History of Women Overcoming Barriers in the Workforce

Discussion in 'History' started by mho18, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. mho18

    mho18 Rookie

    Nov 29, 2010
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    I had to write a paper for a class and part of the assignment was to extend it further to another audience.

    So I decided to share it on here. My paper details the barriers women have faced over time, how they have surpassed them, and how they are significant in the workforce and society.

    Here it is, feel free to comment.

    Working for Victory; Women Overcoming Barriers to Become Significant in the Workforce

    Imagine the workforce of today’s society without women; it is hard to conceive that the world would continue to function. Women are a vital part of our society today and play a major role in the workforce. Before the Industrial Revolution in England, women were not largely a part of the labor force. The Industrial Revolution was the first major addition of women into the working class. During this time, many factories were built, which lead to the mass movement to cities. Most women gave up their work at homes to work in the factories. Factories required less skill because it was generally operating machinery, giving women new opportunities. The success of women depended largely on job availability, and with the development of large industries, women had plenty of new opportunities. As time passed, women continued to become a more significant part of the workforce and gained more status in society, but they would face many disadvantages in the workforce. Women would have a rough time gaining power in the workforce. Women struggled to overcome an invisible barrier holding them back from gaining the authority and wages that they wanted. Many women felt that men held an unfair advantage in the labor force. The workplace should not discriminate a qualified person based on their sex because women can positively influence the workforce and society when given an opportunity.
    Women faced many challenges in their fight to gain equal rights in the workforce. Women struggled to obtain respectable positions in the workforce. Women knew they were capable of successfully holding higher level jobs, but men did not think they were capable. Women should be allowed to hold the same positions that men do, because women are capable of doing the same work as men. The work place should not prevent women from obtaining jobs because of their sex. Women faced the challenge of overcoming discrimination barriers to achieve their goals. During this time men felt that women still did not belong in the workforce, they felt capable of holding all positions. Men still held the belief that a lady’s role in society was centered around the house even though times were changing. The Industrial Revolution brought women into the workforce, but this was mainly at the lowest level positions that existed. Women could not have a significant impact at these lower level positions because men held authority over them. When given the proper chance, women can have an impressive outcome at the work place. Women strived to prove that they would have a positive effect during the Industrial Revolution, but could not at their low level position. Women wanted to become a greater part of labor force, but because of the difficulties that were present they struggled to achieve the power they wanted.
    Women can play a powerful role in the work force if they are given a chance to prove themselves. Women are capable of having the same impact on society as men when given the same roles in the workforce. Women faced many struggles in their fight for equality at work, but as more opportunities arose for them they proved they were capable of positively impacting humanity. Men saw that women would not be necessary in the workforce, but in the future women would be a significant part of the workforce and play a very influential role. Over time, more jobs became available giving women more chances to fill them. As women began to take over more positions they began to show that they could successfully impacted the work force. As the cities became more developed, more opportunities arose for women to prove themselves. Women gained more respect in society because of their accomplishments in the labor force. As time passed, women would gain more positions of authority and eventually have a major influence in the work force.
    Women had not been included in the labor for until the early 1800’s in England. This was the beginning of women’s fight to gain power in the workforce. During this time there was a great migration of people from the countryside to the vast forming cities. There was a mass construction of factories and people began to give up their farm work to seek working positions in the factories. The developments that occurred during this time were known as the Industrial Revolution. The factory systems provided many new opportunities for people, especially those people with low skill or little education. The new influx of job availability called for the demand of many more workers, so it finally gave women a new opportunity to be part of the workforce. Women had previously spent the majority of their time working from the home taking care of the farm and doing crafts work as a profession. The new work opportunities in factories gave women a more consistent pay. At this time in history this was the highest position women could hold because they generally had little education and were able to work in factories only because the tasks they faced were generally simple such as working machinery. Still it was very important that women now held a position in the workforce because it was their first chance to prove to society that they are useful in the labor force. The development of factories in the cities during Industrial Revolution was significant because women’s first role in the workforce and paved the way for them to become an influential part of the labor force and change society. (Kagan, Ozment, Turner, 2010)
    Society began to completely change with the mass industrialization of the cities. The way the country worked was no longer the same. Previously everything that was made was built manually by individuals at their home or farm. During this time women never had any expectations in the workforce, because their role in society was to run the home. With the development of factories, the new idea was to manufacture everything in factories that could be made. This completely changed the way the society worked economically, but in some cases the men’s view of women in society didn’t change. Some men still believed women should not be added to the workforce, but should still work at home. With the new job availability the focus of women’s roles began to change. The Industrial Revolution changed the focus from countryside farming to the need for mass labor in the cities and along with came the transformation of women’s roles. (Timmins, 1994)
    At the beginning of the revolution women could only hold unskilled position due to their lack of education, but the industrialization of cities was important in creating new jobs for women. Women now had a reason to seek an education in order to gain a better job. The increased population in cities called for the development of schools and hospitals. With this came many new jobs such as school teachers and nurses. Many women sought a higher education to become a school teacher or nurse. This was vital because it began to prove to people that women were proficient enough to hold higher level position and educate the youth. (More, 2000) This is one of the first transitions of women gaining better jobs and become more successful in society.
