The Industrial Revolution: Changing Role of Women

Women have always been seen as less and worthless unlike men who have always been seen as more superior. Because of this, men denied the rights to women. During the Industrial Revolution, women had a more difficult lifestyle in comparison to the men. Women were often mistreated and taken advantage of. Women weren’t considered as equal to men, therefore they were given very few rights. Unfortunately, the amount of rights they received weren’t enough to change their lifestyle. The Industrial Revolution changed most of the courses of human history.

All of this began in 1733. It was of great importance to the development of Britain in the late 18th and 19th centuries by the introduction of machinery. Not only did the Industrial Revolution bring inventions to Britain, but also in the article by Lauren Emory titled “The Industrial Revolution” it states “[It] [also] impacted many levels of British [societies].” For example, for the wealthy class the Industrial Revolution was a great advantage but for the lower classes of society such as “ . . . working class families, living standards increased,” states Lauren Emory in the article “The Industrial Revolution.”

This proves that the Industrial Revolution was a downfall for the lower class of society. During this industry every member of the family played a role between work and home responsibility. The work hours were severely long and harsh. Men found it very difficult to support a family but they were not alone, “ . . . One group that [was] considered rarely of industrialization . . .[was] the women” states Theresa M. McBride in the article titled “The Long Road Home: Women’s Work and Industrialization.” During the time of the Industrial Revolution, not only did women have very few rights but also the lives of women and children were very difficult.

For example, in the article “Library.Thinkquest.” it states “Factory owners needing cheap, unskilled labor profited by using children and women to run the machines.” This meant that since women and children weren’t as skilled as men the factory owners would take an advantage of this. Obviously women and children who had to work to help support their families had no choice but to work these awful jobs, and receive the low payments that the factory owners would pay them.

Either way, this didn’t affect the owners because the work would still get done. Therefore, the work for the women and children was still difficult because it was meant to be for the men, but what factory owners needed was workers who would work long hours and still receive low wages. Most of the time the children and women got sick because of the toxic fumes, others got injured, and some died. Women and children had it the most difficult because at that time the laws only protected the men.

The children on the other hand were considered to be equal to women by also having very few rights. One of the few rights women had and weren’t able to change at that time was their payment of low wages and their hazardous working conditions. During the Industrial Revolution women were forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day, not only separating them from their homes, but also paying them low wages. Women were often forced to work in filthy factories full of diseases. For example according to the article “Library.

Thinkquest” it states, “These [women] had no free time to do anything else and [still] earned severely low wages.” This meant that by having to spend most of their time working long hours every day, women didn’t have time for their family or house work and still received a low amount of pay. Other than receiving low wages the factories were filthy and not a single piece of protection gear was provided. This was the cause why many women got sick, got injured, and some actually even died especially because there wasn’t any help for them.

Women were not helped because the government only protected the factory owners and they were the ones who would decide to pay the women less. Meaning the very few rights they received were enough for them, but not enough to make a change. Many people believe that women had the appropriate amount of rights. They believe that women were treated as equal to men, that the only person’s job to help support the family was the husband’s job, and that there wasn’t any necessary for women to be asking for a change.

I understand their way of thinking and I’m certainly not anyone to say their way of thinking is wrong but during the Industrial Revolution the government didn’t consider women to be equal to men. Meaning that the problems women faced were harsh and wouldn’t change because the government wouldn’t’ take their way of thinking into consideration. For example in the article “Swirk” it states, “Employment opportunities for women were limited . . . [and] women were paid less than men.”

This meant women of the working class that had to work to help support their families had a more difficulty in finding jobs, although the wages were the same and remained low. Especially, the working class women had no choice to work long hours and still receive their low payment to help their families from starvation and make a living. Women weren’t considered equal to men so they still only received the few rights the government gave them.

These rights weren’t enough to change the life and discrimination of women. Women were robbed of their justice to live a happy and fair life. It was unfair how they were discriminated because of inequality even if they were given few “rights”. Sadly, those rights weren’t enough for their voices to be heard.