Gender, Race, and Publishing on the Left

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Wed Jun 17 19:01:34 PDT 1998

Maggie replies to Rob:
>Historically, this is rather simplistic. I have gone back over nineteenth
>century labor records in the USA, and in reality the first waged labor force
>in the USA was the vast majority FEMALE, both married and unmarried. Young
>women worked in the factories, while 45-75% of New England households engaged
>in outwork, with almost 100% if those outworkers being women who engaged in
>both their family duties and waged work simultaneously within the home. So,
>yes, the male breadwinner earned most of the income, but women have always
>been significant contributors to household incomes.

I think this early dominance of wage labor by women can be generalized beyond the USA. When industrialization began in Japan, labor recruiters from textile industries went to rural areas to persuade parents to send daughters to factories. And before 'protective legislations' were passed, it was common to see women and children working in mines. I think that industrial labor came to look like a male preserve only after first women workers were expelled or marginalized.


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