    The Industrial Revolution called for a transformation of the roles of women in society. Women formerly had worked in the home doing crafts work and caring for the family. With the creation of factories, women were called to leave the home and seek positions in factories. Single women now had a steady way to provide for themselves and married women could now help contribute to the family. In today’s society the same principle can be seen with women in the work force providing for themselves and their families. This was a significant time in history because it laid the footing for women to have a place in the labor force. Women began to prove that they could also have a role in the work force. Assuming these events had never transpired, it is unknown how women would have grown in society. These events transformed society and would eventually lead to even more social and labor changes as time would pass. The Industrial Revolution was such significant part of history for the developing success of women in society. It provided so many job opportunities for women and gave them a place in society. Women now had new roles in the workforce that they had never had before. Society now relied on women more than ever in order to fill all of the jobs in order for the factories to be successful. (Frader, 2006) Due to the events that emerged during the revolution women now contributed to humanity more than ever.
    Women joining the workforce may have changed society at the time, but many consequences came with the Industrial Revolution. The great migration took place to the cities which quickly became crowded. Women now had steady work but faced many harsh working conditions. The life in the city was not easier; women faced long working hours and were supervised by men. Many were forced to live in tenements and large amounts of famine and disease were present. With the development of labor work in the cities came many setbacks for women. (Cook, 2008) Women faced many difficulties in the work force and faced discrimination in their efforts to gain equality. The harsh working conditions led to new efforts, women wanted to gain equality in the work force and seek new opportunities.
    The Industrial Revolution led to many new chances for women in society, but with this came such as inequalities in the workforce. Women continued to become a more prominent part of the work force, but also became more flustered with inequalities that they faced in the work force. Women began to protest for their equal rights. As time would pass, women managed to gain more position in the labor force. Still yet, women faced many inequalities and strived to achieve the same opportunities males had. The work place should not discriminate against women if they are qualified for a position. (Gourley, 1999) Women wanted equals right in the work place, higher wages, and higher positions. Women were unhappy because they felt that men were given more opportunity. Women felt that there was a barrier or “glass ceiling” preventing them from accomplishing the goals they wanted. Over time many reforms and movement began to take place to better women’s environment in the workforce.
    Until more modern times, women had been restricted from participating significantly in the work force due to cultural and legal practices. The poor socio-economic status of women prevented them from acquiring higher level jobs. Women struggled to obtain high level jobs because of their poor access to higher education. Women were only able to obtain lower level jobs and could not work in professions in fields such as law or medicine. Women faced many restrictions in the labor force as well due to wage gap and “glass ceiling”. Women would fight to prove that they deserved an equal place in the workforce.
    Women felt that there was a “glass ceiling” preventing them from achieving the goals that they strived for in the workforce. The term “glass ceiling” refers to situations that the advancement of a qualified person with the hierarchy of an organization is stopped at a lower level because of a form of discrimination, in this case sexism. One of the main parts of this is the gender wage gap. Over time women have always made a lower amount of money per dollar when compared to men. If women are capable of doing the same work as men then they should not face a differential in wages. (Ly, 2010) These are among some of the barriers which women worked to overcome to become more successful in the workforce.
    Women believed that they were capable of having an influential role in the workforce, but struggled to capture an opportunity to prove this. Women could not play a large role in the workforce, because they generally held positions of lower power. Women struggled to reach a position that they could be influential because men always were the main authority in the work place. Women faced a continuous struggle for equality in the work force from seeking higher level positions to more pay. Women were at first happy with joining the workforce, but after time wanted to become more than the people who worked the machines. Women felt they should be given equal rights at the work place and they too could become a stronger party of society. Women continued to struggle for position in the work place, but over time they began to protest more for the rights they should have.
    Women began to protest in the fight for equal rights in the workforce. They felt it was time to prove that they were just as qualified as men. Women would hold strikes in protest hoping to gain more power in the workforce. Most all women sought better positions at work and felt it was time to do something to make a change. The work place should not prevent women from holding positions, because they are an equally important part of society. So many women activists arose to put up a fight for their rights. (Lanier, Tanner, Guidry, 2010) Women decided sexism in the work place should no longer be acceptable and rose to fight against it.
    Many questions arose whether women were capable of holding the positions of men, but questions were answered during the Second World War when women took the jobs of men while they were off fighting. Women finally received an opportunity to show the country that they were capable of controlling the labor force. World War II was vital in allowing for millions of jobs for women. Thousands of women joined the military, navy, and marines. Most didn’t see combat, but filled in for many non-combat positions. At the same time, around 16 million men had left their jobs at home in America which opened endless opportunities for women to take over while the men were gone. Many women worked in plants producing war supplies for the men at war. This was a key time in history, because women proved that they could take over men jobs and be successful at them. This was extremely vital to our country because had women not taken over at home, we cannot be for sure if we would have prevailed in the war. This once again proves that women are significant to our society and when given the chance, can tremendously contribute to humanity. When the men returned home from the war, women were expected to return to their everyday housework. (Kagan, Ozment, Turner, 2010) Women were not satisfied with this because they thought they were now capable remaining in the workforce.
