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What effect did the industrial revolution have on gender roles at home/workplace?

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christie2012 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted April 19, 2013 at 8:32 PM via web

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What effect did the industrial revolution have on gender roles at home/workplace?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 19, 2013 at 8:47 PM (Answer #1)

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In general, the coming of the Industrial Revolution led to a situation in which women became more subjugated to men and were allowed to have less contact with the public sphere.  The idea about gender roles that arose from the Industrial Revolution is sometimes called the idea of “separate spheres.”

Before the Industrial Revolution, most work occurred at home and everyone in the family worked together as a unit.  There was very little distinction, if any, between work and home or between economic activity and non-economic activity.  For this reason, women were seen as part of the economic unit and had a role that was not too dissimilar to that played by men.

As the Industrial Revolution progressed, this changed.  Work came to be something that was performed away from home.  The ideal was that women would not work outside the home.  They would stay home and perform work that was not paid.  This meant that there came to be the sense that women belonged at home and outside the economic sphere while men belonged outside the home in the economic world.

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