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Title: Women in Modern Industry
Author: Hutchins, B. L.
Language: English
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WOMEN IN MODERN INDUSTRY

    *       *       *       *       *

"What is woman but an enemy of friendship, an unavoidable punishment, a
necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable affliction, a constantly
flowing source of tears, a wicked work of nature covered with a shining
varnish?"--SAINT CHRYSOSTOM.

  "And wo in winter tyme with wakying a-nyghtes,
  To rise to the ruel to rock the cradel,
  Both to kard and to kembe, to clouten and to wasche,
  To rubbe and to rely, russhes to pilie
  That reuthe is to rede othere in ryme shewe
  The wo of these women that wonyeth in Cotes."[1]
                                LANGLAND: _Piers Ploughman_, x. 77.

"Two justices of the peace, the mayor or other head officer of any city
(etc.) and two aldermen ... may appoint any such woman as is of the age of
12 years and under the age of 40 years and unmarried and forth of service
... to be retained or serve by the year, week or day for such wages and in
such reasonable sort as they shall think meet; and if any such woman shall
refuse so to serve, then it shall be lawful for the said justices (etc.)
to commit such woman to ward until she shall be bounden to
serve."--_Statute of Labourers_, 1563.

"Every woman spinner's wage shall be such as, following her labour duly
and painfully, she may make it account to."--JUSTICES OF WILTSHIRE:
_Assessment of Wages_, 1604.

"Sometimes one feels that one dare not contemplate too closely the life of
our working women, it is such a grave reproach."--Miss ANNA TRACEY,
_Factory Inspector_, 1913.

"The State has trampled on its subjects for 'ends of State'; it has
neglected them; it is beginning to act consciously for them.... The
progressive enrichment of human life and the remedy of its ills is not a
private affair. It is a public charge. Indeed it is the one and noblest
field of corporate action. The perception of that truth gives rise to the
new art of social politics."--B. KIRKMAN GRAY.

    *       *       *       *       *


WOMEN IN MODERN INDUSTRY

by

B. L. HUTCHINS

Author of "Conflicting Ideals" and (with Mrs. Spencer, D.Sc.)
"A History of Factory Legislation"

With a Chapter Contributed by J. J. Mallon



London
G. Bell and Sons, Ltd.
1915



PREFACE.


It may be well to give a brief explanation of the scheme of the present
work. Part I. was complete in its present form, save for unimportant
corrections, before the summer of 1914. The outbreak of war necessitated
some delay in publication, after which it became evident that some
modification in the scheme and plan of the book must be made. The question
was, whether to revise the work already accomplished so as to bring it
more in tune with the tremendous events that are fresh in all our minds.
For various reasons I decided not to do this, but to leave the earlier
chapters as they stood, save for bringing a few figures up to date, and to
treat of the effects of the war in a separate chapter. I was influenced in
taking this course by the idea that even if the portions written in happy
ignorance of approaching trouble should now appear out of date and out of
focus, yet future students of social history might find a special interest
in the fact that the passages in question describe the situation of women
workers as it appeared almost immediately before the great upheaval.
Moreover, Chapter IVA. contained a section on German women in Trade
Unions. I had no material to re-write this section; I did not wish to omit
it. The course that seemed best was to leave it precisely as it stood, and
the same plan has been adopted with all the pre-war chapters.

The main plan of the book is to give a sketch or outline of the position
of working women, with special reference to the effects of the industrial
revolution on her employment, taking "industrial revolution" in its
broader sense, not as an event of the late eighteenth century, but as a
continuous process still actively at work. I have aimed at description
rather than theory. Some of the current theories about women's position
are of great interest, and I make no pretence to an attitude of detachment
in regard to them, but it certainly appears to me that we need more facts
and knowledge before theory can be based on a sure foundation. Here and
there I have drawn my own conclusions from what I saw and heard, but these
conclusions are mostly provisional, and may well be modified in the light
of clearer knowledge.

I am fully conscious of an inadequacy of treatment and of certain defects
in form. Women's industry is a smaller subject than men's, but it is even
more complicated and difficult. There are considerable omissions in my
book. I have not, for instance, discussed, save quite incidentally, the
subject of the industrial employment of married women or the subject of
domestic service, omissions which are partly due to my knowledge that
studies of these questions were in process of preparation by hands more
capable than mine. There are other omissions which are partly due to the
lack or unsatisfactory nature of the material. A standard history of the
Industrial Revolution does not yet exist (Monsieur Mantoux's valuable book
covers only the earlier period), and the necessary information has to be
collected from miscellaneous sources. In dealing with the effects of war,
my treatment is necessarily most imperfect. The situation throughout the
autumn, winter, and spring 1914-15, was a continually shifting one, and to
represent it faithfully is a most difficult task. Nor can we for years
expect to gauge the changes involved. With all our efforts to see and take
stock of the social and economic effects of war, we who watch and try to
understand the social meanings of the most terrible convulsion in history
probably do not perceive the most significant reactions. That the position
of industrial women must be considerably modified we cannot doubt; but the
modifications that strike the imagination most forcibly now, such as the
transference of women to new trades, may possibly not appear the most
important in twenty or thirty years' time. Even so, perhaps, a
contemporary sketch of the needs of working women; of the success or
failure of our social machinery to supply and keep pace with those needs
at a time of such tremendous stress and tension, may not be altogether
without interest.

I have to express my great indebtedness to Mr. Mallon, Secretary of the
Anti-Sweating League, who has given me the benefit of his unrivalled
knowledge and experience in a chapter on women's wages. I have also to
thank Miss Mabel Lawrence, who for a short time assisted me in the study
of women in Unions, and both then and afterwards contributed many helpful
suggestions to the work she shared with me. To the Labour Department I am
indebted for kind and much appreciated permission to use its library; to
Miss Elspeth Carr for drawing my attention to the "Petition of the Poor
Spinners," an interesting document which will be found in the Appendix;
and to many Trade Union secretaries and others for their kindness in
allowing me to interview them and presenting me with documents. Miss Mary
Macarthur generously loaned a whole series of the Trade Union League
Reports, which were of the greatest service in tracing the early history
of the League. I regret that Mr. Tawney's book on Minimum Rates in the
Tailoring Trades; Messrs. Bland, Brown, and Tawney's valuable collection
of documents on economic history; and the collection of letters from
working women, entitled "Maternity," all came into my hands too late for
me to make as much use of them as I should have liked to do.

B. L. H.

HAMPSTEAD, _September 1915_.



CONTENTS


                                                                      PAGE

  PART I

  CHAPTER I
    SKETCH OF THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN ENGLAND BEFORE THE
    INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION                                                1

  CHAPTER II
    WOMEN AND THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION                                 31

  CHAPTER III
    STATISTICS OF THE LIFE AND EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN                      75

  CHAPTER IV
    WOMEN IN TRADE UNIONS                                               92

  CHAPTER IVA
    WOMEN IN UNIONS--_continued_                                       154

  CHAPTER V
    SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION OF PART I.                                  178


  PART II

  CHAPTER VI
    WOMEN'S WAGES IN THE WAGE CENSUS OF 1906                           213

  CHAPTER VII
    THE EFFECTS OF THE WAR ON THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN                  239

  APPENDIX TO CHAPTERS II., IV., AND VII.                              267

  AUTHORITIES                                                          299

  INDEX                                                                305



INTRODUCTORY


Little attention has been given until quite recent times to the position
of the woman worker and the special problems concerning her industrial and
commercial employment. The historical material relating to the share of
women in industry is extremely scanty. Women in mediaeval times must have
done a very large share of the total work necessary for carrying on social
existence, but the work of men was more specialised, more differentiated,
more picturesque. It thus claimed and obtained a larger share of the
historian's attention. The introduction of machinery in the eighteenth
century effected great changes, and for the first time the reactions of
the work on the workers began to be considered. Women and children who had
previously been employed in their own homes or in small workshops were now
collected in factories, drilled to work in large numbers together. The
work was not at first very different, but the environment was enormously
altered. The question of the child in industry at first occupied attention
almost to the exclusion of women. But the one led naturally to the other.
The woman in industry could no longer be ignored: she had become an
economic force.

The position of the industrial woman in modern times is closely related,
one way or another, to the industrial revolution, but the relation cannot
be stated in any short or easy formula. The reaction of modern methods on
woman's labour is highly complex and assumes many forms. The pressure on
the woman worker which causes her to be employed for long hours, low
wages, in bad conditions, and with extreme insecurity of employment, is
frequently supposed to be due to the development of industry on a larger
scale. It is, in my view, due rather to the survival of social conditions
of the past in an age when an enormous increase in productive power has
transformed the conditions of production. New institutions and new social
conditions are needed to suit the change in the conditions of production.
It is not the change in the material environment which is to blame, so
much as the failure of organised society so far to understand and control
the material changes. The capitalist employer organised industry on the
basis of a "reserve of labour," and on the principle of employing the
cheapest workers he could get, not out of original sin, or because he was
so very much worse than other people, but simply because it was the only
way he knew of, and no one was there to indicate an alternative
course--much less compel him to take it. Much more guilty than the
cotton-spinners or dock companies were the wealthy governing classes, who
permitted the conditions of work to be made inhuman, and yet trampled on
the one flower the people had plucked from their desolation--the joy of
union and fellowship; who allowed a system of casual labour to become
established, and then prated about the bad habits and irregularity which
were the results of their own folly.

Organised society had hardly begun to understand the needs and
implications of the industrial revolution until quite late in the
nineteenth century, and the failure of statesmanlike foresight has been
especially disastrous to women, because of their closer relationship to
the family. There is no economic necessity under present circumstances for
women to work so long, so hard, and for such low wages as they do; on the
contrary, we know now that it is bad economy that they should be so
employed. But the subordinate position of the girl and the woman in the
family, the lack of a tradition of association with her fellows, has
reacted unfavourably on her economic capacity in the world of competitive
trade. She is preponderantly an immature worker; she expects, quite
reasonably, humanly and naturally, to marry. Whether her expectation is or
is not destined to be fulfilled, it constitutes an element of impermanence
in her occupational career which reacts unfavourably on her earnings and
conditions of employment.

