The working conditions for women in the late 19th century were exhausting, unjust and unacceptable. The working conditions varied depending on the position that each woman held. The managers of these factories expected near perfection from the women in the workplace and they were heavily fined or severely punished for anything they did that the managers did not see fit such as eating, talking, or singing.
The women that worked in the factories during this time period worked shifts that were twelve hours long each and every day. After their exhausting shifts they had to go home and also take care of their families just to wake back up and do it all over again the next morning. According to “For the Record,” if any of the women were late to their shift they would be locked out of the gate for two hours and docked two hours worth of pay.
Working in the factories was all too often unfair for the women. Women’s earnings were about one fifth of the of a man’s earnings for doing the same job for the same amount of time. The wages that women received were not only extremely unjust but the money they did receive was not nearly enough to live off of.
One example of the unacceptable rules and expectations of the factories presented by Shi and Mayer was: women that worked in the sewing factories had to pay for their own sewing machine and the money would be taken out of each of their pay checks until it was paid for. That’s not even the worst of concerns for these women. If anything should cause them to leave the factory such as sickness, exhaustion or any other reason she was made to forfeit the machine and all the money she put towards it.
These types of working conditions led to the formation of the Knights of Labor and other unions that tried to better wages and treatment of the women workers. Each factory subjected women to different types of rules and regulations but all in all the workplace for these women was exhausting, unjust and