Women & Industrial Workers During Industrialization

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Women and Industrial Workers during Industrialization

As new ideas form, the need for more efficient routines increases and the intensity for economical ways of conducting business swells; industrialization becomes inevitable in any country, society or even household. This craving for development changed agriculture, factories and mining excessively from 1877 to 1920. Considering the different areas that were affected it is only logical that various groups were also changed. Since women were already hard working individuals in the home, they altered industrialism by taking on the workforce with literacy. While industrial workers shifted from farming, to mining, and eventually factories. The outright desire to grow, transform and produce engulfed the U.S. with force.

Industrialism kicked off with agriculture. Women contributed by maintaining the household. They also made money on the side by cooking, sewing, or doing laundry. Mary McNair Mathews, for example, “worked as a teacher, nurse, seamstress, laundress, and lodge-house operator.” (Roark et al. 524). As agriculture dwindled and factory work became all the rage, women were recruited to be textile mill workers. Unfortunately this new occupation came with long hours and shameful pay. “In 1890, the average working woman was twenty-two and had been working since the age of fifteen, laboring twelve hours a day six days a week and earning less then $6 a week.” (Roark et al. 590). This is a perfect example of how industrialism may have given the working woman more employment opportunities, but still restricted them from equal rights.

By 1890 women transitioned from domestic work, to factory work and then to the office. This made industrial capitalism effortless because it expanded business and created more management, office and department store positions. With this the use of the typewriter and cash register became a main aspect of women’s work in the 1880’s. Being hired as secretaries, typewriters,...
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