The tradition of obedience, docility and isolation in the family make it
hard for the young girl-worker to assert her claims effectively; both her
ignorance and her tradition of modesty make it difficult for her to voice
the requirements of decent living, some of the most essential of which are
taboo--not to be spoken of to a social superior or an individual of the
opposite sex. The whole circumstances of her life make her employment an
uncertain matter, contingent upon all sorts of outside circumstances,
which have little or nothing to do with her own industrial capacity. In
youth, marriage may at any time take her out of the economic struggle and
render wage-earning superfluous and unnecessary. On the other hand, the
sudden pressure of necessity, bereavement, or sickness or unemployment of
husband or bread-winning relative, may throw a woman unexpectedly on the
labour market. It is a special feature of women's employment that, unlike
the work of men, who for the most part have to labour from early youth to
some more or less advanced age, women's work is subject to considerable
interruption, and is contingent on family circumstances, whence it comes
about that women may not always need paid work, but when they do they
often want it so badly that they are ready to take anything they can get.
The woman worker also is more susceptible to class influences than are her
male social equals, and charity and philanthropy often tend in some degree
to corrupt the loyalty and divert the interest of working women from their
own class. These are some of the reasons why associations for mutual
protection and assistance have been so slow in making way among women
workers.

The protection of the State, though valuable as far as it goes, has been
inadequate: how inadequate can be seen in the Reports of the Women Factory
Inspectors, who, in spite of their insufficient numbers, take so large a
share in the administration of the Factory Act. Their Reports, however, do
not reach a large circle. The Insurance Act has been the means of a more
startling propaganda. The results following the working of this Act shew
that although women are longer lived than men, they have considerably more
sickness. The claims of women for sick benefit had been underestimated,
and many local insurance societies became nearly insolvent in consequence.
A cry of malingering was raised in various quarters, and we were asked to
believe that excessive claims could be prevented by stricter and more
careful administration. This solution of the problem, however, is quite
inadequate to explain the facts. There may have been some malingering, but
it has occurred chiefly in cases where the earnings of the workers were so
low as to be scarcely above the sickness benefit provided by the Act, or
even below it. In other cases the excess claims were due to the fact that
medical advice and treatment was a luxury the women had previously been
unable to afford even when they greatly needed it; or to the fact that
they had previously continued to go to work when unfit for the exertion,
and now at last found themselves able to afford a few days' rest and
nursing; or, finally, to the unhealthy conditions in which they were
compelled to live and work. As Miss Macarthur stated before the
Departmental Committee on Sickness Benefit Claims, "Low wages, and all
that low wages involve in the way of poor food, poor housing, insufficient
warmth, lack of rest and of air, and so forth, necessarily predispose to
disease; and although such persons may, at the time of entering into
insurance, have been, so far as they knew, in a perfectly normal state of
health, their normal state is one with no reserve of health and strength
to resist disease." Excessive claims may or may not, the witness went on
to show, be associated with extremely low wages. Thus the cotton trade,
which is the best paid of any great industry largely employing women,
nevertheless shows a high proportion of claims. Miss Macarthur made an
urgent recommendation (in which the present writer begs to concur), that
when any sweeping accusation of malingering is brought against a class of
insured persons, medical enquiry should be made into the conditions under
which those women work. If the conditions that produce excessive claims
were once clearly known and realised, it is the convinced opinion of the
present writer that those conditions would be changed by the pressure of
public opinion, not so much out of sentiment or pity--though sentiment and
pity are badly needed--but out of a clear perception of the senseless
folly and loss that are involved in the present state of things. Year by
year, and week by week, the capitalist system is allowed to use up the
lives of our women and girls, taking toll of their health and strength, of
their nerves and energy, of their capacity, their future, and the future
of their children after them. And all this, not for any purpose; not as it
is with the soldier, who dies that something greater than himself may
live; for no purpose whatever, except perhaps saving the trouble of
thought. So far as wealth is the object of work, it is practically certain
that the national wealth, or indeed the output of war material, would be
much greater if it were produced under more humane and more reasonable
conditions, with a scientific disposition of hours of work and the use of
appropriate means for keeping up the workers' health and strength. A
preliminary and most important step, it should be said, would be a
considerable reinforcement of the staff of women factory inspectors.

Nor do conditions of work alone make up the burden of the heavy debt
against society for the treatment of women workers. Housing conditions,
though no doubt greatly improved, especially in towns, are often extremely
bad, and largely responsible for the permanent ill-health suffered by so
many married women in the working class, by the non-wage-earning group,
perhaps not much less than by the industrial woman-worker.[2] Two other
questions occur in this connection, both of great importance. First, the
question of the relation of the employment of the young girl to her health
after marriage--a subject which appears to have received little scientific
attention. Only a minority of women are employed at any one time, but a
large majority of young girls are employed, and it follows that the
majority of older women _must have been employed_ in those critical years
of girlhood and young womanhood, which have so great an influence on the
constitution and character for the future. The conditions and kind of
employment from this point of view would afford material for a volume in
itself, but the subject needs medical knowledge for its satisfactory
handling, and a laywoman can but indicate it and pass on. Second, the need
of making medical advice and treatment more accessible. This would involve
the removal of restrictions and obstacles which, however necessary under a
scheme of Health Insurance, appear in practice to rob that scheme of at
least half its right to be considered as a National Provision for the
health of women.[3]

It will appear in the following pages that I see little reason to believe
in any decline and fall of women from a golden age in which they did only
work which was "suitable," and that in the bosoms of their families. The
records of the domestic system that have come down to us are no doubt
picturesque enough, but the cases which have been preserved in history or
fiction were probably the aristocracy of industry, under which were the
very poor, of whom we know little. There must also have been a class of
single women wage-earners who were probably even more easy to exploit in
old times than they are now, the opportunities for domestic service being
much more limited and worse paid. The working woman does not appear to me
to be sliding downwards into the "chaos of low-class industries," rather
is she painfully, though perhaps for the most part unconsciously, working
her way upwards out of a more or less servile condition of poverty and
ignorance into a relatively civilised state, existing at present in a
merely rudimentary form. She has attained at least to the position of
earning her own living and controlling her own earnings, such as they are.
She has statutory rights against her employer, and a certain measure of
administrative protection in enforcing them. The right to a living wage,
fair conditions of work, and a voice in the collective control over
industry are not yet fully recognised, but are being claimed more and more
articulately, and can less and less be silenced and put aside. The woman
wage-earner indeed appears in many ways socially in advance of the middle
and upper class woman, who is still so often economically a mere parasite.
Woman's work may still be chaotic, but the chaos, we venture to hope,
indicates the throes of a new social birth, not the disintegration of
decay.

Among much that is sad, tragic and disgraceful in the industrial
exploitation of women, there is emerging this fact, fraught with deepest
consolation: the woman herself is beginning to think. Nothing else at long
last can really help her; nothing else can save us all. There are now an
increasing number of women workers who do not sink their whole energies in
the petty and personal, or restrict their aims to the earning and
spending what they need for themselves and those more or less dependent on
them. They are able to appreciate the newer wants of society, the claim
for more leisure and amenity of life, for a share in the heritage of
England's thought and achievements, for better social care of children,
for the development of a finer and deeper communal consciousness. This is
the new spirit that is beginning to dawn in women.



CHAPTER I.

SKETCH OF THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN ENGLAND BEFORE THE INDUSTRIAL
REVOLUTION.


The traces of women in economic and industrial history are unmistakable,
but the record of their work is so scattered, casual, and incoherent that
it is difficult to derive a connected story therefrom. We know enough,
however, to disprove the old misconception that women's industrial work is
a phenomenon beginning with the nineteenth century.

It seems indeed not unlikely that textile industry, perhaps also
agriculture and the taming of the smaller domestic animals, were
originated by women, their dawning intelligence being stimulated to
activity by the needs of children. Professor Karl Pearson in his
interesting essay, _Woman as Witch_, shows that many of the folklore
ceremonies connected with witchcraft associate the witch with symbols of
agriculture, the pitchfork, and the plough, as well as with the broom and
spindle, and are probably the fossil survivals, from a remote past, of a
culture in which the activities of the women were relatively more
prominent than they are now. The witch is a degraded form of the old
priestess, cunning in the knowledge of herbs and medicine, and preserving
in spells and incantations such wisdom as early civilisation possessed. In
Thüringen, Holda or Holla is a goddess of spinning and punishes idle
persons. Only a century ago the women used to sing songs to Holla as they
dressed their flax. In Swabia a broom is carried in procession on Twelfth
Night, in honour of the goddess Berchta. The "wild women" or spirits
associated with wells or springs are frequently represented in legends as
spinning; they come to weddings and spin, and their worship is closely
connected with the distaff as a symbol.

Women are also the first architects; the hut in widely different parts of
the world--among Kaffirs, Fuegians, Polynesians, Kamtchatdals--is built by
women. Women are everywhere the primitive agriculturists, and work in the
fields of Europe to-day. Women seem to have originated pottery, while men
usually ornamented and improved it. Woman "was at first, and is now, the
universal cook, preserving food from decomposition and doubling the
longevity of man. Of the bones at last she fabricates her needles and
charms.... From the grasses around her cabin she constructs the floor-mat,
the mattress and the screen, the wallet, the sail. She is the mother of
all spinners, weavers, upholsterers, sail-makers."

The evidence of anthropology thus hardly bears out the assertion
frequently made (recently, _e.g._, by Dr. Lionel Tayler in _The Nature of
Woman_) that woman does not originate. A much more telling demonstration
of the superiority of man in handicraft would be to show that when he
takes over a woman's idea he usually brings it to greater technical
perfection than she has done. "Men, liberated more or less from the tasks
of hunting and fighting, gradually took up the occupations of women,
specialised them and developed them in an extraordinary degree....
Maternity favours an undifferentiated condition of the various avocations
that are grouped around it; it is possible that habits of war produced a
sense of the advantages of specialised and subordinated work. In any case
the fact itself is undoubted and it has had immense results on
civilisation."

Man has infinitely surpassed woman in technical skill, scientific
adaptation, and fertility of invention; yet the rude beginnings of culture
and civilisation, of the crafts that have so largely made us what we are,
were probably due to the effort and initiative of primitive woman, engaged
in a hand-to-hand struggle with the rude and hostile forces of her
environment, to satisfy the needs of her offspring and herself.

