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The Industrial Revolution and the Plight of Men

The Industrial Revolution brought about increasing employment of women.  The feminists of the time didn't like that, because they thought that women's place was in the home, that work outside the home was men's domain, and that home — not working for wages — was women's domain.  They fought long and hard to achieve the separation of home and work along those lines.  The achievement of those goals was one of the outcomes of the Victorian age.

The goals and details of that struggle are documented in the book There’s No Place Like Work: How Business, Government, and Our Obsession with Work Have Driven Parents From Home, by Brian C. Robertson (see the review).

At first glance it boggles the mind that today's feminists want so badly to undo all of what their grandmothers and great-grandmothers worked so very hard to achieve.  However, the explanation of that turn of events is not difficult.  The controlling faction of feminism during the Victorian age was conservative, pro-family feminism, while today's controlling faction is Marxist- or socialist feminism, a brand of feminism that is considered by many to be nothing other than communism in drag. (See Matriarchy in USSR — off-site)

Just like pure and unadulterated communism has as its primary goal the planned destruction of the family —  with the family being the building block of the patriarchy or any well-functioning society — so radical feminism, too, wants nothing more than the destruction of the family, all under the pretense of the liberation of women from oppression by the patriarchy and, most of all, oppression by men.

How is it possible for radical feminists to achieve their sinister aims?  The answer to that question is not hard to come by: indoctrination through time-proven communist propaganda tactics.  Here is an example (the text on pink background) quoted from a feminist website that purports to be an aid in the education of children:

Classroom Lesson Series

The Plight of Women's Work in the Early Industrial Revolution in England and Wales
© 2001 Women In World History Curriculum

Interactive site full of information and resources about women's experiences in world history. For teachers, teenagers, parents, and history buffs.

It is your own fault if you believe all of the following quotes on pink background.

The Industrial Revolution in part was fueled by the economic necessity of many women, single and married, to find waged work outside their home.

Who is at fault for that? Once a community grows beyond a certain size, money becomes the means of exchange. That point was reached for most of humanity during the stone age. The problem with views like that expressed in the preceding quote is that they focus on women. Men had similar and often far more devastating problems, but those don't get mentioned by the feminist propagandists and are thereby removed from view.

Nevertheless, to give any credibility to the claim that the Industrial Revolution caused women to be forced into the labour force, it is necessary to look at the time frame involved.  It is true that prior to 1860 many women did go out and work.  However,

The desire to free oneself from work was common to all classes and both sexes. Dr Joanna Bourke of Birkbeck College, London, has studied the diaries of 5,000 women who lived between 1860 and 1930. During that period, the proportion of women in paid employment dropped from 75 per cent to 10 per cent. This was regarded as a huge step forward for womankind, an opinion shared by the women whose writings Dr Bourke researched. Freed from mills and factories, they created a new power base for themselves at home. This was, claims Dr Bourke, "a deliberate choice. . . and a choice that gave great pleasure."

— David Thomas, Not Guilty: In Defence of the Modern Man, p. 89

From about the middle of the 19th century on, the women's movement worked hard and diligently to separate the domains of home and work, to make the home domain one dominated by women, and to assign the work domain to men.  The women's movement succeeded in that and saw it as a great achievement for women.  It had managed to secure the home domain for women, and to have men exclusively bring home the bacon, in addition to having men exclusively do all of the sweaty, dirty and dangerous jobs that were to be done.

Beginning in about the 1920s in the developed nations, along with the rise of socialism and communism, radical feminists (a.k.a. Marxist or socialist feminists, the currently ruling faction of feminism), worked very hard, diligently and successfully, to undo all of the advances that the women's movement had gained up to that point.

Already in the 1960s, just 40 years after radical feminism came to the fore, the USSR boasted that it had managed to include as many as 75 percent of women in the work force.  It took escalating socialism in the other developed nations considerably longer to get that many women into the work force.  There it took about 40 more years to deconstruct the women-dominated home-domain and to undo all of the social stability that the women's movement had created up to the 1930s. 

