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Apart from assessing the impact of industrialization upon women, it is also important that our understanding of industrialization itself is determined by the gender division of the workforce - Essay Example

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Women, nudged by the availability of the apt opportunities and the relative dilution of the gender base traditional values, increasingly participated in the industrial…
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Apart from assessing the impact of industrialization upon women, it is also important that our understanding of industrialization itself is determined by the gender division of the workforce
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of the History and Political Science of the Concerned 4 March Apart from assessing the impact of industrialization upon women, it is also important that our understanding of industrialization itself is determined by the gender division of the workforce.
In a very direct context, industrial revolution encouraged the women to engage in paid industrial labour. Women, nudged by the availability of the apt opportunities and the relative dilution of the gender base traditional values, increasingly participated in the industrial workforce (Stearns 1998, p. 140). Many industries like the textile industry extended to women the opportunity to earn wages by working in factories (More 2000, p. 55). However, the thing that deserves due attention is that with the supplanting of the farm labour by the wage labour, leading to the participation of the women in the paid workforce, it is the unpaid household work that accrued new meanings and perceptions, making the eventual understanding of industrial revolution dependant on the vantage point from which a workforce divided on the gender lines tends to envisage it.
It is not that earlier the women were not engaged in any kind of work. However, a gendered division of work relegated the women to engage in the unpaid household work, while men were considered to be the primary wage earners who went out and worked to bring the bread to the family table (Crompton 1997). In that context, the industrial revolution while encouraging women to move out and engage in wage labour also to a large extent impacted the economic value and cultural tags associated with the household unpaid work (Crompton 1997). This revised understanding of the household unpaid work in the light of the industrial revolution had far reaching consequences in the overall gender dynamics of the nation. In a preindustrial society, governed by the gendered division of work, the unpaid household work done by women commanded much recognition and a measure of economic worth. However, in an industrialized society, though much of the household chores associated with women like caring for children, cleaning, cooking and the overall management of the household economy and social standing remained the same, in a cultural context, they lost much esteem with the advent of the industrial revolution. This division of labour which hitherto stood to be gendered, in the aftermath of industrial revolution emerged to be a gendered definition of labour, a trend which was amply calcified and consolidated by the industrial revolution.
The eventual impact of this degradation of the gendered division of labor into a perceptual gendered defining of labour to a large extent devalued the economic importance of the contributions made by women in the domestic sphere, though to this day they tend to much exceed the commensurate contributions made by men. This placed women in a situation which may be called to be a ‘sandwich’, in which, on the one side the opportunities available in the outside world beckoned them to move out and engage in wage labour, while on the other side a more gendered defining of labour though deprived them of the traditionally endowed economic and social worth associated with their unpaid household work, in no way relieved them of the traditional social expectations from them in the domestic sphere. This in a way made the post industrial professional environment more conducive for men, while being averse to and unappreciative of women in many ways.
Reference List
Crompton, R 1997, Women and Work in Modern Britain, Oxford University Press,
Oxford.
More, C 2000, Understanding the Industrial Revolution, Routledge, London.
Stearns, PN 1998, The Industrial Revolution in World History, Westview Press,
Boulder, CO. Read More
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