, Research Paper
women s condition in the work place during reconstruction in 1900
Before the civil war, women s roles in the home had been glorified. In the late 19th century a middle to upper class woman felt as though she needed to make her home a place away from the excitement and distraction of the outside world to kep her children safe and husbands rested. While women in these positions could afford such luxury, poor women had no choice but to work hard whether in the home or outside of it. There were farm women, women in industry, and women working as domestic workers. All leading towards reform and finally the vote.
Farm women s position had not substantially changed since the previous century. Women and children on farms in the South and Mid West remained a critical part of the family and economic structure. besides performing tasks like cooking, sowing, and cleaning they handled many other chores. If their husbands were sick or hurt, the farm women would have to plant the fields or harvest the crops in addition to their own duties.
At the turn of the century 1/5 of American women worked; 25% held manufacturing jobs. These women would spend up to 12 hours a day working as seamstress in commercial laundries, canneries, packing plants. Most were foreign and lived in the city. In tobacco factories women made up 40% of the work force, but the garment trade claimed about half of all women industrial workers. Women frequently did the least skilled work and received the lowest paid; but even when they did the same work as men they received only half as much money as the male workers. Women s opportunities expanded and they began to fill new jobs such as offices, stores, and classrooms. These jobs only required a high school education, and by 1890 women high school graduates outnumbered men.
Women without former education or industrial skills contributed to their families by doing domestic work. Many African American women that were freed from slavery went into the work force to avoid poverty. 38% worked on farms , 46% worked as domestic servants, and the rest migrated to major cities to take jobs as scrubwomen, maids, and cooks. Roughly 70% of working American women were servants in 1870. White women began to take better paying jobs as opportunities opened in offices, classrooms and etc.
As Women became more highly educated they continued to move up in the working class , many attending college. In the late 19th century many college educated women applied their skills to social reform instead of marriage and finally won suffrage. These advances continued until suffrage was won and finally the vote.