Women mostly found jobs in domestic service, textile factories, and piece work shops.

Whose fault is that? Couldn't they have done the honourable thing and shared some of the hard and far more dangerous work done by men? The statement does not mention the generosity of men that took on deadly and dangerous work instead of letting women do that. Men's generosity is thereby removed from view.

They also worked in the coal mines.

Sure they did, maybe sorting coal or doing other relatively safe and easy work, but generally there weren't any women underground. Even the lighter work underground that could have been done by women was not normally done by them but almost exclusively by boys.

Already early in the 19th Century laws were passed in England to limit the participation of women and children with respect to work in factories.  Specifically in relation to working in coal mines, the 1842 Mines and Colleries Act banned all women and children under 10 from working underground. No-one under 15 years of age was to work winding gear in mines.

See more information on various acts that were issued specifically to protect women and children from being treated like men.

For some, the Industrial Revolution provided independent wages, mobility and a better standard of living.

That implies that for most women it didn't. But, again, men are removed from view with such a statement.

For the majority, however, factory work in the early years of the 19th century resulted in a life of hardship.

What were the alternatives? Should they have starved to death? Again, the fact that men were affected to far greater extents by all that women had to suffer is removed from view.  The most important aspect of it is that women had a choice of working or having a man earn wages for them.  Men had different choices.  They could work for themselves, work for a wife and children, beg or starve.  The vast majority of men worked, often under horrible, unhealthy and even deadly conditions. 

The following selections are testimonies from England and Wales collected by Parliamentary commissions who began to investigate the industrial employment of women and children in the early 1840s.

Inspectors visited mills, mines and shops taking evidence from workers to see ways in which the Industrial Revolution affected women and families. The sources, along with illustrations and a workforce chart, reveal the following points:

The investigators didn't give a hoot about what was happening to men. Men's plight was invisible or at the very least of no concern to anyone. Men didn't matter to anyone in power or to those that wanted to promote women's well-being.

Working conditions were often unsanitary and the work dangerous.

To imply that as one of the circumstances of "the plight of women's work" is a ridiculously one-sided view of the issue. They are removing from view the fact that men's work was vastly more dirty and dangerous. The chart for the textile factory identified at the page shows that ten women were employed for every man. Are they suggesting that the missing men were sitting at home waiting for their women to bring home the bacon?  However, then as now about 19 out of every 20 serious or fatal job accidents involved men as victims.  The feminists haven't even begun to try to attain equality for the sexes in that aspect of the work domain.

See also: The 1989 Montreal Massacre in the context of men’s sacrifices, 2008 12 07, by Professor Jeffrey Asher.

Education suffered because of the demands of work.

Men soaked up their education by osmosis while they dug the canals, worked in the steel mills, foundries and chemical works, chopped away at the coal at the mine face and later built the railroads, right?

Home life suffered as women were faced with the double burden of factory work followed by domestic chores and child care.

 Did women work harder and longer hours than men did? My dad started work as an apprentice. He got no wages for three years and instead had to pay for the privilege of earning his machinist journeyman ticket. His standard work week at that time was 60 hours. He began that when he was 14 years old. For as long as I can remember my dad continued working at home after he got home from work.
   Things had improved a little for men by 1951, when I began my apprenticeship. I got paid a nickel an hour for every hour of a 48-hour work week at 14 years of age, which in the fourth year of my apprenticeship had increased to about 25 cents per hour. Those earnings were not called wages but were considered to be an educational assistance that had to be delivered at the end of every week into the hands of my parents, and that later, when I was 16 and my father had died, were delivered into the hands of my mother. That was not an exception but customary for my peers and me.
   Just like my dad, I was not my mother's oppressor but one of her sources of income until I got married. That is when my servitude to my mother ended and got transformed into the servitude to my wife and children. My three brothers' servitude to my parents ended when they were drafted for military service. The servitude of my three sisters ended when they became the managers and queens of families of their own.
Was that extraordinary? Not at all. It was customary, and few boys and men complained about it because it was expected of them. Most women had little to complain about because the providers and protectors they chose did well for them, preventing them from having to work like men did.

