Women

Read the materials supplied in the files section and then write a 1,000-word essay considering the following question prompts:

Who were the girls who came to work for the newly opened mills in Lowell, Massachusetts?

For what reasons did these girls seek outside employment?

What prior skills and life experiences would have assisted their new work as industrial workers?

Describe the daily life of a Lowell mill girl. What kind of working conditions did she face? Provide at least two examples. What kind of social and educational activities did she participate in? Provide at least two examples.

What is the contribution of the Lowell mill girls to the larger labor movement?

Factory girls were not only part of revolutionizing industry; they began to revolutionize the role of women in industry. After reading Lucy Ann’s letter-An Independent Mill Girl (Links to an external site.) (1851), how far this revolution goes? Did these working girls and women experience emancipation from traditional Victorian gender roles? To what extent? And how?

The collective experience of the Lowell girls supported women’s participation in many other social and political reforms, and became a bedrock in American women’s activism throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and into the twenty-first. What can we learn from the experiences, successes, and failures of the mill girls, particularly those who actively challenged the harassment, mistreatment, and oppressive restrictions targeted at their sex? Give at least three examples from the web-based sources, and relate them to the activisms of today.

Your essay should include:

Harriet Hanson

The strikes of 1834 and 1836

Lowell Female Labor Reform Association

Sarah Bagley

Voice of Industry

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