Through Eyes in the Storm: Aspects of the Personal History of Women Workers in the Industrial Revolution
29 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2005
Date Written: April 1994
Women's experience of child labor in factories in early nineteenth century England may have increased their psychological susceptibility, both in life-cycle and social-historical trajectories, to non-wage earning roles as mothers. This paper uses as a primary source an official examination into the punishment of a ten-year old female factory worker. From this text arises an interrelated collection of stories - the story of that girl and her mother in a psychological and relational struggle under the circumstances of their lives, an alternative story of how other girls coped, and an account of how these personal dynamics fit into the broader social history of women in nineteenth century England. This history offers important insights into the effect of deprivation and brutality on the development of gender.
Keywords: Industrial revolution, factory workers, child labor, child labour, division of labor, division of labour, women, girls, gender, discrimination, human capital, cotton, factories, England
JEL Classification: I28, I31, J13, J16, N33, N43, N63, O1
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