Our mother outlived Dad by 20 years, perhaps partially because she managed every day of the then six-day work week to put in an after-dinner snooze. My dad didn't snooze much. At the end of his working life (his life ended at age 66, shortly after ill health forced him into early retirement) he had to work only at least 8.5 hours each day and 5.5 hours on Saturdays, in addition to 40 minutes off for lunch each day, one 20-minute coffee break and no time to take a snooze.

My siblings and I never considered our mother to be burdened too much by domestic chores and child care, and neither did she, because she saw to it that we did what was expected of us, to do our fair share — namely most of it.
   Mind you, although collectively we children did most of it, individually none of us ever did more of it than Mom did. We all shared what needed to be done. That left all of us with more than enough time to study, play and rest.
   Our mother never stopped studying until she passed away in the comfort of the home that had been provided for her in my oldest sister's home. That was done when Mom vacated the house that had been the home for our family until Mom made it available to my youngest sister, her husband and their four children.

Seven children, well trained, make for a powerful and productive team of workers, a great asset to any self-respecting stay-at-home mom and manager of her household. A team can do far more of the required work — and do it far faster — than any mom can by her lonesome self. Our mother loved us for it, and we loved her back. We had much time to love her. At the latest, 15 minutes after every meal the dishes had been washed and put away, the kitchen had been cleaned, the stove polished, the dining room had been tidied, and we began what other household and gardening chores had to be done. After we had done those we cleaned ourselves and studied or played.
   John Heywood wrote back in the 1500's, "...Many hands make work light...the more the merrier." (The German version of that adage goes: "Viele Haende, schnelle Arbeit" or "Viele Haende shaffen der Arbeit schnelles Ende" which means, "Many hands bring a quick end to work.") That is true.
   We were merry when we worked for our family, and our mother never once complained that anyone oppressed her. To the contrary, she felt that she had been blessed. She knew what she had. She loved us and her life in the home domain with the family she had helped to create, a family that she firmly ruled with her husband as the provider and figurehead. She knew that she had made the right decision when she gave up her career in the work domain and her job as the private secretary to the board of directors in a prominent financial institution. She left all of that when she chose to create the family of which she was the undisputed manager and queen. We all loved and respected her for that every day of her life with us until she left us in 1973 to join her husband in the afterlife, 20 years after he had left us, never to be forgotten for all of the sacrifices — including that of his early death — he had made for his family and country.

All of my siblings emulated the lifestyle our parents had taught us.  All did well for themselves and for their own children.  Three of my siblings became millionaires.  All of them have the sort of loving and cooperative families our parents had created. 

Things worked out differently for me and the family my first wife and I had created.  My first wife decided that she wanted to be "liberated" and to use the state as her provider and protector.  Even though that caused a fair bit of hardship for her, our children and me, we all, except for my ex-wife, eventually recovered from the devastation caused by the divorce she had initiated, although there are lasting emotional and financial scars for all.  However, although my current wife and I are now too old to have children, we come from similar family backgrounds and make good use of that.  Our life together since 1983 follows the cooperative model our parents taught us, and we both do well together.  Both of us held full-time jobs at first (the wife eventually gave up hers to devote herself to a full life at home and our farm, and I retired in 1991 from my full-time job to concentrate on running our farm).  Neither of us feels that one is oppressing the other but that our union has from its start been a well-functioning system that is more productive than the sum of its parts.  Both of us contribute to our mutual wellbeing according to our individual abilities: different, equal, and mutually dependent and supportive.

Men assumed supervisory roles over women and received higher wages.