I do not propose, however, to enter into a discussion of the position of
primitive woman, alluring as such a task might be from some points of
view. When we come to times nearer our own and of which written record
survives, it is remarkable that the further back we go the more completely
women appear to be in possession of textile industry. The materials are
disappointing: there is little that can serve to explain fully the
industrial position of women or to make us realise the conditions of their
employment. But as to the fact there can be no doubt. Nor can it be
questioned that women were largely employed in other industries also. The
women of the industrial classes have always worked, and worked hard. It is
only in quite modern times, so far as I can discover, that the question,
whether some kinds of work were not too hard for women, has been raised at
all.

_Servants in Husbandry._--It is quite plain that women have always done a
large share of field work. The Statute of Labourers, 23 Edw. III. 1349,
imposed upon women equally with men the obligation of giving service when
required, unless they were over sixty, exercised a craft or trade, or were
possessed of means or land of their own, or already engaged in service,
and also of taking only such wages as had been given previous to the Black
Death and the resulting scarcity of labour. In 1388, the statute 12
Richard II. c. 3, 4 and 5, forbids any servant, man or woman, to depart
out of the place in which he or she is employed, at the end of the year's
service, without a letter patent, and limits a woman labourer's wages to
six shillings per annum. It also enacts that "he or she which use to
labour at the plough" shall continue at the same work and not be put to a
"mystery or handicraft." In 1444 the statute 23 Henry VI. c. 13 fixes the
wages of a woman servant in husbandry at ten shillings per annum with
clothing worth four shillings and food. In harvest a woman labourer was to
have two pence a day and food, "and such as be worthy of less shall take
less."

Thorold Rogers says that in the thirteenth century women were employed in
outdoor work, and especially as assistants to thatchers. He thinks that,
"estimated proportionately, their services were not badly paid," but that,
allowing for the different value of money, women got about as much for
outdoor work as women employed on farms get now. After the Plague,
however, the wages paid women as thatchers' helps were doubled, and before
the end of the fifteenth century were increased by 125 per cent. A statute
of 1495 fixed the wages of women labourers and other labourers at the same
amount, viz. 2-1/2d. a day, or 4-1/2d. if without board. At a later
period, 1546-1582, according to Thorold Rogers, some accounts of harvest
work from Oxford show women paid the same as men.

In the sixteenth century the Statute of Apprentices, 5 Eliz. c. 4, gave
power to justices to compel women between twelve years old and forty to be
retained and serve by the year, week, or day, "for such wages and in such
reasonable sort and manner as they shall think meet," and a woman who
refused thus to serve might be imprisoned.

_Textiles. Wool and Linen._--No trace remains in history of the inventor
of the loom, but no historical record remains of a time without some means
of producing a texture by means of intertwining a loose thread across a
fixed warp. Any such device, however rude, must involve a degree of
culture much above mere savagery, and probably resulted from a long
process of groping effort and invention. From this dim background
hand-spinning and weaving emerge in tradition and history as the customary
work of women, the type of their activity, and the norm of their duty and
morals. The old Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, and German words for loom are
certainly very ancient, and Pictet derives the word _wife_ from the
occupation of weaving. In the Northern Mythology the three stars in the
Belt of Orion were called Frigga Rock, or Frigga's Distaff, which in the
days of Christianity was changed to Maria Rock, rock being an old word for
distaff.

Spinning, weaving, dyeing, and embroidering were special features of
Anglo-Saxon industry, and were entirely confined to women. King Alfred in
his will distinguished between the spear-half and spindle-half of his
family; and in an old illustration of the Scripture, Adam is shown
receiving the spade and Eve the distaff, after their expulsion from the
Garden of Eden. This traditional distinction between the duties of the
sexes was continued even to the grave, a spear or a spindle, according to
sex, being often found buried with the dead in Anglo-Saxon tombs.

In the Church of East Meon, Hants, there is a curious old font with a
sculptured representation of the same incident: Eve, it has been observed,
stalks away with head erect, plying her spindle and distaff, while Adam,
receiving a spade from the Angel, looks submissive and abased.

In an old play entitled _Corpus Christi_, formerly performed before the
Grey or Franciscan Friars, Adam is made to say to Eve:

  And wyff, to spinne now must thou fynde
  Our naked bodyes in cloth to wynde.

The distaff or rock could on occasion serve the purpose of a weapon of
offence or defence. In the _Digby Mysteries_ a woman brandishes her
distaff, exclaiming:

  What! shall a woman with a Rocke drive thee away!

In the _Winter's Tale_ Hermione exclaims:

  We'll thwack him thence with distaffs (Act I., Sc. ii.).

Spinning and weaving were in old times regarded as specially virtuous
occupations. Deloney quotes an old song which brings out this idea with
much _naïveté_:

  Had Helen then sat carding wool,
  Whose beauteous face did breed such strife,
  She had not been Sir Paris' trull
  Nor cause so many lose their life.
  Or had King Priam's wanton son
  Been making quills with sweet content
  He had not then his friends undone
  When he to Greece a-gadding went.
  The cedar trees endure more storms
  Than little shrubs that sprout on hie,
  The weaver lives more void of harm
  Than princes of great dignity.

There is also a little French poem quoted and translated by Wright, which
runs thus:

  Much ought woman to be held dear,
  By her is everybody clothed.
  Well know I that woman spins and manufactures
  The cloths with which we dress and cover ourselves,
  And gold tissues, and cloth of silk;
  And therefore say I, wherever I may be,
  To all who shall hear this story,
  That they say no ill of womankind.

Spinning and weaving, as ordinarily carried on in the mediaeval home,
were, Mr. Andrews thinks, backward, wasteful, and comparatively unskilled
in technique. It is uncertain exactly at what period the spinning-wheel
came into existence--certainly before the sixteenth century, and it may be
a good deal earlier; but doubtless the use of the distaff lingered on in
country places and among older-fashioned people long after the wheel was
in use in the centres of the trades. Thus Aubrey speaks of nuns using
wheels, and adds, "In the old time they used to spin with rocks; in
Somersetshire they use them still." Yet weaving among the Anglo-Saxons had
been carried to a considerable degree of excellence in the cities and
monasteries. Mr. Warden says that even before the end of the seventh
century the art of weaving had attained remarkable perfection in England,
and he quotes from a book by Bishop Aldhelm, written about 680, describing
"webs woven with shuttles, filled with threads of purple and many other
colours, flying from side to side, and forming a variety of figures and
images in different compartments with admirable art." These beautiful
handiworks were executed by ladies of high rank and great piety, and were
designed for ornaments to the churches or for vestments to the clergy. St.
Theodore of Canterbury thought it necessary to forbid women to work on
Sunday either in weaving or cleaning the vestments or sewing them, or in
carding wool, or beating flax, or in washing garments, or in shearing the
sheep, or in any such occupations.

Tapestry, cloth of gold, and other woven fabrics of great beauty and
fineness, besides embroidery, were produced in convents, which in the
Middle Ages were the chief centres of culture for women. So much was this
the case indeed, that the spiritual advisers of the nuns at times became
uneasy, and exhorted them to give more time to devotion and less to
weaving and knitting "vainglorious garments of many colours." In that
curious book of advice to nuns, the _Ancren Riwle_, composed in the
twelfth century, the writer showed the same spirit, and opposed the making
of purses and other articles of silk with ornamental work. He also
dissuaded women from trafficking with the products of the conventual
estates. These injunctions seem to indicate that women were showing some
degree of mental and artistic activity and initiative. Royal ladies worked
at spinning and weaving, and Piers Plowman tells the lovely ladies who
asked him for work, to spin wool and flax, make cloth for the poor and
naked, and teach their daughters to do the same.

It is evident from old accounts that a good deal of weaving was done
outside by the piece for these great households, and of course spinning
and weaving were largely carried on in cottages as a bye-industry in
conjunction with agriculture. Bücher gives a very interesting account of
spinning as an opportunity for social intercourse among primitive peoples.
In Thibet, he says, there is a spinning-room in each village; the young
people, men and girls, meet and spin and smoke together. Spinning in
groups or parties is known to have obtained also in Germany in olden
times, and girls who now meet to make lace together in the same sociable
way still say that they "go spinning." Spinning-rooms exist in Russia. In
Yorkshire spinning seems to have been done socially in the open air, in
fine weather, down to the eve of the industrial revolution.

Spinning was one of the first works in which young girls were instructed,
and thus spinster has become the legal designation of an unmarried woman,
not that she always gave up spinning at marriage, but because it was
looked upon as the young unmarried woman's chief occupation. Old
manuscripts also show women weaving at the loom, illustrations of which
can be found in the interesting works of Thomas Wright.

In 1372 a Yorkshire woman spinner was summoned for taking "too much wages,
contrary to the Statute of Artificers." In 1437 John Notyngham, a rich
grocer of Bury St. Edmunds, bequeathed to one of his daughters a
spinning-wheel and a pair of cards (cards or carpayanum, an implement
which is stated in the _Promptorum Parvulorum_ to be especially a woman's
instrument). In 1418 Agnes Stebbard in the same town bequeathed to two of
her maids a pair of wool-combs each, one combing-stick, one wheel, and one
pair of cards. An illuminated MS. of the well-known French _Boccace des
Nobles Femmes_ has a most interesting illustration showing a queen and two
maidens; one maiden is spinning with a distaff, another combing wool, the
queen sits at the loom weaving. Women often appear in old records as
combers, carders, and spinners. Chaucer says rather cynically:

  Deceit, weeping, spinning God hath given
  To women kindly, whiles that they may liven.

And of the wife of Bath:

  Of clothmaking she had such an haunt
  She passed them of Ipres and of Gaunt.

The distaff lingered on for spinning flax. As late as 1757 an English poet
writes:

                  And many yet adhere
  To the ancient distaff at the bosom fixed,
  Casting the whirling spindle as they walk;
  At home or in the sheep fold or the mart,
  Alike the work proceeds.

Walter of Henley says: "In March is time to sow flax and hemp, for I have
heard old housewives say that better is March hards than April flax, the
reason appeareth, but how it should be sown, weeded, pulled, repealed,
watered, washen, dried, beaten, braked, tawed, heckled, spun, wound,
wrapped and woven, it needeth not for me to show, for they be wise enough,
and thereof may they make sheets, bordclothes (_sic_), towels, shirts,
smocks, and such other necessaries, and therefore let thy distaff be
always ready for a pastime, that thou be not idle. And undoubted a woman
cannot get her living honestly with spinning on the distaff, but it
stoppeth a gap and must needs be had." Further on, in reference to wool
(probably spun by wheel?), he draws the opposite conclusion: "It is
convenient for a husband to have sheep of his own, for many causes, and
then may his wife have part of the wool, to make her husband and herself
some clothes.... And if she have no wool of her own she may take wool to
spin of cloth-makers, and by that means she may have a convenient living,
an many times to do other works."

