In what ways did factories and industrialization change men’s and women’s roles in the United States.In what ways did factories and industrialization change men’s and women’s roles in...

In what ways did factories and industrialization change men’s and women’s roles in the United States.

In what ways did factories and industrialization change men’s and women’s roles in the United States.

Asked on by kguidry39

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Before industrialization, men and women usually worked together on the farm. They shared the work, and each contributed to the working of the farm. Although there was specific work the men did and specific work then women did, the duties were intertwined. Life was hard, but they did it together. Everyone worked in the home and farm. After industrialization, the family moved off the farm to the city. There was no longer one isolated family out on a farm, driving to town every once in while. Now, there were many families crammed together in often unsanitary conditions. The men now went off to work while the women stayed in the cramped home. On the farm, women planted gardens and tended chickens. They contributed food to feed the family. In the city, the men worked for wages, brought the money home and gave some to the woman to buy food.
brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Remember that many of the progressives who were active in the causes of immigrant rights, and working conditions in factories were women.  Women from the middle class became more politically active in this time, an important precursor to women's voting rights that was taking place state by state in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

At the same time, millions of women were working sweatshop jobs, especially in the textile industries.  Without this experience and change in gender roles, women would perhaps not have played so prominent a role in American industry during World War I, which was a major factor in securing passage of the 19th Amendment.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The most important impact that this had was to contribute to the idea that there were "separate spheres" for men and women.  Industrialization helped bring about the idea that men should go out and work for money and that women should stay home, out of the public/economic sphere.

Before industrialization, the majority of households had men and women working together on farms.  They did different work, but both were equally important in economic terms.  Both produced things that were for home consumption and things that were sold for money.  This meant that there was much less of an idea that women and men should occupy separate spheres in life.

With industrialization came the idea of separate spheres.  Women no longer did work that was economically important (in any obvious ways) to their families.  This helped bring about the idea that women were not fit to function in the world outside the home, the world in which money was made.  This attitude has remained with us until relatively recent times (and you can argue it is somewhat present even today).

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