Women Emerge as Members of the Working Class

Women in our society are slowly seeing a decrease in inequality they face in the workforce. People crowd the streets to join in women’s rights marches, and sign petitions calling for equality. Where differences lie, discrepancy is bound to follow. In a day and age where we see women gaining power in the workforce, economics, and politics, I often wonder where these feelings of injustice started.

The constant calling for equality left me scrounging for answers. I understand that the issue is there, but what got the ball rolling, and set women off in a hurry to flee from their traditional roles? Many times I talked with my grandparents who shared stories passed on from generations before. Nearly every time, I heard the words: “life was much simpler back then.” Women stayed home to clean and look after the children, while men went away to work, or toiled in the fields to provide for the family. This was the way it had been for years, and gender inequality was not the issue we face today.

I’m not one to let a little curiosity slip by without digging deeper. As we know, the United States had a woman as a presidential candidate, and sees numerous marches, riots, and movements taking place as an outcry for change in gender equality. The International Labor Organization, notes in this article that the global gender gap has decreased steadily in the past years. Therefore, it is evident that there has been an active and consistent calling for gender equality.

Ironically, Industrialization brought an abundance of jobs to the cities. Women moved alongside their families to the cities, and began to fill the same jobs as their husbands. The Great Britain Parliamentary Papers reveal that women were allowed to “perform the same kinds of underground work, and work for the same number of hours, as boys and men.” These papers provide some insight to many experiences of young girls and women. Many girls worked side-by-side with naked men, took the opportunity for sexual activity, were exposed to foul language, and lacked religious instruction.

Though Industrialization took in women primarily to fill additional spaces of labor, it forever changed the role of women. Women realized this inequality, and quickly adjusted to life outside of the traditional setting. They were no longer satisfied as mothers and wives alone. The Industrial revolution also separated them from religious teachings which would explain why the ladies of today tend to be more independent of men (we see this in the Feminist movement, etc..). This was certainly not a common practice of the Christian faith, which prevailed in England for many years. The addition of women into the workforce during industrial times ignited a social change which has ripped like a wildfire across the globe, and continues to burn the ways of the past.

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