Sociology Essay Example: Women in the Workplace

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At the time of the colonial period through to the time of the American Revolution women work was mainly centered on the home though the romanticizing of their domestic sphere happened in the early 19th century. During this time of the colonial period through to the American Revolution, the birth rate was high averaging to seven children per mother. During this early times, the wife worked alongside their husbands helping in running the household and working on the farm (Pinchbeck, 2014). The major part of a womans times in the household was to cook and also they were involved in making garments, weaving cloth, spinning yarn, mending and sewing clothes which took most of their time. Other women worked as servants or were either enslaved. Most of the women who were enslaved were captured from African and sold during the time of the slave trade. These women often did the same work men did working in the homes or the farm fields.

In the 18th century, America women were mostly engaged in agriculture where men were engaged in the agriculture labor while women did the domestic chores like care for the children, care the gardens and animals that lived near the house (Stearns & Walkowitz, 1974). During the harvest season, the women did not place in this activities, but only when the husbands were away, then they will take up the role of management. In cities, most of the families owned businesses, but still, the women were required to raise the children, cook, clean take care of the animal and prepare to clothe. Although sometimes they were forced to work beside their husbands helping in the activities in the business, for instance, taking care of customers. Many unmarried and divorced women worked as servants in other households although most of them were remarried quickly.

The time when women stayed at their homes without moving into the workforce was before the civil war. The women were expected to stay home and perform the domestic chores while the men were considered the bread winners. Although this was the case, this started to shift after the post-civil war where a sense of freedom began to take shape for women. This started on the 19th during the industrial revolution at a time when most of the families depended on agriculture for their livelihood. This industrial revolution began in New England spreading its wings to America which came with economic opportunities mostly in the developing mill towns and industrial cities. Most of the women in the urban and rural areas were engaged in the labor force. In the United States, the industrial revolution took charge in the 1840s and 1850s where women started working in the factories (Stearns & Walkowitz, 1974). By 1840, close to 10 percent of the workforce in American was occupied by women, and in the next ten years time, it had risen to 15 percent. One of the main industries that women started working in was the sewing industry that was established in the 1830s (Stearns & Walkowitz, 1974). This was because there was a belief that women were involved in hand sewing while at their homes and it could be much easier to adapt to this industry.

The experience of the immigrant and African American women was different in comparison to the American-born women of the white race. The aspect of industrialization was shaped by the rise of industrialization and gender definitions, but the African American faced a burden of ethnic and racial perception of discrimination. As the women labor workforce increase and expanded, many workers united to form an organization for labor reform for women. At the time of the civil war, the most of the women took over the management of the family farm lands while their husbands were serving in the army. During this time, industrialization had taken over from agriculture but still farming was crucial to the post-war South economy. The Industrial Revolution reformed the work circumstance for both men and women. Though the household had been the focal point of generation and family life, industrialization changed the emphasis of work to invention line. The part of women in the family workforce did not change overnight, however, for at first numerous families cooperated in industrial facilities as groups.

The real primary section of married women to the workforce came amid in 1914 during the World War I. Greenlees (2016) indicates that men went to battle the war, and the nation required specialists to assume control over the occupations they abandoned. Unmarried women were not adequate for the labor needs, so bosses began to welcome married women as well, to work. By 1920s, 25 percent of the women in the workforce were married. In any case, this was just the start. Another change World War I conveyed was the passage of women to the armed force. About 15,000 women enrolled in the United States Navy, for the most part doing administrative work the first women in United States history to be confessed to full military rank. According to Pinchbeck, I. (2014) during the mid-nineteenth century the male ideology of taking care of the family was partly occupied by women in the family. This developed as a result of challenges that were being experienced in the family.

World War II came in the mid-1940s. Men were drafted to battle, and America required specialists and supplies. Once more, the businesses looked towards the women for labor. Unmarried and married women were welcome to work, as had been done amid World War I. Yet at the same time, popular feeling was for the most part against the working of married women. The media and the administration began a wild publicity crusade to change this conclusion (Pinchbeck, 2014). The government told the women that triumph couldn't be accomplished without their entrance into the workforce. Working was considered some portion of being a decent native; a working wife was an energetic individual.

This change in women in the workforce kept thriving during the time that took after paving the way to the present day. Women turned into a free piece of the American labor drive and started to increase parallel rights. The greater part of the occasions that originate from the course of history has molded society's perspective of American women in labor constraint. An essential subject that these women have investigated is the inclination and energy of opportunity. Current American history is about flexibility and having approach opportunity and rights. On account of this belief system, while these women have effectively attempted to help shape America's labor constraint, they will keep being a dynamic part of improving the employment drive for all future women to come.



Brownlee, W. E., & Brownlee, M. M. (1976). Women in the American economy: A documentary History, 1675 to 1929. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Greenlees, J. (2016). Female labour power: Women workers' influence on business practices in The British and American cotton industries, 1780-1860. Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge.

Pinchbeck, I. (2014). Women workers and the industrial revolution 1750-1850. London: Routledge

Stearns, P. N., & Walkowitz, D. J. (1974). Workers in the industrial revolution: Recent studies of Labor in the United States and Europe. New Brunswick, N.J: Transaction Books.


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