Start Dating 20th century

Dating 20th century

Most working class women in Victorian England had no choice but to work in order to help support their families.

The majority of upper and most middle class women did not undertake paid work except for ‘respectable’ activities like being a governess or a music teacher or even a nurse.

Most women of this class were expected just to get married and look after their children and home.

Throughout most of this period women were paid less than their male counterpart working alongside them, which created great financial difficulties for working women.

From the 1850s onwards, trade unions began to be established, first among better paid workers and they then expanded to represent a wider range of workers.

Evidence given by Children's Employment Commission - February 1841"Miss --- has been for several years in the dress-making business... The digestion especially suffers, and also the lungs: pain to the side is very common, and the hands and feet die away from want of circulation and exercise, "never seeing the outside of the door from Sunday to Sunday." [One cause] is the short time which is allowed by ladies to have their dresses made. is sure that there are some thousands of young women employed in the business in London and in the country.

If one vacancy were to occur now there would be 20 applicants for it. Thinks that no men could endure the work enforced from the dress-makers."[Source: Hellerstein, Hume & Offen, Victorian Women: A Documentary Accounts of Women's Lives in Nineteenth-Century England, France and the United States, Stanford University Press.]Imagine you are a member of the 'Women and Children's Employment Commission' - draw up a list of recommendations to improve the working conditions in these industries.

Examine the data contained in the table which was collected from Wolverhampton during the census in 1901.