Irish women were noted for their skill in dressing hemp and flax and
making linen and woollen cloth. Sir William Temple said, in 1681, that no
women were apter to spin flax well than the Irish, who, "labouring little
in any kind with their hands have their fingers more supple and soft than
other women of poorer condition among us."

In the old Shuttleworth Accounts, reprinted by the Chetham Society, there
are minute directions to the housewife on the management and manipulation
of her wool. "It is the office of a husbandman at the shearing of the
sheep to bestow upon the housewife such a competent proportion of wool as
shall be convenient for the clothing of his family; which wool, as soon as
she hath received it, she shall open, and with a pair of shears cut away
all the coarse locks, pitch, brands, tarred locks, and other feltrings,
and lay them by themselves for coarse coverlets and the like. The rest she
is to break in pieces and tease, lock by lock, with her hands open, and so
divide the wool as not any part may be feltered or close together, but all
open and loose. Then such of the wool as she intends to spin white she
shall put by itself and the rest she shall weigh up and divide into
several quantities, according to the proportion of the web she intends to
make, and put every one of them into particular lays of netting, with
tallies of wool fixed into them with privy marks thereon, for the weight,
colour, and knowledge of the wool, when the first colour is altered. Then
she shall if she please send them to the dyer to be dyed after her own
fancy," or dye them herself (recipes for which are given).

"After your wool is mixed, oiled and trimmed (carded), you shall then spin
it upon great wool wheels, according to the order of good housewifery; the
action whereof must be got by practice, and not by relation; only this you
shall be carefull, to draw your thread according to nature and goodness of
your wool, not according to your particular desire; for if you draw a fine
thread from wool which is of a coarse staple, it will want substance ...
so, if you draw a coarse thread from fine wool, it will then be much
overthick ... to the disgrace of good housewifery and loss of much cloth."

_Weaving and Spinning as a Woman's Trade._--The employments carried on by
women in the household may have yielded money occasionally, as we have
seen from some of the foregoing quotations, but the work appears in these
excerpts to have been carried on rather as a bye-industry, as a means of
utilising surplus produce, than as a recognised trade for gain or profit.
Did women carry on the manufacture of woollen goods definitely as a craft
or trade? The evidence on this head is not very clear. A statute of Edward
III.[4] expressly exempts women from the ordinance, then in force, that
men should not follow more than one craft. "It is ordained that Artificers
Handicraft people hold them every one to one Mystery, which he will choose
between this and the said feast of Candlemas; and Two of every craft shall
be chosen to survey, that none use other craft than the same which he
hath chosen.... But the intent of the King and of his Council is, that
Women, that is to say, Brewers, Bakers, Carders and Spinners, and Workers
as well of Wool as of Linen Cloth and of Silk, Brawdesters and Breakers of
Wool and all other that do use and work all Handy Works may freely use and
work as they have done before this time, without any impeachment or being
restrained by this Ordinance." The meaning of this ordinance is rather
obscure, but the greater liberty conferred on women would seem to imply
that they were not carrying on the trades mentioned as organised workers
competing with men, but that they performed the various useful works
mentioned at odd times, incidentally to the work of the household. Miss
Abram says women were sometimes cloth-makers (see 4 Edw. IV. c. 1), and
often women cloth-makers, combers, carders, and spinners are mentioned in
the Parliamentary Rolls. There were women amongst the tailors of
Salisbury, and amongst the yeoman tailors of London, also among the dyers
of Bristol and the drapers of London. Women might join the Merchant Gild
of Totnes, and some belonged to the Gild Merchant of Lyons.

There appear to have been women members of the Weavers' Company of London
in Henry VIII.'s time. Again at Bristol, in documents dating from the
fourteenth century, we find mention of the "brethren and sistern" of the
Weavers' Gild.

In the next century, in the first year of Edward IV., complaint was,
however, made that many able-bodied weavers were out of work, in
consequence of the employment of women at the weaver's craft, both at home
and hired out. It was ordered that henceforward any one setting, putting,
or hiring his wife, daughter, or maid "to such occupation of weaving in
the loom with himself or with any other person of the said craft, within
the said town of Bristol" should upon proof be fined 6s. 8d., half to go
to the Chamber of Bristol and half to the Craft. This regulation was not,
however, to apply to any weaver's wife so employed at the time it was
made, but the said woman might continue to work at the loom as before.

Professor Unwin quotes a rule of the Clothworkers of London, in the second
year of Edward VI., imposing a fine of 20 pence on any member employing
even his own wife and daughter in his shop. At Hull, in 1490, women were
forbidden working at the weaver's trade. But in 1564 the proviso was
introduced that a widow might work at her husband's trade so long as she
continued a widow and observed the orders of the company. The London
Weavers clearly recognised women members, for they enacted that "no man or
woman of the said craft shall entice any man's servant from him." But
another rule prohibited taking a woman as apprentice. The statutes of the
Weavers of Edinburgh in the sixteenth century provided that no woman be
allowed to have looms of her own, _unless_ she be a freeman's wife.
Probably it was felt in practice to be impossible to prevent a woman
helping her husband, or carrying on his trade after his death, although
there was evidently a desire to keep women out of the craft as much as
possible. By the seventeenth century Gervase Markham writes as if women
did no weaving at all. "Now after your cloth is thus warped and delivered
up into the hands of the Weaver, the Housewife hath finished her labour,
for in the weaving, walking, and dressing thereof she can challenge no
property more than to entreat them severally to discharge their duties
with a good conscience." At Norwich, in 1511, the Ordinance of Weavers
forbade women to weave worsted, "for that they be not of sufficient power
to work the same worsteds as they ought to be wrought."

Records of rates of pay to journeymen weavers, tuckers, fullers, etc.,
1651,[5] ignore women as textile workers altogether; the only women
mentioned in this assessment are agricultural workers and domestic
servants. Nevertheless, old accounts of the seventeenth century do show
payments to women, not only for spinning, but for weaving and "walking"
woollen cloth, and we can only conclude that while the progress of
technical improvements had made weaving largely a men's trade, it was yet
also carried on by women to a considerable extent.

_Apprenticeship._--It seems appropriate here to give some little space to
the subject of apprenticeship. Miss Dunlop points out, in her recent
valuable work on that subject, that the opposition of some of the gilds to
women's work was not hostility to women as women, so much as distrust of
the untrained, unqualified worker. "At Salisbury the barber-surgeons
agitated against unskilled women who medelled in the trade." "In the
Girdlers' Company the officers forbade their members to employ foreigners
and maids, not out of any animosity to the women, but because unscrupulous
workmen had been underselling their fellows by employing cheap labour." At
Hull, as we have seen, the employment of women was forbidden, but so was
the employment of aliens. According to Miss Dunlop, the great difficulty
in the way of women was the onerousness of domestic work, which prevented
girls undertaking apprenticeship to a skilled craft. It appears that women
and girls were largely employed as assistants to the husband or father,
and that the requirement of apprenticeship by the Elizabethan Statute did
not check the practice, as it was so widespread and so convenient that the
law was difficult to enforce. It is exceptional, Miss Dunlop remarks, to
find a gild forbidding the practice, and in point of fact, the services of
his wife and daughter were usually the only cheap casual labour a man
could get. Apprentice labour was cheap, but could not be obtained for
short periods at a sudden pressure. "Girl labour, therefore, had a
peculiar value, and we may suppose that more girls worked at crafts and
manufactures than would have been the case if they had been obliged to
serve an apprenticeship." There was no systematic training and technical
teaching of girls as there was of boys, though in some cases they were
apprenticed and served their time, and in others, though unapprenticed,
they may have been as carefully taught. "But apprenticeship played no part
in the life of girls as a whole: they missed the general education which
it afforded, and their training tended to be casual and irregular": on the
other hand, their lives gained something in variety from the change of
passing from household to industrial work and _vice versa_. The system
must, however, have tended to keep women in an inferior and subordinate
position. "For although they worked hard and the total amount of their
labour has contributed largely to our industrial development, it was only
exceptionally that they attained to the standing of employers and
industrial leaders." The exceptions are rather interesting; it is evident
that London was broad-minded in its delimitation of the woman's sphere of
activity and there were many instances of girls being apprenticed.

There were also women who, though unapprenticed, had the right of working
on their own account, and this, though never very common, was not so
unusual as to arouse comment or surprise. These were mostly widows who
carried on the work of their deceased husbands; others were the daughters
of freemen who claimed as such to be admitted to the gild or company,
basing their claims on rights of patrimony. This taking up of independent
work by no means implied that the women had themselves served
apprenticeship in youth; it seems merely to have meant the inheritance of
the goodwill and privileges along with the craftsman's shop. In the
Carpenters' Company Mary Wiltshire and Ann Callcutt took up their freedom
by right of patrimony, and there are other instances.

_The Development of Capitalistic Industry._--The growth and development of
a capitalistic system of industry can be traced from the fifteenth
century, and forms one of the most interesting and dramatic episodes in
economic history. It is, however, not very easy to determine in what way
the change influenced women's employment. The more prosperous among the
weavers gradually developed into clothiers, employing many hands, but the
majority tended to become mere wage-earners. A petition of weavers in 1539
stated that the clothiers had their own looms and weavers and fullers in
their own houses, so that the master weavers were rendered destitute. "For
the rich men the clothiers be concluded and agreed among themselves to
hold and pay one price for weaving, which price is too little to sustain
households upon, working night and day, holy-day and work-day, and many
weavers are therefore reduced to the position of servants." The Petition
of Suffolk Clothiers, 1575, says that the custom of their country is "to
carry our wool out ... and put it to sundry spinners who have in their
houses divers and sundry children and servants that do card and spin the
same wool." In the north of England also large clothiers employing many
hands were to be found as early as 1520. The subsequent development of the
industry, Professor Unwin tells us, took place in a very marked degree in
those districts which were exempt from the operation of the statutes
forbidding clothiers to set up outside market-towns. In other parts of the
country the struggle was acute. "The protection of industry from all
competition was the first and last word of the crafts. To employers and
dealers the monopoly of trade chiefly meant their own monopoly of
production and sale, while the wage-earner's predominant anxiety was to
keep surplus labour out of the craft, lest the regular worker might be
deprived of his comfortable certainty of subsistence."

