Assignment #4

Zabbatino, Daniela

The equality of gender roles of men and women in the workforce and household changed greatly throughout the industrial revolution, especially in the United States.

The Industrial Revolution was one of the greatest historical transition periods. It originally started in Britain, however eventually made its way to the United States of America within a few decades. New manufacturing processes were introduced, and steam and water power were being more efficiently utilized.

Prior to this event, many people lived in the rural areas of the country. Farming was a very popular job for most families as it was a reliable source of income since people always needed food. However, once Industrialization occurred, many more job opportunities opened up for people. Naturally, families began to move to where the better jobs were and where the money was, which in this case was in large city areas. This trend of people moving from rural areas to the cities is called urbanization.

When working on the farm, both the men and women shared the responsibilities of the work equally. Yes they had different jobs, however they intertwined often. The work the women did on the farm was valued just as much as a mans at this point. However, after the industrial revolution, the jobs of men and women became two entirely separate spheres. In the big cities, men would go out and work tedious jobs, while the women stayed home with the children and took care of them, as well as cooked and cleaned. Unfortunately this was only the case if the family was in the upper middle class. If the family was poor, or the lower middle class, many times women would also be sent out into the factories as well as children if they were that desparate. There was a societal shift here that caused a split in the working worlds of men and women. Unfortunately it started some trends that still affect us today: for example, unequal wages. Men and women became seen as separate entities during this period and a male’s work was considered to be more valuable to a boss then a woman’s as she was paid much less. What started here has only grown into a bigger problem with time as women are still fighting for equal pay and respect.

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