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WOMEN AND WORK: A STUDY OF LABOR POLITICS IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY AMERICA The main motive of this paper is to analyze, explain, and research further the political and cultural ideals and exploitative social norms of the early twentieth century United States with particular reference to radical theorist Emma Goldman’s path breaking and illuminating essay, A New Declaration of Independence…
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There are three topic in the file. choose one of them. thanks
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Download file to see previous pages From the inception of patriarchal society, women’s labor has been carefully and systematically neglected and pushed to the background. It has never been acknowledged as pertinent to the main economic sources and centers of power. America, with its Puritan origins, strictly adhered to narrow gender roles, as religion dictated. The duties of women had been, traditionally, confined to the home and the hearth. They were the biblical ‘helpmates’, the passive caretaker of their children and their husband, while men were exalted as brave, noble and powerful in their ability to provide for and protect their women. In the 19th century, rapid industrialization produced a demand for cheap labor in America. Rural men who began to throng the busy cities in search of work seized this opportunity. Economy saw a shift from an agrarian mode to the dominance of waged labor. The vision of the earning man and the meek mother and wife – the ‘angel of the house’ - became a cultural stereotype that was repeatedly reinforced through the literature and the politics of the day. However, the social climate was slowly changing. During the 1820s, women, especially young farm girls, began to participate in waged work as demand for labor rose. Women began to occupy a substantial position in the economic scheme of the newly industrialized nation. (Figart 1) The division between the spheres of the glorified male and degraded female labor saw a definite change in the 20th century United States. Emma Goldman, in her radically anarchist essay, champions the rights of worker, both male and female, over the state-issued exploitative policies of a greedy, capitalist society (Goldman). American Women Workers in the early 20th century As women became integrated within the larger economic network, the number of paid women workers began to increase. In the 20th century, for the first time in the history of the nation, women labor became an ‘established presence’ in the industrial set up. (Figart) However, while capitalist exploitation was a predominant evil of the American society, severe gender bias created an added problem for the female workers. In the early 20th century, they were still social and cultural stigmas associated with married women workers, unless they could provide evidence severe financial necessity. Furthermore, on the hand, the patriarchal order of society began to perceive threats in the increasing number of financially independent women who were now competing with men for their of the job market, since female labor cost less and were more easily exploitable. The women were not only victimized by their employers, economically and physically, but also by the larger society through marginalization and stigma. Racial and class divisions were crucial features of labor politics. When the viciousness of the First World War (1914-1918) took the men away from home, white, middle class women began to emerge from their sheltered existence and took on the novel role of the ‘breadwinner’. Previously, waged work was limited to the colored, poor or immigrant women. Now, with the inclusion of the educated middle women’s work, for the first time, gained an amount of prestige and social approval that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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