    During this time the cultural icon Rosie the Riveter arose representing all of the women who worked replacing the men during this time. This cultural icon was derived by a song which told of women taking over jobs to help the country prevail in the war. Rosie the Riveter became a symbol of power in women and gave them the confidence they needed to overcome the barriers which they faced. During this time the working woman dominated the public image. Women were expected to return to their daily lives after the war but this social icon enthused women to continue working. Rosie the Riveter inspired a social movement and increased the number of working American women greatly. The Second World War represented a major turning point for women in history because women’s step up in the work force highlighted a long-range implication of changes that laid the foundation for the modern women’s movement. This was a pivotal time in history because of the unification of women to stance of their rights.
    Women continued to gain rank in the labor force, but continued to grow more dissatisfied with the wage gap between men and women. Women began to protest and express their strong frustration with the inequality in pay. Eventually the United States government passed a federal law known as the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which amended the Fair Labor Standards Act. This act aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex. The sole purpose of this law was to prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers in the workforce. This was an instrumental law because it sent a message to society that women were equally powerful and should not be discriminated against. (Kagan, Ozment, Turner, 2010) It began to become more accepted that women should have equal rights in the workforce. Society knew that women were capable of providing good work, but many felt women were not educated enough to hold high level jobs.
    Many years later women still faced inequalities and rallied to stand up for their rights. In 1970 women rallied together in the Women’s Strike for Equality. This strike took place in 1970 on the 50th anniversary of the passing of the nineteenth amendment which gave women suffrage. At this time, this was the largest protest by women in history. On this day many went on strike in protest for equal opportunity in the workforce. An example of the discrimination that women faced can be seen in Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Justice of the Supreme Court. O’Connor graduate at the top of her class at Stanford Law School, but was only offered secretarial jobs when she sought work at many law firms. This rally was an attempt by American women across the country to shatter the glass ceiling that was holding them back from succeeding in the work place. Women sent a message to people all over the country on this day by uniting together to prove their authority and stand for their rights. (Tucker, Hill, 2002) This was an important date in the history of women’s rights and made a strong statement in the push forward for women’s rights.
    Women made their final push for equality in what is known as The Quiet Revolution. In the late 1970’s, more women than ever began to enter colleges and graduate schools. Women enter higher professions for the first time, as opposed to past generations. Due women becoming more educated than ever, more women were expected to enter the workforce at higher skilled positions. With more women than ever before receiving college diplomas, they now proved they were highly qualified to fulfill most all positions in the work force. Women finally proved that the employers could not reject them for lack of education. Due to the growth of women becoming educated, they now were finally breaking through the barrier and able to achieve the higher level positions and equal pay they had always sought.
    In today’s society women have nearly achieved the goals that they have strived years for. Women are now a more significant part of society today than ever before. If it was not for the work of women, there are so many jobs that would not get done. The efforts of women over time have succeeded in women achieving the position in the workforce they’ve always wanted. The wage difference between men and women is as narrow as it has ever been. In today’s time women have higher positions in the work force than ever before. Women are now more educated than ever allowing them to hold positions such as lawyers, doctors, and management positions. Women accepted in the workforce more than ever before and their perception has changed greatly. Women’s efforts at challenging the barriers have succeeded and they are seeing the equal rights they have strived for.
    Even in today’s time with women having more equality than ever controversy still arises with women in some professions. One of the biggest controversies deals with women and child bearing. Women feel that sometimes an employer may be hesitant in hiring them in fear that they may need to take a large leave due to pregnancy. This can create a stir in the workforce because women feel it is unfair to seclude them from holding a position because of this. Employers are afraid that a woman’s duties at home, especially with a newborn, may interfere with their capabilities of production at work. This debate has led to many controversies relating to women holding certain jobs in the workforce. (Meiers, 1989)
    A debate can be seen in today’s society that relates all the way back to the Industrial Revolution. There are many views on whether women should seek work to provide for their families or stay at home to care for their families and house. During the Industrial Revolution women role in society changed from working at home to working in factories to provide for their family. In today’s society, much debate arises at which is best for women to do. Most women have to enter the workforce to help support their family in order for survival. There are families that financially do not need the woman to work so she stays at home to care for the children and care for the house. Most families make a decision if the wife should work or not based on what will have the most significant impact on the family. (Aronson, 2001) Either way women prove that whether they work or stay at home they will generally have a positive impact on society.
    Women have proved over time that they will have a positive impact on society. Women faced many struggles over the years and at many points in history it looked inevitable that they would break through barriers, but they have proven to be very successful. There have been many times that the work place has attempted to seclude women, but women have fought back with authority. Without women in society, the United States would not have grown to be what it is and succeeded throughout history. Women have become a vital part of society and played a large role in shaping the country.
    The Industrial Revolution laid the foundation for women to become significant in society. This was the first step in women joining the workforce and becoming a more dynamic part of society. Women finally obtained jobs, but over time they would face many inequalities and setbacks. They strived to receive equal pay and positions of men. Women would challenge the barriers they faced and protest until eventually receiving the equal rights they wanted. Women developed in society over time and played many significant roles in the growth of our country. There are several times in history that the country could have failed if it was not for women pulling through such as during World War II. Women faced many difficult times, but always rallied together to face the adversity. Women gained great support through their efforts to gain equality and eventually would prove that they are capable of handling most all jobs. Women were imperative in helping to shape our country to grow to the standard it is at today. The strength of women has gained them respect from most people and proved that they belong in the workplace. Women are vital in today’s workforce, and an even bigger part of our society.