No man assumed anything! Every job, from the mill manager down to the wagon drivers was assigned.
   No-one should forget that it is vastly more comfortable to inspect the quality of manufactured cloth while inside a dry and warm room than it is to haul it away in a cart in which the driver is exposed to the weather while he looks at the horse's ass and listens to it fart.
   The first deceased buried in the brand-new cemetery of my wife's home town of Willingdon in Alberta, Canada, was not a woman pioneer who had died in child birth, but rather a man who had been kicked by a horse he had attempted to shoe.  It was quite normal, even amongst  the early settlers of that time who had to live under unimaginable hardship, for women to outlive their husbands by a good number of years.  Going by the dates on the head stones on the graves of couples buried in the grave yard just north-east of Willingdon, wives outlived their husbands by 14 years on average.
   Why do our perceptions of the relative extent of hardship facing the sexes at that time differ so much from reality?  After all, it is obvious that pioneer life was far harder on men than it was on women.  The answer to the question is simple.  The version of history we get to know is that written by the survivors and victors.

Dead men tell no tales, their widows, their bereaved daughters, sisters and mothers do.

Unsupervised young women away from home generated societal fears over their fate.

Exactly! No-one gave a hoot about the fate of unsupervised young boys and men away from home. That is probably not quite right. Parents then probably cared about their sons as much as our parents cared about my brothers, my peers and me in the first half of the 20th century. Not only were we taught to do our best at work but also to be at our best and to go to church on Sundays, wherever we were; and we did, because it was expected of us.
However, social engineers who wish to promote the destruction of the family can't possibly worry about the well-being of women as well as about the welfare of boys and men.

As a result of the need for wages in the growing cash economy, families became dependent on the wages of women and children.

Sure they did. That is because men's wages, earned under horrible conditions, were generally so low that in many cases they were insufficient for keeping families alive and well. The men that protested and went on strike were beaten, starved and even machine-gunned into submission. However, men eventually succeeded with such sacrifices to create better working conditions for themselves and for women.  For that they got paid back by the feminist propagandists who now call men oppressors of women from whom women need to be liberated.

There was some worker opposition to proposals that child and female labor should be abolished from certain jobs.

Imagine how provocative that statement would be if it were worded: "There was some worker opposition to proposals that child and male labor should be abolished from certain jobs." That is unthinkable, right?
   However, when women were employed, any job a woman got was a job a man couldn't have. Every employed woman in effect created the potential for a man to be unemployed, and in all likelihood that man was the sole or major source of income for his family.

Any study or examination of facts pertaining to one sex that leaves out the other sex is suspect. A fair examination would have been to look at the whole population of men, women and children to determine what kind of jobs were being done by whom, so as to see who lived of whose wages.

The examination of textile workers only in a single mill is not based on a valid statistical sample. No valid generalization from it to the greater population can be made, because the general population is not comprised solely of textile workers from that one mill. If any projections are made, then they should also include the one that shows that 90 percent of men don't work. Of course, that is ludicrous. Therefore all of the other projections made from the "facts" of the textile mill are ludicrous as well.

The whole thing is communist propaganda, or, if not that, it uses communist propaganda tactics that are not the least bit different from those used in the USSR under Stalin.

The frightening aspect of it all is that it has spread so widely. Never forget that the feminists claim as their single most outstanding achievement that they changed the education curriculum. They not only changed it, they are in total control of it now. You have seen for yourself what they are doing with it.

What the effort by feminists to produce educational material proves is that you can always trust a feminist to do self-righteous and self-serving things.

Contemporary (or second wave) feminism has aptly been described as "Marxism without economics," since feminists replace class with gender as the key social construct. Of course, what society constructs can be deconstructed.  This is the feminist project: to abolish gender difference by transforming its institutional source — the patriarchal family. Certain streams of the Gay Rights movement have taken this analysis one step farther. The problem is not just sexism but heterosexism, and the solution is to dismantle not just the patriarchal family but the heterosexual family as such.

