«WORKING CLASS WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD: MID 18TH C - MID 19TH C. The development of industrialization in Europe and America from ...»
Improvements for girls and women eventually occurred. Once stories about the working conditions for young children were publicized, then efforts were started in England to provide free, compulsory primary-school education. The Methodist Church had begun a similar effort for the children of mine workers. As seen today in developing countries during their industrialization process, educating girls was usually not seen as important as educating boys. France mandated public primary schools for all boys in 1833, but it was not until 1881 that a law was passed giving girls the same type of schooling. Henry Mayhew, the famous English investigative journalist, who interviewed thousands of street people in London and published the results in his celebrated book, London Labor and the London Poor, found that street sellers were reluctant to educate their girls as they felt it contributed nothing to their ability to earn a living. In England, by the third quarter of the nineteenth century primary schooling for girls was provided, but that did not mean the girls were sent to school. Poor families still needed the financial resources from their daughters' wages. But at cross purposes was the cultural idea that the more prosperous a working class family became, the less the woman was supposed to be employed. In all the areas where men had original served as the workers, when women became the primary employees, women were paid half of the men's wages.
In the second half of the nineteenth century two major developments affected the economic lives of working class women. Firstly, there was a proliferation in the variety of available jobs. Secondly, there was the significant withdrawal of married women from the work force. As the century progressed, there was an expansion of government bureaucracies, and the emergence of corporations and other large-scale businesses.
Technological inventions of the typewriter and telephone fostered female employment for these bureaucracies and businesses. Women by the thousands became secretaries, clerks, and telephone operators.
In Europe the department store, beginning with the Bon Marche in Paris, became a major institution of retailing. Consumer demand was being fed by permanent display, special sales, and fixed prices. These cathedrals of commerce employed thousands of young women. As compulsory education laws were enacted, the demand for female school teachers was endless. Now school teaching came to be identified as a female