Womens Role Prior To Industrial Revolution

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Title: Women's roles prior to and during the evolution of the industrial revolution in England.

Introduction: Women prior to the industrial revolution were recognized as valuable contributors to the wealth of the nation, they were central in the textile and cheese making industry. This was to change drastically as the disappearance of "traditional" aspects of society evolved into the process called industrial revolution. New technology and capitalistic organization removed women from the primary role in production and deprived them of an accessible source of income. There was an abundant supply of unemployed women who became an exploitable pool of cheap labor. So women in need of income were subject to take low paying jobs in order to make a "living wage." By the 1830's the popular notion was that women's place was in the home making up a majority of domestic service. This allowed relations of difference and subordination between the women of different classes middle and working class to thrive. Isolated by these ideologies and rigid social class distinctions, the lower class began to resent the industrialist that employed them. Engaging in acts of carousing and debauched behavior that were rebellious social statements emphasizing the lower classes rejection of the hypocritical social restraint the middle class attained to, dividing the classes and women's roles for many decades following the early 1800's.

Leading up to the industrial revolution women worked everywhere, they worked as rural labors and servants .Women helped produce the nations food supply. Their skill in the dairy was "undisputed and universally acclaimed." The women also did the spinning, knitting, weaving, stitching, and lace making, that supported its own trade both domestic and foreign. This was based on the traditional Agrarian economy in which everyone worked the land together in common. This meant part of a community using a common field system. This however didn't turn a huge profit. It hardly produced enough for the people to survive. They weren't using their land to its full potential. For the families to survive the women had to pick up odd jobs on the side such as spinning and weaving. The women would also do something called gleaning. Gleaning was the taking of left-overs after the harvest for the private sell or use. This too became illegal after the industrial revolution The industrial revolution changed many things, the economy was growing as well as the population, increasing the prices for wheat, making it a more viable crop. This started the agriculture revolution. The big land owners and businessmen saw a potential to make lots of money. The common lands were inclosed making the use of it illegal. There was also consolidation of the land strips by large farm corporation. At the same time, the old two-thirds field rotations became obsolete. They then switched to the three field rotation, leaving no fallow land at any time of year. Thus, along with the new crops, tools, and new hybrid breeds of livestock brought and end to working the land in common. The land was now privatized and enclosed forcing many people off the only land they ever knew. Now people had to work for a wage economy. Where before they barely had enough sustenance to live on. Now working for wages they had even less.

The implications of this for the small farmer and women were great. They now found themselves having to travel to distant towns to work for meager wages. Single women or widowed women had the worst of it. They were no longer held in high esteem, and were competing with the men for what few jobs there were. The women had to rely on parishes or what they and their children could steal from the now enclosed land. This thrusting laboring women into a unflattering and often damaging limelight. The hard circumstances of their lives contributed to the deterioration of their public image Being of this poverty level these deserted women and girls did what was...
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