What effect did industrialization have on women in the 1800s?

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Industrialization radically changed the life of people in the early nineteenth century. It had effects not only on men, but also on women.

One consequence of industrialization was that work for families was no longer only to be found in their home; but people began to seek employment outside of their homes, usually in factories. Home and work began to develop into separate entities. This opened up a new opportunity for women: while women up to this point had mainly stayed at home, running the household and raising the children, industrialization gave women the chance to work outside their house and to earn money in their own right. No longer was it just the men that went out to work: women were now able to contribute to their family’s finances, too. Sadly, salaries were not payed fairly across the genders, and women were paid a lot less than men.

A negative effect of industrialization on women, on the other hand, was that some of the traditional women’s work, such as spinning, was being increasingly replaced by machines. The invention of the spinning jenny, for example, made the work of spinners increasingly redundant, as work that before would have required several spinners could now be done with just one machine instead, thus saving employers having to pay wages.

As working conditions were often extremely harsh, with long working hours and frequent exposure to pollutants in the factories, such as fumes, health among people in the 1800s began to decline rapidly. This could also be seen as a negative effect of the industrialization on women, as it often had a bad effect on their health.

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