There was, however, a great expansion of trade and industry going on, and
labour was needed. The master who had accumulated a little capital perhaps
moved out to the valleys of Yorkshire or Gloucestershire in search of
water-power for his fulling mills or finer wool for his weavers, or
forsook the manufacturing town for some rural district where labour was
plentiful and he could escape the heavy municipal dues which his business
could ill afford to pay. The ordinances of Worcester, for instance,
contain regulations intended to prevent the masters giving out wool to the
weavers in other parts so long as there were people enough in the city to
do the work, "in the hindering of the poor commonalty of the same."

The struggle between these two forms of industry, the craft carried on in
the towns and the dispersed industry under a more definitely capitalistic
organisation in the country, went on for centuries. From the earliest
years of the reign of Henry VIII. to the accession of Elizabeth, a
constantly increasing amount of legislation was devoted to the protection
of the town manufacture against the competition of the country. This
legislation was interpreted by Froude as a genuine endeavour to protect a
highly skilled, highly organised industry of independent craftsmen against
the evils of capitalism, but the closer researches of Professor Unwin show
that this is idealism; the craftsmen were merely pawns in the hands of
town merchants who dreaded to see some of the trade pass into the hands of
a new class of country capitalists. This is an historical controversy too
difficult to follow closely here; what we have to note is the part played
by women in the change.

We may as well admit that women's work during this industrial transition
appears mostly as part of the problem of cheap unorganised labour. "The
spinners seem never to have had any organisation, and were liable to
oppression by their employers, not only through low wages, but through
payment in kind, and the exaction of arbitrary fines." Irregularity of
employment was another trouble: in the play of _King Henry VIII._ the
clothiers were shown making increased taxation a pretext for dismissing
hands.

  The clothiers all, not able to maintain
  The many to them 'longing, have put off
  The spinsters, carders, fullers, weavers.

To compensate their masters' greed and extortion they had recourse to
petty dishonesties on their own part, and were frequently accused of
keeping back part of the wool given out, or of making up the weight by the
addition of oil or other moisture to the yarn. In 1593 a Bill was
presented to Parliament which imposed penalties on frauds in spinning and
weaving, but also pointed out that the workers were partly driven to fraud
"for lack of sufficient wages and allowance," and proposed to raise the
wages of spinners and weavers by one-third.[6] This Bill (which may be
regarded as a kind of ancestor of Mr. Winston Churchill's Trade Boards
Act, 1909) failed to pass.

In the seventeenth century the rates of spinners' wages appear very low,
even measured by contemporary standards. Mr. Hamilton has reproduced the
wages assessed at Quarter Sessions by the Justices of Exeter in 1654.
Weavers were to have 2-1/2d. a day with food or 8d. without. It is
difficult to guess whether these weavers were supposed to be men or women;
the rates fixed are less than those for husbandry labourers (which were
fixed at 3d. and 10d.), but rather more than those for women haymakers,
which were 2d. and 6d. Spinsters, however, were to have "not above" 6d. a
week with food or 1s. 4d. without. In 1713 at the same place spinsters
were to have not above 1s. a week, or 2s. 6d. if without board, which
again compares very unfavourably with the other rates mentioned. It is
difficult to understand the extreme lowness of these rates of pay to
spinsters, unless on the assumption that they were intended to apply to
servants actually living and working in the clothiers' houses; or that
spinning was supposed not to occupy a woman's whole time, which no doubt
was often the case. But the rates fixed on that assumption should of
course have been piece rates. Altogether Mr. Hamilton's research here
raises more questions than it can settle.

No doubt the Poor Law helped in some degree to depress wages, for another
form taken by this many-sided industry of wool was that of relief work
under the Poor Law. Spinning was the main resource of those whose duty
under the Poor Law was to find work for the unemployed, and in
institutions such as Christ's Hospital, Ipswich, children were set to card
and spin from their earliest years. Such instances might be multiplied
indefinitely. A charitable workhouse in Bishopsgate used to give out wool
and flax every Monday morning to be spun at home to "such poor people as
desire it and are skilful in spinning thereof."[7] Nevertheless we do
occasionally get glimpses of women as an important factor in industry. For
instance, in Edward VI.'s time, there had been an attempt to require
clothiers to be apprenticed. This law was repealed in the first year of
Queen Mary, with the remark that "the perfect and principal ground of
cloth making is the true sorting of wools, and the experience thereof
consisteth only in women, as clothiers' wives and their women servants and
not in apprentices."

A still more remarkable development of female employment, perhaps, was the
beginning of the factory system in the sixteenth century. These were
chiefly in the west of England industry, and in Wiltshire. Leland in his
_Itinerary_ mentions a man called Stumpe who had actually taken possession
of the ancient Abbey of Malmesbury and filled it with looms, employing
many hands. A still more celebrated instance was the factory of John
Winchcomb, a prudent man who married his master's widow and had a fine
business at Newbury, described in a ballad which shows him employing 200
men weaving, each with a boy helper, and 100 women carding wool:

  And in a chamber close beside
  Two hundred maydens did abide
  In petticoats of stammel red
  And milk-white kerchiefs on their head.

    *       *       *       *       *

  These pretty maids did never lin
  But in that place all day did spin.

In 1567 the Weaver's Gild of Bristol prohibited its members from
underselling one another in the prices of their work, and also forbade
them to allow their wives to go for any work to clothiers' houses, which
at least implies that there was some demand for their labour. Now,
although the growth of capital may have seriously affected the position of
the male craftsmen, as Professor Unwin tells us, and reduced them to be
mere wage-earners, it seems not impossible that the economic position of
women may have been improved by the opportunity of work for wages outside
the home. Women had worked for the use and consumption of their own
households, and, as wives of craftsmen, they had worked as helpers with
their husbands. The new organisation of work by a capitalist employer
opened up the possibility to women and girls of earning wages for
themselves. The additional earnings of wife and children even if very
small make a great difference in the comfort of a labourer's family. It is
likely enough, indeed it is evident that their work was often grievously
exploited, and the reduction of the craftsman to the position of a mere
wage-earner may have diminished the spending power of the family. Of all
this we know little or nothing definitely, but it seems probable that the
supersession of handicraft by a quasi-capitalistic form of organisation
affected women less adversely than men. In the eighteenth century, the
palmy days of the domestic system, some women in the industrial centres
were earning what were considered very good wages. Arthur Young says of
the cloth trade round Leeds: "Some women earn by weaving as much as the
men." Of Norwich he says: "The earnings of manufacturers (_i.e._
hand-workers) are various, but in general high," the men on an average
earning 5s. a week, and many women earning as much.[8]

It must be also remembered that each weaver kept several spinners
employed, so that unless his family could supply him, he might easily be
forced to have recourse to the services of women workers outside. Mr.
Townsend Warner quotes an estimate that 25 weavers might require the
services of 250 spinners to keep them fully supplied with yarn.

Mantoux thinks this excessive, though it has to be remembered, as Mr.
Townsend Warner points out, that the spinners usually did not give their
whole time. Again, the description of the organisation of the trade, end
of eighteenth century, quoted by Bonwick, conveys the impression that
women, in some cases at all events, were taking a responsible part.

    I went to York, to buy wool, and at that time it averaged about 1s.
    per pound. I then came home, sorted and combed it myself. After being
    combed, it was oiled and closed, that is, the long end of the wool and
    the short end were put together to form a skein. It took a number of
    skeins to make a top, each top making exactly a pound. Then I took it
    to hand-spinners 20 or 30 miles distant. The mother or head of the
    family plucked the tops into pieces the length of the wool, and gave
    it to the different branches of the family to spin, who could spin
    about 9 or 10 hanks per day; for the spinning I gave one half penny
    per hank, and sometimes 1/2d. for every 24 hanks over.

Another interesting account is given by Bamford:

    Farms were most cultivated for the production of milk, butter and
    cheese.... The farming was mostly of that kind which was soonest and
    most easily performed, and it was done by the husband and other males
    of the family, whilst the wife and daughters and maid servants, if
    there were any of the latter, attended to the churning, cheese-making,
    and household work, and when that was finished, they busied themselves
    in carding, slubbing, and spinning of wool and cotton, as well as
    forming it into warps for the loom. The husband and sons would next,
    at times when farm labour did not call them abroad, size the warp, dry
    it, and beam it in the loom, and either they or the females, whichever
    happened to be least otherwise employed, would weave the warp down. A
    farmer would generally have 3 or 4 looms in his house.

Of course it is not to be inferred that the women thus employed were
always free to control or spend their own earnings; in law they
undoubtedly were not, if married. The domestic system so picturesquely
described by Defoe (in his _Tour_), under which the family worked
together, each, from the oldest to the youngest, doing his or her part, no
doubt often involved a quite patriarchal distribution and control of the
resulting earnings. Still the mention of women as separate and individual
earners that occurs often in eighteenth-century works on the subject must
indicate that they were attaining a greater measure of individual
recognition and self-determination than formerly.[9]

It is interesting also to notice that the cloth industry was sometimes
carried on socially in the eighteenth century. Bradford Dale was covered
with weavers and spinners, and the women and children of Allerton,
Thornton, and other villages in the valley, used to flock on sunny days
with their spinning wheels to some favourite pleasant spot, and work in
company.[10]

_Frame-Work Knitting._--The frame-work knitting trade has many points of
resemblance with the woollen weaving trade. Hand-knitting, we are told by
Felkin, was not introduced till the sixteenth century. It became extremely
popular and was pursued by women in every class of life from the palace to
the cottage. A kind of frame or hand-machine was invented in the
seventeenth century by Lee. It is said that Lee invented this machine in a
spirit of revenge and bitterness against a young lady he had fallen in
love with, who was so intent on her knitting that she could never give him
her attention when he made love to her. From watching her at work he
acquired a mastery of the mesh or stitch, and anger at her being so
engrossed with her employment impelled him to make a machine that would
deprive her of her work.

