What were the effects of the Industrial Revolution on the working class, especially on the women and children?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Industrial Revolution had a huge impact on the working class. When the Industrial Revolution began, workers started to work in factories. The working conditions were very poor. They worked long hours, had low pay, and worked in unsafe and, sometimes, unhealthy environments. If a worker was injured on the job or became sick, there was little or no assistance offered. The work environment changed dramatically from the small, worker-friendly environment of the days before the Industrial Revolution.

Women were impacted in several ways. Some women went to work in these factories. The factories were dimly light and poorly ventilated. At times, fire escapes were locked because managers feared women were taking longer than scheduled breaks. Men, who could be very overbearing, usually supervised them. For women who didn’t work in the factories, they had to often take in piecemeal work to help make ends meet. Their husbands were gone for 10-12 hours a day. The women had to make sure the needs of the children were fulfilled. It was very difficult for women whether they did or didn’t work in the factories.

Kids were also impacted. Some kids worked in the factories for long hours and low pay. Since there were no compulsory education laws, kids didn’t have to be in school. Kids would often be unsupervised and get into trouble with other kids or with the law. Some kids had to help their families by taking in piecemeal work. They lived in overcrowded conditions where disease and crime were common. It was a very difficult situation for the kids. The Industrial Revolution was very hard on the working class.