Women in Transitional Worlds

In a world where a woman’s sphere was defined by their duties ofmotherhood, child-rearing, and homemaking; the beginnings of industrializationposed specific concerns on the impact that factory work would have on family life, even more specifically on women. The nineteenth-century witnessed a crucial change in the established pattern of society. Women were at crossroads where their domesticity, in the early period of industrialization, became challenged. This was a time of changing orders and a period of rural and urban transition.Working in the mills enabled women to enjoy social and economic independence thus creating new pressures not only economically, but also culturally.
No other women felt the great impact of industrialization in 1800s more than the women of Lowell. When these women came to work in the mills, they brought with them different values, attitudes and expectations from their social setting into the industrial setting. The women of the Lowell mills were very young, single and mostly from the rural areas of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. They usually came to work in the mills for three years. Some women stayed longer than five years, leaving and returning during that time, before marrying and settling down (Brownson, Source 1). Few of these textile workers considered the mills their lifelong occupation. The evidence suggested that most of these young women, who decided to work in the mills, did so for various reasons. The mills offered individual self-support, enabling them to live in an urban environment with its amenities, not available in the countryside, and gave them a taste of economic and social independence from their fa!
milies. By working in the mills they could earn enough money for their dowry, school, or clothing for themselves (Source 9 Lowell Offerings).
Furthermore, most of these young women were able to decide for themselves on how to spend their earnings. In the letters from Mary Paul…

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