Monday, July 02, 2018

When women and children moved into the workforce

Concurrent with the hardening of class lines came an enormous increase in the employment of women and children in industry. The new machinery, particularly in the manufacture of textiles, made their labor more profitable than in the old days; for a premium was now placed on quickness and agility rather than on strength. Tying broken threads and tending looms was not hard labor from the standpoint of sheer muscle, and most tasks of this description could be done more easily by women and by children than by men. The results were unfortunate. Women, drawn from their homes, competed with men in the labor market, thus depressing the wage scale; and children placed in factories were unable to fend for themselves and were subjected to harsh and inhuman treatment.

(from A History of England and the British Empire)

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