Working-Class Girls in Nineteenth-Century England: Life, by Meg Gomersall, Jo Campling

By Meg Gomersall, Jo Campling

This e-book is anxious with the nineteenth-century schooling, relatives lifestyles and employment of working-class women and girls. according to broad neighborhood study, it additionally attracts on proof from social, labour and women's heritage in a wide-ranging research of the needs and practices of ladies' schooling inside various kinds of education, either private and non-private.

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Extra info for Working-Class Girls in Nineteenth-Century England: Life, Work, and Schooling

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For the paternalistic Tories, on the other hand, issues of women's work represented an opportunity to gain the support of working people in a common defence of traditional values against the challenge to their authority presented by ascendent capitalist interests. The result was the definition of the factory employment of women and the perceived collapse of family life amongst the industrial working classes as a key issue of the 1830s, and the subject of continuing conflict, debate and negotiation between labour, capital and the state over subsequent years.

58 This is not to imply that all working-class husbands were domestic tyrants and their wives downtrodden victims, but as the norms of 'respectability' show very clearly, the social and cultural world of the post-1850 period was constructed in line with a male view of the world, to give priority to male concerns and interests. As Kirk has commented, 'respectable workers had a strong and positive evaluation of home and family ... 59 Patriarchy Challenged? 27 Conversely, women were also held to be responsible for non-respectable behaviour on the part of husbands and families and male drunkenness and other disreputable behaviour, for example, was attributed to the failure of 'lazy, slovenly, mis-managing wives' to maintain expected standards of domestic comfort.

Unlike the recalcitrant working people of the industrial cities of the North who continued to defy all attempts to subdue protest, the working people of the rural districts had shown they were unable to sustain opposition against the forces of law and order. The failure of their protest had exposed their essential weakness and, with their last scruples removed by a sense that the labourers had forfeited any rights to paternalistic protection, the leaders of rural society were ready to endorse any scheme which promised to enforce obedience - and to reduce the payment of the poor relief which was seen to have encouraged the indolence and insolence that underpinned disaffection.

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