The frame-work knitters were incorporated under Charles II., and the
company made rather drastic rules, trying to exclude women from
apprenticeship, though they might become members on widowhood, as in so
many of the old guilds. Frame-work knitting also gave employment to women
and children in seaming up the hose. In the eighteenth century the trade
became sweated and underpaid. The hours of work were as much as fifteen a
day. Women, however, were paid at the same rates per piece, and were
subject to the same deductions, and some of them were good hands and could
earn as much as men.

_Silk._--The broad difference between linen and woollen on the one hand,
and silk and cotton on the other, is that the two former, so ancient that
their origins are lost to history, arose as household industries at the
very early stage of civilisation in which the family is self-sufficient,
or nearly so, providing for its own needs and consumption by the work of
its own members; the two latter, on the contrary, appear chiefly as trades
carried on not for use but for payment, and are also sharply
differentiated from the more ancient industries by the fact that the raw
materials--silk and cotton--are not indigenous to these islands, but have
to be imported.

In the manufacture of silk, women early appear as independent producers
and manufacturers, for in the fifteenth century they were sufficiently
organised to be able collectively to petition Parliament for measures to
check the importation of ribbons and wrought silk, and on their behalf was
passed an Act (1455) 33 Hen. VI. c. 5, which states that "it is shewed ...
by the grievous complaint of the silk women and spinners of the mystery
and occupation of silk-working, within the city of London, how that divers
Lombards and other strangers, imagining to destroy the said mystery and
all such virtuous occupations of women in the said realm, to enrich
themselves and to increase them and such occupations in other strange
lands, have brought and daily go about to bring into the said realm such
silk so made, wrought, twined, ribbands and chains falsely and deceitfully
wrought, all manner girdels and other things concerning the said mystery
and occupation, in no manner wise bringing any good silk unwrought, as
they were wont to bring heretofore, to the final destruction of the said
mysteries and occupations, unless it be the more hastily remedied by the
King's Majesty." The importation of silk, ribbons, etc., was forthwith
prohibited, and we find similar prohibitions in 3 Edw. IV. c. 3 and c. 4,
22 Edw. IV. c. 3, 1 Rich. III. c. 10, and 1 Hen. VII. c. 9. Henry VII.
dealt with several silk women for ribands, fringes, and so forth, as
recorded in his accounts. A statute of Charles II. 14 Ch. II. c. 15 says
many women in London were employed in working silk.

The manufacture of silk was introduced into Derbyshire at the beginning of
the eighteenth century. John Lombe's silk mill was the first textile mill
at work in that county. A rather considerable manufacture of piece silks
and silk ribbons and braid grew up in Derby and Glossop, a large
proportion of women and girls being employed. The numbers of operatives in
this industry increased up to the census of 1851 and 1861, when about 6000
operatives were employed, after which it began to go down, reaching the
low figure of 662 in the county in 1901; in 1911, 442.

In Macclesfield silk-throwing mills were erected in 1756, the manufacture
of silk goods and mohair buttons having been already carried on for
centuries. The silk throwsters of Macclesfield for many years worked for
Spitalfields and supplied them with thrown silk through the London
manufacturers. In 1776, it is recorded, the wages paid to the millmen and
stewards were 7s. a week, the women doublers 3s. 6d., children 6d. to 1s.
The manufacture of broad silk was established at Macclesfield in 1790. We
know by inference that many women must have been employed, but information
is unfortunately scanty in regard to the social conditions of this trade,
so specially adapted to industrial women. It is evident, however, that
women kept their place in it, for the apprenticeship rules laid before the
Committee on Ribbon Weavers in 1818 expressly included women, both as
apprentices and journeywomen.

The inherent delicacy of many of the processes, and the fact that silk as
a luxury trade is especially susceptible to changes of fashion, have
retarded the use of machinery and preserved the finer fabrics as an
artistic handicraft. But this, in itself a development to be welcomed,
must also indicate that capital and labour can be more advantageously
employed in the industries that have evolved more fully on modern lines,
for the silk trade is undoubtedly declining in England.

_Other Industries._--If information respecting the traditional employments
of women in the linen and woollen trades is sparse and unsatisfactory,
much more is it difficult to trace out their conditions in other
industries of a less "womanly" character. Yet even in such callings it is
sufficiently evident that women were employed. Traill's _Social England_
tells us of women making ropes as early as the thirteenth century. Women
are known to have worked in the Derbyshire lead mines, _temp._ Edward II.
They washed and cleaned the ore at 1d. a day, and were assisted by four
girls at 3/4d. a day, men being employed at the same time at 1-1/2d. a
day. Mr. Lapsley, in his account of a fifteenth-century ironworks, records
that two women, wives of the smith and foreman respectively, performed
miscellaneous tasks, from breaking up the iron-stone to blowing the
bellows. In 1652 a Parliamentary commission found that many of the surface
workers employed in dressing the ore (_i.e._ freeing it from the earth and
spar with which it was mixed) were women and children. An _Account of
Mines_, dated 1707, tells us that vast numbers of poor people at that time
were employed in "working of mines, the very women and children employed
therein, as well as the men, especially in the mines of lead." Women
worked in coal-mining at Winterton, "for lack of men," in 1581, and with
children were employed in the "great coal-works and workhouses" started by
Sir Humphrey Mackworth at Neath. They evidently worked underground, as
several deaths of women in mine explosions are recorded. In 1770 Arthur
Young found women working in lead mines and earning as much as 1s. a day,
a man earning 1s. 3d.

In Birmingham trades, especially the making of buttons and other small
articles, women were employed as far back as we can find any records. At
Burslem, Young found women working in the potteries, earning 5s. to 8s. a
week. Near Bristol he found women and girls employed in a copper works for
melting copper ore, and making the metal into pins, pans, etc. At
Gloucester he found great numbers of women working in the pin manufacture.
In the Sheffield plated ware trade he found girls working, but does not
mention women. Of the Sheffield trades generally he says that women and
girls earn very good wages, "much more than by spinning wool in any part
of the kingdom."

It is unfortunate that we have, so far, very little information in regard
to women's work in non-textile trades previous to the industrial
revolution. It is tolerably safe to infer that the above scattered hints
indicate a state of things neither new nor exceptional. There can be
little doubt that women constantly worked in these trades, either
assisting the head of the family, or as a wage-worker for an outside
employer. But we know so little that we cannot attempt to enlarge on the
subject.



CHAPTER II.

WOMEN AND THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.

  He! an die Arbeit!
  Alle von hinnen!
  Hurtig hinab!
  Aus den neuen Schachten
  schafft mir das Gold!
  Euch grüsst die Geissel,
  grabt ihr nicht rasch!
  Das keiner mir müssig
  bürge mir Mime,
  sonst birgt er sich schwer
  meines Armes Schwunge:

    *       *       *

  Zögert ihr noch?
  Zaudert wohl gar?
  Zittre und zage,
  gezähmtes Heer!
              WAGNER, _Das Rheingold_.


The cotton trade is the industry most conspicuously identified with the
series of complex changes that we call the Industrial Revolution. Its
history before that period is comparatively unimportant; we have therefore
left it over from the previous chapter to the present.

Cottons are mentioned as a Manchester trade in the sixteenth century, but
it seems probable that these were really a coarse kind of woollen stuff,
and not cotton at all. Cotton wool had, it is true, been imported from the
East for some time, but was used only for candle wicks and such small
articles, not for cloth. In the Poor Law of Elizabeth, cotton is not
included among the articles that might be provided by overseers to "set
the poor on work." The first authoritative mention of the cotton
manufacture of Manchester occurs in Lewis Roberts' _Treasure of Traffike_.
It appears from this tract, which was published in 1641, that the Levant
Company used to bring cotton wool to London, which was afterwards taken to
Manchester and worked up into "fustians, vermilions, dimities, and other
such stuffs." The manufacture had therefore become an established fact by
the middle of the seventeenth century, but its growth was not rapid for
some time. Owing to the rudeness of the spinning implements used fine yarn
could not be spun and fine goods could not be woven. In the second quarter
of the eighteenth century, however, Manchester and the cotton manufacture
began to increase very markedly in size and activity, and the resulting
demand for yarn served to stimulate the invention of machinery. "The
weaver was continually pressing upon the spinner. The processes of
spinning and weaving were generally performed in the same cottage, but the
weaver's own family could not supply him with a sufficient quantity of
weft, and he had with much pains to collect it from neighbouring
spinsters. Thus his time was wasted, and he was often subjected to high
demands for an article on which, as the demand exceeded the supply, the
spinner could put her own price." Guest says it was no uncommon thing for
a weaver to walk three or four miles in a morning, and call on five or six
spinners, before he could collect weft to serve him for the remainder of
the day, and when he wished to weave a piece in a shorter time than usual,
a new ribbon or a gown was necessary to quicken the exertions of the
spinner. The difficulty was intensified in 1738 by Kay's invention of the
fly-shuttle, which enabled the weaver to do twice as much work with a
given effort, and consequently of course to use up yarn in a similar
proportion. John Hargreaves, a Blackburn weaver, contrived a spinning
machine which multiplied eightfold the productive power of one spinner,
and was, moreover, simple enough to be worked by a child. Subsequent
developments and improvements were effected by Paul Wyatt and Arkwright,
and the latter being a good business man, unlike some other inventors,
made money out of his ideas.

The changes effected in rural social life by the industrial revolution are
excellently described by W. Radcliffe. In the year 1770, when Radcliffe
was a boy nine or ten years old, his native township of Mellor, in
Derbyshire, only fourteen miles from Manchester, was occupied by between
fifty and sixty farmers; rents did not usually exceed 10s. per statute
acre, and of these fifty or sixty farmers, there were only six or seven
who paid their rents directly from the produce of their land; all the rest
made it partly in some branch of trade, such as spinning and weaving
woollen, linen, or cotton. The cottagers were employed entirely in this
manner, except at harvest time. The father would earn 8s. to 10s. 6d. at
his loom, and his sons perhaps 6s. or 8s. each per week; but the "great
sheet-anchor of all cottages and small farms," according to Radcliffe, was
the profit on labour at the handwheel. It took six to eight hands to
prepare and spin yarn sufficient to keep one weaver occupied, and a
demand was thus created for the labour of every person, from young
children to the aged, supposing they could see and move their hands. The
better class of cottagers and even small farmers also used spinning to
make up their rents and help support their families respectably.

