Female Mill Workers…How Similar Were Their Experiences?
With the dawn of industrialization Production’s most valuable resource was not raw materials, but time. The steam engine allowed vast amounts of goods to be created cheaply, and so it was ultimately decided by the workers how much was produced; rather than their work being limited by their materials it was limited by their speed. And so, efficiency, that is producing as much as possible as fast as possible, became the factory owner’s first priority. Because of their need for labor they employed females on a scale unlike any other time in history. Two examples, England and Japan, show the universal dilemmas of this mentality. Low wages for maximum profit, long working hours, and the harsh nature of the work, was common for both societies. Despite being practically hemisphere apart, both groups of women were subjugated to unfair practices as greed transcends borders. Despite working the same job for the same period of time, women were paid substantially less than men, and even men were paid very little. However, as industrial life replaced rural life families became smaller and less money had to be dedicated to food. Under this system families and women had a substantially better relationship with their boss then they would have had under their feudalistic past where what little income they had was directed back towards the lord. Compared to the iconic “9 to 5” most Americans have come to know, the working hours of women in both England and Japan were severe; in fact, a more appropriate approximation would be “5 to 9”, as days would start early and end far later. However, this did not seem to bother both groups of females as it was not so much the longevity of their work as it was their lack of adequate pay. During the long work shift in the textile industry women made up the large majority in both English factories (anywhere from63% to 96%) and Japanese factories (92%) and seeing a man was rare. Because...
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