Factory Women Essay

This essay has a total of 933 words and 4 pages.

Factory Women

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, women have made great strides towards equality.
The 19th century saw the emergence of women entering the work force, gaining economic
freedom, starting and participating in movements and most importantly, challenging the
traditional and excepted role of women. Along the path for women’s social and
economic freedom, there were many detours and barriers, as well as exceptional
opportunities for their advancement.

The first major step for women was the emergence into the work force and thus challenging
the accepted female gender role in society. They left their families, homes and friends
to venture into the working world, leaving behind a safe-haven. Women entering the work
force had its advantages and disadvantages. One problem that arose was the matter of the
family. If a mother left her children to go work to help support the family, she was
looked down upon by society as a bad mother. The father was also, more than likely, looked
down upon as well for not being able to sufficiently provide for his family. This is
probably why many mothers were hesitant to enter the workforce for fear of social
humiliation. But many women saw this as the only way to properly provide for her
children. If the husband was a heavy drinker or gambler, there were little alternative
opportunities for the mother to provide for her family.

Many women found jobs in locally on farms or in mills, or they ventured to large cities
for factory and millwork. Many of theses women were unmarried and they gained independence
from their families by going to work. The women worked long, hard hours six to seven days
a week and had little time for leisure outside of their home. By working, they were given
the rare opportunity of economic freedom and independence from males.

The working conditions in these mills or factory were far from the desired conditions with
low pay, long hours and harsh working conditions. Complaints of working conditions arouse
in several mills and the female workers wanted a change. The workers organized groups
during breaks or at their homes. Many of the workers lived together in company homes and
it would be easy for them to converse on the conditions in the workplace. Because of the
tight living quarters, one was expected and socially forced to cohere with the majority
opinion. This could be both a positive and a negative force for the women. Social
pressure tends to gathered large numbers, but this could have given rise to irrational
thinking and unnecessary action. When in a large group, ideas and thoughts have a tendency
to be viewed as less harmful than they would if suggested in a small group. The more
people involved, the more chance ideas have a way of being accepted out of fear of being
outcast by the larger group. This could have been a major barrier for these workers,
although, little is mentioned on this aspect. For the most part, the large numbers
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