Week 5 Discussion: Industrialization, Imperialism, and America’s Entry Into WWI

Women’s Rights Activists were on the forefront of speaking out against the injustices they were faced with every day. They were not allowed to hold public office, vote, own land, or enter into contracts in the early years. However, widowed women were allowed to inherit the land in which their husbands owned and could enter into contracts at that point. During the industrial revolution women were able to enter into the workforce; however, they were paid far less than males in the same fields. Women played a vital role working in textile mills and mines. On top of working this labor some jobs they had to come home and do their “womanly” duties of cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children. During the progressive era several groups forms in the aide of women’s rights. One was the National American woman Suffrage (NAWSA) the leader of this group was Carrie Chapman Catt. This group campaign to empower women in individual states.  As they did this, president Wilson passed the women suffrage constitutional amendment. The second, is the National Woman’s Party (NWP) Alice Paul as leader was more revolutionary organization of this time directly helped women in their fight for equality.” African American women, who faced discrimination due to both their race and gender, found a few job opportunities in the garment industry or laundries, but were more often employed as maids and domestic servants.” (OpenStax. (2019). Through the progressive’s emancipation for women’s suffrage movement was passed giving women the right to vote.” Voting wasn’t their only goal, or even their main one. They battled racism, economic oppression and sexual violence- along with the law that made married women little more than property of their husbands” (OpenStax. (2019).

As we know many groups of minorities in this era fell short of what certain people thought the “standard” was at the time. Due to them falling short of the “standard” they were not provided the opportunities and the rights that they so desperately deserved.

Children were used as servants and sometimes used under the guise of an apprentice. They were typical forced to work in some harsh conditions such as unclean factories for long hours without safety codes (Liebel, Manfred, and Antonella Invernizzi). They were also paid less than most adults because they did not have the resources or knowledge to form unions in order to improve the conditions and pay rates (Liebel, Manfred, and Antonella Invernizzi). In the early years, child labor was a staple in agricultural beginnings in America. The industrial revolution saw a peak in child labor because they were in high demand. With the increased number of jobs in manufacturing business, more child laborers filled the positions (Liebel, Manfred, and Antonella Invernizzi). The progressives sought to address child labor by instituting the National Child Labor Committee. They fought for the importance of education for children and to improve the working conditions and encouraged the institution and enforcement of laws that prohibited child labor before certain ages.

I found that the progressives during these times were successful in making the governments stand up and take notice. I think they were able to help get these issues out and in the faces of government officials and citizens that ultimately sparked outrage against the harsh conditions.


OpenStax. (2019). U.S. history. OpenStax CNX. Retrieved    from https://openstax.org/books/us-history/ 

       Liebel, Manfred, and Antonella Invernizzi. “The Movements of Working Children and the International Labour Organization. A Lesson on Enforced Silence.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 16 Nov. 2018, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/chso.12305. 

After approaching Industial Revolution in America, many minority groups, ethnic groups and marginalized started raising voice against the power structure to claim their identity and rights in a most channelized form. It can be stated that the socio-economic status of these groups was indeed challenging as they were often pushed by the authority with gender bias, racial subjugation and class discrimination and there women were the most targeted group from all aspect- be it White women, Black women or women from other minority or ethnic groups, all of them had to experience oppression in the hands of patriarchy and power-structure. Thus, during this progressive era, women called for reformation and even said to have challenged some prevailing attitudes conveyed by gender. 

During Industrial Revolution, the value of manual labor started lessening and women who didn’t belong from an affluent class or families were often forced to work to earn enough to buy bread and butter for a living and this geared to initiate the ‘working class movement’ enthusiastically. 

It is said that during this era, women were forced or allowed to come out of their houses and work outside in factories but with much lower wages than men and also in unfavorable conditions where they didn’t have any fixed working hours and often subjected to sexual harassment and sexual exploitation and then no such laws were made to protect women or claim their Civil Rights and exactly then Progressivism came to their rescue where many acts were formed and reformative groups were formed to improve America and their women socially, economically and also to a certain extent politically (Women’s Roles in the Industrial Revolution).

Thus, I would like to conclude that Progressive era came as a boon to improve women’s position in the most constructive way where pre-ordained gender attitudes and subjugations were challenged in the most righteous way which couldn’t be thought before the advent of it. 

Women’s Roles in the Industrial Revolution. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2020, from Foundations of Western Culture: https://foundations.uwgb.org/womensroles/

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