In the current piece, the effect of industrialization on working-class family life will be addressed. The effect on the relationship between men and women will be described in more detail. Firstly, a brief on the beginning of industrialization will be provided. Further, the impact (or its absence) on men’s and women’s relationships will be analyzed in terms of the changes provoked by the industrialization process.
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Industrialization first occurred in Great Britain between 1760 and 1845. The technological revolution replaced the handicraft economy with machine manufactories. The daily life of England and later on the whole of Europe has changed due to numerous inventions and innovations. For instance, the invention of the power loop, spinning jenny, electric generator, dynamite, the typewriter, watt steam engine, and many other technologies drastically shaped the daily life of people.
Even though due to the industrialization process, women got economic opportunities (numerous new jobs on the market and possibilities of professional education), their legal and human rights had not undergone significant changes. Their relationships with men remained patriarchal, and men predominantly controlled their lives. For instance, marriage meant for women to give up their careers, as after a wedding government considered a family as a single unit ruled by the husband. Such legal norms led to the loss of women’s rights and the dominance of men because women could not earn their money, own property, sue, or be sued. Divorce also was not available for most women due to its high cost. Consequently, the lack of legal and human rights of women affected their relationships with men, leaving them extremely patriarchal.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that even though industrialization had dramatically changed the lives of ordinary people in terms of many vital aspects, the relationship between men and women remained old-fashioned and patriarchal. Women could not rule their lives, including finance, property, and personal life decisions. The inequality led to the dominant role of men in the family, which affected the whole relationship between men and women.