Women in World History

Curriculum Showcase





Spiralbound, 102 pages
8.5 x 11 inches
ISBN 1-890380-09-1
© 2005
Print Edition: $16.95
(Plus Shipping Charges)

Downloadable PDF File: $10.00 (No Shipping Charges)

Women's Work in Industrial Revolutions provides easy to use primary sources lessons which examine women's crucial contribution to the process of industrialization. It is global in scope, presenting the latest scholarship on historic views from Europe, Japan, and China with links to aspects of women's work in today's industrializing nations. The lessons are presented in six thematic sections including:
- the recruitment of women and girls into factories and mills;
- workers' complaints about workplace conditions;
- class division as seen through the eyes of servants and their mistresses;
- debates among reformers as to the emancipation or degradation of working class women;
- the resistance of workers themselves to unfair treatment; and
- case studies describing women's work on today's global assembly lines.

Each thematic section is designed to stand alone, providing students with background information, focus questions, primary source documents, and ways to examine the materials. The unit also contains a teacher background essay, teaching outcomes, correlations to National History Standards and AP World History topics, a glossary, a bibliography, and relevant Internet web sites.

Focus Questions, Outcomes and Best Practices
Correlation to National History Standards and AP World History
Background Essay
Glossary of Terms
Section One: Off to the Factories - Recruitment for Factory Work
Focus Questions:
 - Why did women leave home to work in factories or mines?
 - Who benefited from their labor?
 - In what whys did attitudes about women’s nature contribute to their recruitment and the types of work in which they were employed?
 - Between what ages did most women work?
 - In what ways did the factory control a woman’s work?

Background Essay, Documents (Primary Sources), Activities

Section Two: Testifying - Workers Grievances
Focus Questions:
 - What were the general working conditions in the factories?
 - What might be different about work done at home compared to work in the factory?
 - What specific grievances did workers reveal?
 - How did workers feel about these abuses?
 - What workplace changes would be required to alleviate worker grievances?

Background Essay, Documents (Primary Sources), Activities

Section Three: Mistresses and Maids - Domestic Labor
Focus Questions:
 - In what ways did industrialization deepen class division?
 - What image was the middle class “lady” expected to project?
 - Why did domestic servitude become the largest form of paid labor for women?
 - What did servants experience as the most exploitative aspects of their work?

Background Essay, Documents (Primary Sources), Activities

Section Four: Emancipation or Degradation? - Debating Women’s Industrial Work
Focus Questions:
 - What were middle class reformers’ attitudes toward working women?
 - What fundamental solutions did reformers seek?

Background Essay, Documents (Primary Sources), Activities

Section Five: Flexing Their Muscles - Female Workers Fight for Change
Focus Questions:
 - What workplace conditions did working women seek to improve?
 - What methods did working women use to try to change them?
 - Which types of efforts succeeded? Which failed, and why?
 - What types of positive change resulted from workers’ activism?

Background Essay, Documents (Primary Sources), Activities

Section Six: The New Factory Girls - Industrial Work in the 21st Century
Focus Questions:
 - What impact has industrialized globalization had on women workers?
 - What similarities and differences are there between women’s work in 19th century/early 20th century industrializing nations and today?
 - What strategies do campaigns to improve workers rights in global industries employ?
 - Does work in growing industrialized countries today represent an opportunity for women, or unremitting exploitation of them?

Background Essay, Documents (Primary Sources), Activities


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Lyn Reese is the author of all the information on this website
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Women in World History Curriculum