From the year 1770 to 1788 a complete change was effected in the textile
trade, cotton being largely used in substitution for wool and linen. The
hand-wheels were mostly thrown into lumber-rooms, and the yarn was all
spun on common jennies. In weaving no great change took place in these
eighteen years, save the increasing use of the fly-shuttle and the change
from woollen and linen to cotton. But the mule twist was introduced about
1788, and the enormous variety of new yarns now in vogue, for the
production of every kind of clothing--from the finest book-muslin or lace
to the heaviest fustian--added to the demand for weaving, and put all
hands in request. The old loom shops being insufficient, every
lumber-room, even old barns, cart-houses, and out-buildings of every
description were repaired, windows having been broken through the old
blank walls, and all were fitted up for weaving. New weavers' cottages
with loom-shops also rose up in every direction, and were immediately
occupied. It is said that families at this period used to bring home 40s.,
60s., 80s., 100s., or even 120s. a week. The operative weavers were in a
condition of prosperity never before experienced by them. Every man had a
watch in his pocket, women could dress as they pleased, and as Radcliffe
records, "the church was crowded to excess every Sunday." Handsome
furniture, china, and plated ware, were acquired by these well-to-do
families, and many had a cow and a meadow.

This prosperity was, however, ephemeral in duration. With the increased
complexity and elaboration of machinery, a change came. The profitableness
of the trade brought in larger capital, and led to the erection of mills,
with water power as the motive force. In such buildings as these machinery
could be set up, and labour could be drilled, organised and subdivided, so
as to produce a far greater return on the invested capital than in the
weavers' shops. These mills were built in places at some distance from
towns, and often in valleys and glens for the sake of water-power; they
were, however, kept as near towns as possible for the sake of markets and
means of transport. The first mills were exclusively devoted to carding
and spinning. The gradual increase of this system soon influenced the
prosperity of the domestic manufacturer--his profits quickly fell, workmen
being readily found to superintend the mill labour at a rate of wages,
high, it is true, but yet comparatively much lower than the recently
inflated value of home labour. The introduction of steam-power
considerably hastened the evolution of the factory industry.

The power-loom was invented, or rather its invention was initiated, or
suggested, not by a manufacturer, or even by any one conversant with
textile work, but by a Kentish clergyman, named Cartwright. He heard of
Arkwright's spinning machinery in 1784 from some Manchester men whom he
met, apparently quite by chance, at Matlock. One of these remarked that
the machines which had just been perfected would produce so much cotton
that no hands could ever be found to weave it. Cartwright replied that in
that case Arkwright must invent a weaving mill. The Manchester men all
declared this to be impossible, and gave Cartwright all sorts of technical
reasons for their belief. He, however, went home and rapidly thought out a
rude contrivance which he employed a carpenter and smith to make under his
orders, got a weaver to put in a warp, and found that the thing worked,
though in a rough and unwieldy manner. Unfortunately, like so many
inventors, he had little or no business ability. His first factory was a
failure. He made a second attempt, in 1791, and erected considerable
buildings. By this time the weavers were already up in arms. Cartwright
received threatening letters, and the factory was burnt. Nevertheless, the
change was progressing, and where one failed, others were destined to
succeed. Several weaving factories were started in Scotland, at the end of
the century, and in 1803 Horrocks put up some iron automatic looms at
Stockport, which were soon copied in other towns of Lancashire. The
power-loom, however, was still imperfect in detail, and did not come into
general use until about 1833. The downfall of prices in weaving, which for
the workers concerned was as tragic as it was astonishing, can be seen in
a table in "Social and Economic History," _Victoria County History,
Lancashire_, vol. ii. p. 327. Miss Alice Law gives the prices for the
whole series of years 1814-1833; as the work is fairly accessible I
reproduce only samples, which show the trend sufficiently well.

PRICES FOR WEAVING ONE PIECE OF SECOND OR THIRD 74 CALICO.

  +------------------------------------------------------------------+
  |                          |  1814.  |  1820.  |  1821.  |  1833.  |
  |--------------------------|---------|---------|---------|---------|
  |                          |_s._ _d._|_s._ _d._|_s._ _d._|_s._ _d._|
  |Average price per piece.  |  6    6 |  2   11 |  3    2 |  1    4 |
  |Average weekly sum a      |         |         |         |         |
  |  good weaver could earn  | 26    0 | 11    8 | 12    7 |  5    4 |
  |Sum a family of 6, 3 being|         |         |         |         |
  |  weavers, could earn.    | 52    0 | 23    4 | 28 3-3/4| 12    0 |
  |Indispensable weekly      |         |         |         |         |
  |  expenses for repair of  |         |         |         |         |
  |  looms, fuel, light.     |  5    3 |  5    3 |  5    3 |  4    3 |
  |Sum remaining to six      |         |         |         |         |
  |  persons for food and    |         |         |         |         |
  |  clothing per week.      | 46    9 | 18    1 | 23 0-3/4|  7    9 |
  +------------------------------------------------------------------+

Subjected to the competition of power-looms, the hand-weavers were
compelled either to desert their employment and seek factory work, as in
fact the younger, more capable and energetic of them actually did, or to
reduce their rates of pay, which in time reached the point of starvation.

It is extremely difficult to find much definite information as to the
condition of industrial women in this period. The technical changes,
commercial and political controversies, the startling growth of wealth,
and the conflicts of labour and capital that made up the more striking and
dramatic side of the industrial revolution have naturally impressed the
imagination of historians. Little attention has been given to the state of
women at this time. It is by inference from known facts rather than by
actual documentary evidence that we can arrive at an estimate of the
effects on women of these extraordinary changes. A certain proportion of
women, no doubt a very small one, must certainly have arrived at wealth
and prosperity through the rapid accession of fortune achieved by some of
the weavers and yeomen farmers, who became employers on a large scale.
This is scarcely the place to treat of this subject, though it is by no
means destitute of interest.[11] There were, further, women who distinctly
benefited by the improved wages of men in certain industries, when the
spending power of the family was increased by the new methods. This was
the case temporarily in the weaving trade during the period of expansion
through cheaper yarn noted above; Dr. Cunningham says that "the improved
rates for weaving rendered the women and children independent, and
unwilling to 'rival a wooden jenny.'"[12] Baines also tells us at a later
date, that where a spinner is assisted by his own children in the mill,
"his income is so large that he can live more generously, clothe himself
and his family better than many of the lower class of tradesmen, and
though improvidence and misconduct too often ruin the happiness of these
families, yet there are thousands of spinners in the cotton districts who
eat meat every day, wear broad cloth on the Sunday, dress their wives and
children well, furnish their houses with mahogany and carpets, subscribe
to publications, and pass through life with much of humble
respectability."[13]

The effects of the industrial revolution on women other than the two
classes just indicated are more complicated. In the first place, the rural
labouring class suffered considerably from the loss of by-industries,
which in some districts had been a great help in eking out the wages of
the head of the family.

_Decay of Hand-Spinning._--In regard to this subject the facts are fairly
well known. Towards the end of the eighteenth century spinning ceased to
be remunerative, even as a by-industry. As the work became more
specialised, as the machines came more and more into use, it became more
and more difficult for a mere home industry to compete with work done
under capitalistic conditions. Numbers of families, previously
independent, became unable to support themselves without help from the
rates. Sir Frederick Eden gives some concrete cases. At Halifax he notes
that "many poor women who earned a bare subsistence by spinning, are now
in a very wretched condition." He ascribes this to the influence of the
war in reducing the price of weaving and spinning, but no doubt the
competition of the machine industry was already an important factor. At
Leeds, where the new methods had been largely introduced, the workers were
better off. In another place he gives some instances of workers at Kendal
where the earnings of a whole family, the father weaving and the wife and
elder children weaving, spinning, or knitting, were insufficient to
maintain them without the aid of the Poor Law. In an article in the
_Gentleman's Magazine_ (May 1834, p. 531), the writer remarks, as if
noticing a new phenomenon, that the families of labourers are now
dependent on the men's labours or nearly so; and adds rather brutally
"they [the families] hang as a dead weight upon the rates for want of
employment."

The loss of these by-industries as a supplementary source of income was no
doubt one of several causes that impelled the drift of labour from the
country to the town. It is also worth noting that the women lost, not only
their earnings, but something in variety of work and in manual training.

_The Hand-Loom Weaver's Wife._--More miserable still was the fate of those
hand-weavers who found the piece-rates of their work constantly sagging
downwards, and were unable or unwilling to find another trade. It appears
that there was a kind of reciprocal movement going on between the spinners
and weavers during the transition, which is of interest as illustrating
the kind of skill and intelligence that was required. The weavers, who had
been enjoying a period of such unusual prosperity and might be expected
therefore to have more knowledge of the progress of trade and to be
possessed at least of some small capital, not infrequently abandoned the
loom, purchased machinery for spinning, and gradually rose more and more
into the position of an employer or trader rather than a mere craftsman.

On the other hand, the spinner of the poorer sort, being unable to keep
pace with the growing expense of the improved and ever more elaborate
machinery, not infrequently threw aside the wheel and took to weaving, as
the easier solution of the immediate problem of subsistence for a
hand-worker who had neither capital nor business ability to enable him to
succeed in the new conditions of the struggle. Thus the ranks of the
hand-weavers tended to be swollen by the failures of other industries and
depleted of the most capable men, and as Mantoux notes, "the fall in
weavers' wages actually preceded the introduction of machinery for
weaving."

From 1793 the reduction of weavers' rates was constant. The weaving of a
piece of velvet, paid at £4 in 1792, brought the worker only £2 : 15s. in
1794, £2 in 1796, £1 : 16s. in 1800. At the same time the quantity in a
piece was increased. This violent depreciation of hand-work was caused at
first by surplus labour, and was subsequently aggravated by machinism. The
workers who were most capable cast in their lot with the new system and
the new methods. But the misery of the slower, older, less energetic
worker was terrible.

In the Coventry ribbon trade wages were lowered by the employment of young
people as half-pay apprentices, who were taken on for two, three or five
years, and bound by an unstamped indenture or agreement. These were
principally girls; the boys, for the sake of the elective franchise, were
generally bound for seven years. It was stated before Peel's Committee in
1816, by the Town Clerk of Coventry (p. 4), that in 1812, the demand for
labour being very great, numbers of girls had been induced to leave their
situations, for the sake of the higher wages in the ribbon trade. The boom
collapsed, and many of them came upon the poor rates, or, as it was
alleged, on the streets. Weavers' earnings were reduced by one half.
Another witness, a master manufacturer, saw in the system a transition to
the factory system, and prophesied that if the half-pay apprentice system
were not done away with, it would "cut up the trade wholly, so that there
will be no such thing as a journeyman weaver to be found.... We shall all
build large manufactories to contain from fifty to a hundred looms or
upwards, and we must all have these half-pay apprentices, and the
journeymen will all be reduced, and they must come to us and work for so
much a week or go to the parish."

