough men to occupy low-paying jobs, and women were cheaper to employ. Many started working in textile factories, as seamstresses, and even in the mines. Working conditions in general during the Industrial Revolution were horrendous, but especially so for the women. They earned less than half of what men did and had to deal with mistreatment from their male superiors. However, despite this, women were given many new opportunities to contribute to society during the Industrial Revolution. "A woman's ability to earn a wage and retain those earnings was one of the most important transformations wrought by new machinery" (Zlotnick, pg 16). So, despite poor working conditions and salary, the Industrial Revolution still caused women to become a more active part of the workforce as well as become independent outside of their husbands. Even during the Industrial Revolution, women began demanding more rights. In the early 1800’s, they were not allowed to continue school after grammar school. In 1818, a woman named Emma Willard made an appeal to New York Legislature demanding they fund education. Thomas Jefferson supported her, and she was given $4000 to fund her school. Later, female colleges were established. This and other strides made towards equality during the Industrial Revolution were likely influenced by…show more content…
Events that occurred during the Industrial Revolution led to women gaining higher positions of power in both society and the workplace. By 1833, 56.8% of workers in Britain were women, over half of the population (Mitchell, pg 167). There was also a small but steady rise in the percentage of female commercial business owners. In Manchester 1788 8.9% of commercial business owners were women, a number that rose to 12.1% in 1850 (Manchester

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