At the Very Least She Pays the Rent: Women and German Industrialization, 1871-1914

At the Very Least She Pays the Rent: Women and German Industrialization, 1871-1914

At the Very Least She Pays the Rent: Women and German Industrialization, 1871-1914

At the Very Least She Pays the Rent: Women and German Industrialization, 1871-1914

Synopsis

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, German cultural attitudes of paternalism and partriarchy heavily influenced the entrance of women into the labor force. To make German working women visible in their nation's economic and social history, Franzoi examines the relationship between female labor and the production process. This book focuses on women at the intersection of work and family and discusses their work choices during a time of rapid economic development.

Excerpt

Chances for relief, departure, or escape from the multiple demands on women's lives were neither enhanced nor aggravated by the economic transformation of the nineteenth century. This book examines the impact of industrialization on working women in the critical period of Germany's economic growth, a time crucial to that nation's social as well as political formation. Its purpose is to identify what work choices there were for women in industrializing Germany, to determine how women used those work options, and to understand how this affected their lives. Women were the point of intersection between work and family. The ways women interacted with work and with the family involved constant tension, a conflict that demanded continual resolution. Women were virtually caught in the middle of a recurrent dilemma which required handling economic need and family responsibilities simultaneously. Women attempted to integrate the two by bringing paid labor as closely as possible into coincidence with their domestic role.

By looking at the interaction between work options and women's choices, a great deal can be clarified regarding the process of German industrialization and women's response to industrial work. Continuity prevailed over change in the lives of working women because women continued to select work options that were familiar to them. Their choices established a pattern of adjustment that preserved a uniquely female response to work, even during a time of rapid economic transformation. The picture that emerges reveals a significant time lag between . . .

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