    Work Cited Page

    Aronson, Kimberly M. Rodman, and Eester Schaler Buchholz. "The Post-
    Feminist Era: Still Striving for Equality in Relationships." The American Journal of Family Therapy 29.2 (2001): 109. Academic OneFile. Web. 1 Nov. 2010.

    Cook, Sylvia Jenkins. Working Women, Literary Ladies: the Industrial Revolution and Female
    Aspiration. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Print.

    Frader, Laura. The Industrial Revolution: A History in Documents. New York City, NY: Oxford
    Publishing Company, 2006. 73-97. eBook.

    Gourley, Catherine. Good Girl Work. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, 1999. eBook.

    Kagan, Donald, Steven E. Ozment, and Frank M. Turner. "Economic Advance and Social
    Unrest." The Western Heritage. 10th ed. Vol. 2. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2010. 626-37. Print.

    Lanier, Patricia A., John R. Tanner, and Brandi N. Guidry. "A comparison of gender and gender-
    related issues in the business disciplines." Public Personnel Management 38.3 (2009): 51+. Academic OneFile. Web. 1 Nov. 2010.

    Ly, Kin. "Confronting the 'glass ceiling': steps have been taken to promote racial equality and
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    Meiers, Margaret E. "Shaping an effective parental-leave policy." Training & Development
    Journal Jan. 1989: 46+. Academic OneFile. Web. 1 Nov. 2010.

    More, Charles. Understanding the Industrial Revolution. New York City, NY: Routledge, 2000.
    51-70. eBook.

    Timmins, Geoff. "The Industrial Revolution and British Society." Business History 36.2 (1994):
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    2000+.(MANUSCRIPTS)." Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal 8.2 (2002): 17+. Academic OneFile. Web. 1 Nov. 2010.
  2. mdn2000

    mdn2000 BANNED

    Sep 27, 2009
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    conservative hell california
    I scrolled through the paper in a literal one second.
  3. Old Rocks

    Old Rocks Diamond Member

    Oct 31, 2008
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    Portland, Ore.
    And you are still dumb as a rock.:razz:
  4. editec

    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

    Jun 5, 2008
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    First a particular complaint I have bout this issue...it comes a this issue from a particulaly 1950's upper-middle class myth...that women seldom worked for wages.

    Woman, particularly poorer to middle class women have been working since Adam said " Madam I'm Adam"

    I point this out as I have been fortunate enough to know four generations of foremothers (back to my Great Grandmother) and every one of them worked for wages or owned their businesses most of their lives

    What has been changing signficantly in the last century is the percentage of them working out of the home at wage and the CLASS of women who are going to work.

    The other thing is calling what they faced a barrier.

    Note how that word (barrier) implies that women WANTED to leave the home?

    Hey! here's a though..maybe they had no choice.

    All the above being said, women were facing sexism in pay and opportunity even when I was first starting out. That was wrong.

    They probably still are, but not nearly so badly, and I suspect that most of that sexist pay and opportunity nonsense is way on its way out.

    But for us to think that women HAVING TO GO TO WORK is some kind of wonderful accomplishment of society is missing the greater point.

    When I was a kid one middle class salary could support a family.

    Now it takes two or three or four middle class salaries to support a family.

    That NOT progress, folks, that's still another example of the encroaching poverty of this society's middle class.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010

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