— F.L. Morton & Rainer Knopff in
The Charter Revolution & The Court Party (p. 75)
quoted at https://fathersforlife.org/communist_manifesto.htm
information about- and excerpts from the book can be found at

For heaven's sake, never put feminists in charge of the education curriculum.  By all means, let them help, but supervise them well.   Too bad that lesson wasn't learned before the bra-burners got into the picture and before they began to take over control of society.

A massive effort would be required to reverse all of the intellectual damage caused by the feminists. It is no less than the effort that took place in Germany after the Second World War. What is needed now is what was done then: Remove all educational texts from the schools and bookstores, burn them and start over from scratch, without input from either communists, Nazis, or femicommies. Obviously, that must be extended to all media, newspapers, magazines, books, movies, television, radio and the Internet.

You think that is too radical a statement?  Well, think again.  Unnoticed by the general public, in Canada (and not just there) the feminists undertook a massive purge of the text books used in the education curriculum.  Every lecturer was assigned a quantity of text books that they had to go through with a fine-toothed comb to unearth and identify every instant of politically incorrect language. The books that didn't meet the grade were eliminated from the curriculum. (Who Killed Canadian History, by J.L. Granatstein)

It took all of the might of the Allied Forces to destroy an evil empire to make it possible to cleanse the German education curriculum from all influences installed by the Nazis. There is no possible way to reverse current educational trends unless all of the world will be hit by a catastrophe proportionally equal to the destruction of the Nazi empire. The alternative is to do nothing. The consequence of doing nothing is the inevitable collapse that will happen all on its own. It will eventually occur as surely as it did in the USSR.

Truth by itself will not conquer the world, but indoctrination will. It is up to humanity whether it will indoctrinate its children with lies or with the truth.   Clearly, we know what choice the feminists have made.

A more objective view of the plight of workers during the Industrial Revolution would perhaps be the following commentary sent to me by a historian-friend who wishes to remain anonymous:

The Exploitation and oppression of Men in the Early Industrial Revolution in England and Wales

The Industrial Revolution in part was fueled by the economic necessity of  many men to find waged work outside their home to better the lives of their wives and families, whom they were forced culturally to support by the matriarchal oppression inherent in Goddess-based sacrificial ethics. The burdens that women placed on men meant that men were forced to abandon the relative health of the rural economy with its in built-in support systems provided by the Christian Church. In a sense, men swapped the slavery of agricultural serfdom for industrial serfdom goaded by the matriarchy.

Working class males had little in the way of choices. Long periods of poorly or unpaid apprenticeships would precede a life of endless toil, the fruits of which were confiscated by the female in exchange for keeping a home tidy, raising children and for domestic fripperies.

Unskilled men could be hired or fired instantly and were then forced to travel on foot to seek alternative work at poor wages.

The one alternative was to enlist in the Army or Navy, which was usually the equivalent of a penal sentence, as criminals were regularly given the exact same alternative.  In many cases enlistment was actually a death sentence, either through military action, disease, brutal discipline or inhuman treatment.

Females were totally exempt from all forms of military service, yet the "protection" of the female was used throughout history to coerce men to fight and die in warfare.

There are many examples of men being forcibly enlisted by their employers to avoid paying them or simply to get rid of them - especially if they embraced trade union sentiments. This practice was wide spread during W.W.I.

Some unmarried women found jobs in domestic service, textile factories, and piece work shops. Though they worked long hours, their new opportunities generally meant relatively safe, clean jobs with accommodation provided. Men however, tended to work in dangerous industries, mines, steel mills, foundries, chemical works. Health and safety legislation was non-existent; insurance, pensions or medical care totally unavailable to working class men.

By comparison, women had an easier life.  Their physical work, even in the capacity of housewife, was far less demanding than the grueling hard labour of 12-14 hour shifts that men worked six days a week.

Inspectors visited mills, mines and shops, taking evidence from workers to see ways in which the Industrial Revolution affected women and families. No such inspections were made on behalf of men.

All the legislation to protect workers was introduced by men, to protect women and children - not men.

Working class males were deliberately prohibited from education.

