FH-WORKING PAPERS

THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN INDUSTRIALIZATION

Authors
Felix Butschek
Publication date
15.05.2006
Course of studies
European Economy and Business Management, BA
E-Mail
felix.butschek@fh-vie.ac.at
Keywords
Women, Industrialization
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ABSTRACT

Industrial Revolution arose in Europe as a consequence of very specific conditions for its realisation, which were created in the course of the historical development. One of these characteristic European traits, which differed from those in other high cultures, was the comparatively strong position of women in society. There arises the question, whether this fact caused repercussions for the Industrial Revolution. Already in the Middle Ages the close cooperation in production within the frame of monogamic matrimony provided higher income. But the favourable position of women in society made possible also independent work, primarily in the towns and made generally possible gainful work outside the home. The comparatively high education of mothers caused well educated children and consequently workers. But the most important factor for the Industrial Revolution represented the big female labour force, able to perform work outside the house. The two leading branches of the beginning of modern economic growth were textiles and iron. The dynamic expansion of the former was made possible predominantly by female labour with its "swift fingers" and low wages. On the other hand this gainful work improved the social position of women, the more as their labour force participation expanded subsequently into other sectors of production and services. And the same development can be observed in newly industrialising countries. So this process may be described as the capitalist model of female employment.
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