Kalbear, on 04 May 2012 - 08:29 AM, said:
In large chunks this is untrue as well; women were already doing a lot of cottage industry work, particularly in textiles and agriculture. The industrial revolution originally killed a lot of this. The women were now being forced to get jobs from specific employers in capital instead of working in these smaller industries, so we saw more of it being reported - but the actual amount of work women were doing was not particularly changed. Furthermore, before the Victorian age women (at least in England) had more rights, not fewer; their ability to have property and other rights was impeded by Victorian times.
The whole original argument is a mess that stems from a huge oversimplification of why modern women's rights came about.
Basically, what the industrial revolution did was stratify gender-roles. (at least initially) pre-modern socities were often segregated according to gender in various ways, but it was, in many ways, more "fluid". While women were generally speaking considered less than men, it was generally "less than men of the same class". For instance, we have a bunch of examples of women taking over their husband's jobs. (be it as craftsmen, government officials etc.) in case of sickness/death. (even in some cases, voting rights or representation in the various governing assemblies of the day)
For your regular Joe (who is a farmer, remember this. THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE FARMERS OF SOME TYPE OR OTHER. DO NOT FORGET THIS) his wife is likely going to be working inside the home... But then again, so is he. They're both existing in a pre- (or at least only partially) marketized society: They probably have different tasks they do, but they're largely doing them together. (and this is important too, when considering marriage: Husbands and wives aren't just important in what possessions they bring with them but also due to their own personal labor) Men and women are going to be working closely with each other. (both physically and mentally) so eg. the husband is going to be watching the children too, etc.
Now, as the early-modern era starts rolling this changes: The husband is likely to have to leave his own farm at least part of the time and do day-labor somewhere else, and his wife is likely to take up some cottage-industry work at home. As the agriculture starts becoming more efficient though, the husband's work isn't going to be worth very much: He's going to have to take a job at a factory.
And this means that he's out of the house on a (more or less) permanent basis, which means further segregation of work: Because now he *can't* take care of the children. So his wife has to. Which means she's not working and earning money (at least not after a while, at first they probably have to work and bring their children with them) which further strengthens the divide, etc. etc.