Home life suffered as men were faced with the double burden of factory work followed by domestic chores, gardening (for food) home maintenance and child care. Boys (working without wages) often accompanied their fathers to learn their trade.

Mill and factory owners often provided accommodation and what were then utopian benefits for female employees, their safety and spiritual well-being paramount while men and boys were left to fend for themselves.

Slavery - throughout history it was almost exclusively men who became the victims of slavery - their physical labour being the prime requirement for the practice. This is true up to and beyond W.W.II.

Small numbers of women were always enslaved for prostitution - but the fact is, women take too much looking after and are non-productive and uneconomic compared to male captives.

Male prisoners were killed to exterminate the fighting potential of a defeated foe.

Women were spared to provide 'comforts' and trophies for the victors.

Additional reading from sources not dominated by feminist ideology:

  • Navvies: The building of rail lines was very labour intensive. This work was done by the legendary navvies. At one stage during the C19th, one in every 100 persons who worked in this country [the United Kingdom] was a navvy. The word "navvy" came from the word navigator [see a more precise description of the origin of the term]. By the mid-C19th - the height of railway mania - there were 250,000 navvies throughout the country.
  • A picture of navvies
  • The Men Who Built Britain: A History of the Irish Navvy by Ultan Cowley

    The term 'navvy' originated with the building of the 18th-century canals, the 'inland navigation system' in Britain. The diggers became known as 'Navigators', later shortened to 'navvies'. The construction methods pioneered by the canal-builders were adapted by the railway engineers of the 19th century, and the elite excavators on these projects continued to be known as 'Navvies'. By the middle of the 20th century, men who worked on hydroelectric schemes, motorways and other civil engineering works still retained the name. But it had become synonymous with Irish migrant labourers, 'the heavy diggers', who by this time dominated the groundworks aspects of British construction. This book examines how the Irish attained that dominance and the price they paid for it. High earnings were often offset by rough conditions, alienation and ill-health, while potential savings went towards maintaining generations of dependents back home in rural Ireland. It does so against the well-documented contexts of Irish emigration, and British civil engineering, over 250 years. This book is a proud and fitting tribute to the endeavors of countless Irish emigrants who 'built Britain'!

  • Mike Royden's Local History Pages: The History of Halewood Township — The Impact of the Coming of the Railway on 19th Century Halewood

  • Working on the Railroad — in the Victorian age; comments on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Rocky Mountains, and more

  • From Marxism to Feminism: The planned destruction of the American family
    Statement of Bill Wood
    FC-8 Hearing on Waste, Fraud, and Abuse July 17, 2003

    The planned destruction of the family was part of the communist agenda from its inception by Karl Marx and Frederic Engels.   It became government policy in the USSR in about 1917. It was so successful in the USSR that it threatened to destroy society in the USSR.  Curiously, while in the 1940s the USSR took steps to repair the damages its family-hostile policies had caused, American communists imported the Soviet agenda for the planned destruction of the family into the USA.  It has been and continues to be promoted by left-leaning liberals in the West ever since.

    When it was determined that this type of class warfare directed at the family was a complete failure, the Soviets worked quickly to restore the traditional nuclear family in the 1940’s.  Shortly after this, the NAWL (National Association of Women Lawyers) began their push for adopting these failed Soviet policies in America. America’s version of “family law” has adopted much of the early Soviet failed version of class warfare, while adopting new and more insidious Gramscian versions with gender, cultural, and social warfare components. 

    From Bill Wood's testimony to the
    Ways and Means Committee

  • Feminism For Male College Students — A Short Guide to the Truth, by Angry Harry (Off-Site)

whiterose.gif (6796 bytes)The White Rose
Thoughts are Free

Posted 2001 07 21
2003 08 01 (added reference to From Marxism to Feminism: The planned destruction of the American family)
2005 02 11 (expanded the answer to the question "Did women work longer hours than men did?")
2006 03 04 (added link to Feminism for Male College Students)