The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on Women

Topics: Factory, Industrial Revolution, Cotton mill Pages: 5 (1727 words) Published: June 19, 2013
Timothy Takacs
World History, CHY4U
Ms. Kazurak
June 17 2013

The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on Women

The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on Women
In the analyzing of history, the Industrial Revolution stands out like a beacon of light among the vast amounts of revolutions before it. It can be argued that the most drastic events in history are stepping-stones towards the Industrial Revolution: the most affective revolution towards liberty, and equality. In the aggressive pursuit for goods, the roles women played towards their family and their working contributions had dramatically changed. And although the change among women did not equalize them with men, it was the spark towards equality. The Industrial Revolution had a positive impact on women because it allowed women to move from a domestic sphere environment a public sphere environment, it allowed women to be more politically engaged, and due to independent wages, gave them a sense of independence.

Before the Industrial Revolution
Before the Industrial Revolution the status of women was bestowed as the status of their husband (Ushistory.org). Women of the nineteenth century in fact, had no independent status of their own; they were seen as weak and fragile, and played little role in the public sphere. The public sphere consisted of lawyers, doctors, builders, etc, whom all were comprised of men. This was an environment that was seen as violent and full of temptations which women, seen as weak and fragile, could not survive in. Therefore, the roles of women before the Industrial Revolution were placed strictly within the domestic sphere under her husbands’ protection, financial security, and social status (Ushistory.org). Although restricted to the domestic sphere, women played no little role in their domain. In which was later called the “women’s sphere”, women held all responsibilities within the house, which consisted of cleaning, cooking, childcare, and their womanly duties towards their husbands (Ushistory.org).

Before a higher demand of goods was needed, therefore before factories were built and before the Industrial Revolution approached, the productions of goods were dealt within the domestic sphere by women. Within an agricultural environment, women dealt with the bulk of the countries food supply (18). The entire management of the dairy, including the milking of cows and the making of butter and cheese, was in women's hands, and the women were also responsible for the growing of flax and hemp, for the milling of corn, for the care of the poultry, pigs, orchards and gardens (18). It was also a woman’s responsibility within the domestic sphere to nit clothes and cloths with fabrics sent to them by stores (18).

A life within the domestic sphere was an ideal ideology for a woman in pursuit of “true womanhood” (Lavender). The ideal of true womanhood had four characteristics any good and proper young woman should have: piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness (Lavender). To be piety, one must have had to have a strong belief in God, to be pure, one must have had to be a virgin, to be domestic, one must have always been morally uplifting and contempt in their piety and purity, and to be submissive, one must have always been a passive bystander, and submit to fate, to duty, to God and to men (Lavender).

During the Industrial Revolution
During the Industrial Revolution, as machinery was invented to replace hand tools and create a more productive means of the production of goods, women moved away from the domestic sphere and into the public sphere (Burnette). In the beginning of the Revolution, as factories first started to open, opening their doors to women due to their large demand for workings to run the factories; women for the first time had an opportunity to work outside of their homes in order to join the public sphere work force (Lastrina). During the beginning of the Industrial Revolution women completely dominated the...
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