Women and children provided some of the labor in the factories during the Industrial Revolution. Since there were no laws at this time requiring children to attend school, many children worked to help their family make ends meet. There were no minimum wage laws for any workers, so factory owners could pay workers whatever they wanted to pay them. Generally, women and children were paid less than men for the work they did. While some women worked to help their families earn money, other women worked because there were no other viable alternatives for them. Some women were also trying to save money for when they married.
Children were paid very little. For example, it was common for children to work about twelve hours a day or more, six days a week, and be paid one dollar. In one factory in Massachusetts, children were paid between 40 cents and $1.10 for one night’s work. Eventually, there were calls to pass laws to regulate child labor and require kids to attend school.
Women were also paid very little. In some of the factories in New England, women were paid between $3.00 and $3.50 per week. They would work twelve-hour days, six days a week.
Women and children were badly paid for the long hours they worked in very poor working conditions.