The effects of industrial change are felt by women directly as members of
the family; the impoverishment of the male wage-earner whose occupation is
taken away by technical developments means the anguished struggle of the
wife and mother to keep her children from starving. The wife could often
earn nearly as much as her husband, and the intensest dislike to the
factory could not stand against those hard economic facts. The Select
Committee on Handloom Weavers, 1834, took evidence from disconsolate
broken-hearted men, who showed that their earnings were utterly inadequate
for family subsistence and must needs be supplemented by the wives working
in factories. One poor Irishman said that he and his little daughter of
nine between them minded the baby of fifteen months. Another weaver, a man
of his acquaintance, must have starved if he had not had a wife to go out
to work for him. The bitterness of the position was accentuated by the
fact that the weaver's traditions and associations were bound up with the
domestic system, and in no class probably was factory work for women more
unwelcome.

The change was resented as a break-up of family life. Hargreaves' spinning
jenny, Cartwright's combing machine, Jacquard's loom, to mention no
others, were at different times destroyed by an angry mob. With desperate
energy the unions long opposed the introduction of women workers. What
drove the men to these hopeless struggles was the lowering of wages that
they discerned to be the probable, nay, certain result of both changes.
The tragedy of the man who loses his work, or finds its value suddenly
shrunken by no fault of his own, is as poignant as any in history. It
means not only his own loss and suffering, but the degradation of his
standard of life and the break-up of his home. It is not simply man
against woman, but man _plus_ the wife and children he loves against the
outside irresponsible woman (as he conceives her) whose interests are
nothing to him.

_The Factory._--The great inventions were not, as we so often are apt to
imagine them, the effort of a single brain, of "a great man" in the
Carlylean sense. Mechanical progress, in its early stages at all events,
is often the result of the intelligence of innumerable workers, brought to
bear on all kinds of practical difficulties, and mechanical problems. Thus
one of the many attempts at a spinning machine was set up in a warehouse
in Birmingham in 1741; the machine was set in motion by two asses walking
round an axis, and ten or a dozen girls were employed in superintending
and assisting the operation! This highly picturesque arrangement proved
unworkable and was given up as a failure. Again, at a later date, the
first spinning machines that came into general use by the country people
of Lancashire were small affairs, and the awkward position required to
work them was, as Aikin tells us, "discouraging to grown-up people, who
saw with surprise children from nine to twelve years of age manage them
with dexterity." In these cases and others like them, we still call the
work spinning, because the result is the same as from hand-spinning, viz.
yarn; but in reality the process is new, the work is a rearrangement of
human activity, rather than a transfer.

We may very well admit, in the light of present day knowledge, that the
transfer of the occupation from the home to the outside factory or
workshop was by no means an unqualified loss, was indeed a social advance.
The discomfort of using a small and restricted home as a work place, the
litter and confusion that are almost inevitable, not to mention the
depression of being always in the midst of one's working environment, are
such as can hardly be realised by those who have not given attention to
industrial matters. But this was not the aspect that the poor weavers
themselves could see, or could possibly be expected to see. The break-up
of the customary home life endeared to them by long habit and association
was only a less misfortune than their increasing destitution. The family
ceased to be an industrial unit. The factory demanded "hands." The
machines caused a complete shifting of processes of work, a shifting
which, I need hardly say, is going on even up to the present time. Much
work that had previously been regarded as skilled and difficult, demanding
technical training and apprenticeship, became light and easy, within the
powers of a child, a young girl, or a woman. On the other hand, work that
had been done in every cottage, now was handed over to a skilled male
operative, working with all the help capital and elaborate machinery could
give him.

The effects of the factory system were the subject of much keen and even
violent controversy during the first half of the nineteenth century.
During the first two or three decades child-labour was the most prominent
question; women's labour appears to have been very much taken for granted
(Robert Owen, for instance, says little about it) and it became a subject
of controversy only about the time of the passing of the first effective
Factory Act, in 1833. Baines, Ure, and the elder Cooke Taylor, may be
mentioned among those who took an extremely optimistic view of factory
industry and devoted much energy and ingenuity to proving it to be
innocuous, or even beneficial to health, and on the other hand were P.
Gaskell, John Fielden, Philip Grant, and others, who violently attacked
it. Even in modern times Schultze-Gävernitz and Allen Clarke have
presented us with carefully considered views almost equally divergent. The
modern reader, who tries to reconcile opinions so extraordinarily
antagonistic may well feel bewildered and despair of arriving at any
coherent statement. How are we to account for the fact, for instance, that
the development of the factory, with its female labour and machinery, was
viewed with the utmost hostility by the workers, and yet on the other hand
that the rural labourers streamed into the towns to apply for work in
factories, and could seldom or never be induced to go back again? How are
we to account for the extraordinarily different views of men of the same
period, intelligent, kind-hearted, and with fair opportunities of judging
the facts of social life? I am far from expecting to solve these questions
entirely, but a few considerations may be helpful. In the first place we
have to remember that the change brought about by the great industry and
the factory system was so far-reaching and so complex that it was
impossible for any one human brain at once to grasp the whole. Thus it
happened that one set of facts would appeal strongly to one observer, and
another set, equally strongly, to another observer. Each would overlook
what to the other was of the greatest importance. Political sentiment also
counted for a good deal, the landed interest (mostly Tories) being
extremely keen-sighted to any wrongdoing of the manufacturers and their
friends (mostly Liberal), while these last were not slow to reciprocate
with equally faithful criticism. By taking the optimists alone, or the
reformers alone, we get a consistent but inadequate view of industrial
conditions. By combining them we arrive at a contradictory, unsatisfactory
picture, which may, however, be somewhat nearer the truth than either can
give us alone.

It is also necessary to bear in mind the unspoken assumptions, the
background, so to speak, existing in any writer's brain. It would make a
great difference in a man's view of social conditions in 1825, say, if he
was mentally contrasting them with the terrible scarcity and poverty that
prevailed at the turn of the century, or if his recollections were mainly
occupied with that bright period of prosperity enjoyed by the weavers some
years earlier, a prosperity brief indeed, but lasting long enough to make
a profound impression on the minds of those who shared in or witnessed it.

Another consideration which is of use in clearing up the chaos of
historical evidence on these questions, is the immense variety in
conditions from one factory to another. This is the case even at the
present day, when the Factory Act requires a certain minimum of decency
and comfort. The factory inspectors record the extraordinary difference
still existing in these respects, and, as a personal experience, the
present writer well remembers the extreme contrast between two match
factories visited some years ago at a very short interval; the one
crowded, gloomy, with weary, exhausted, slatternly-looking girls doing
perilous work in a foul atmosphere; the other with ample space, light, and
ventilation, the workers cleanly dressed, and supplied with the best
appliances known to make the work safe and harmless. Such an experience is
some guide in helping the modern student to comprehend more or less why
Fielden wrote of _The Curse of the Factory System_, while Ure could
maintain: "The fine spinning mills at Manchester ... in the beauty,
delicacy and ingenuity of the machines have no parallel among the works of
man nor _in the orderly arrangement_, and the value of the products."

There is no doubt that the early factories were often run by men who,
whatever their energy, thrift, and ability for business, did not mostly
possess the qualities necessary to a man who is to have the control,
during at least half the week, of a crowd of workers, many of them women
and children. Men like Owen and Arkwright were working out a technique and
a tradition, not only for the mechanical side, but for the human side of
this new business of employment on a large scale. But not all employers
were Owens or even Arkwrights. P. Gaskell writes: "Many of the first
successful manufacturers were men who had their origin in the rank of mere
operatives, or who had sprung from the extinct class of yeomen.... The
celerity with which some of these individuals accumulated wealth in the
early times of steam spinning and weaving, is proof that they were men of
quick views, great energy of character, and possessing no small share of
sagacity ... but they were men of very limited general information--men
who saw and knew little of anything beyond the demand for their twist or
cloth, and the speediest and best modes for their production. They were,
however, from their acquired station, men who exercised very considerable
influence upon the hordes of workmen who became dependent upon them."

Here Gaskell has brought out a point which is singularly ignored by the
writers of what may be called the optimistic school. We may fully agree
with these last in their contention that the working class benefited by
the increased production, higher wages, and cheapened goods secured by the
factory system, or "great industry," as it is called. But they overlook
the point of the immense power that system put into the hands of
individual masters, over the lives, and moral and physical health of
workers. For the whole day long, and sometimes for the night also, the
operative was in the factory; the temperature of the air he breathed, the
hours he worked, the sanitary and other conditions of his work were
settled by those in control of the works, who were not responsible in any
way to any external supervising authority for the conditions of
employment, save to the very limited extent required by the early Factory
Acts, which were ineffectively administered. In a curious passage the
elder Cooke Taylor, who was in many ways a most careful and intelligent
observer, shows how completely he fails to grasp the position:

    A factory is an establishment where several workmen are collected
    together for the purpose of obtaining greater and cheaper conveniences
    for labour than they could procure individually at their homes; for
    producing results by their combined efforts, which they could not
    accomplish separately.... The principle of a factory is that each
    labourer, working separately, is controlled by some associating
    principle, which directs his producing powers to effecting a common
    result, which it is the object of all collectively to attain.
    Factories are therefore a result of the universal tendency to
    association which is inherent in our nature, and by the development of
    which every advance in human improvement and human happiness has been
    gained.

Every sentence here is true; but the combined effect is not true. Taylor
ingenuously omits one important fact. The "associating principle" is the
employer working for his own hand, and the "common result" is that
employer's profit. Marx saw that the subordination of the workman to the
uniform motion of machines, and the bringing together of individuals of
both sexes and all ages gave rise to a system of elaborate discipline,
dividing the workers into operatives and overlookers, into "private
soldiers and sergeants of an industrial army." But it is not necessary to
call in the rather suspect authority of Marx. Richards, the Factory
Inspector, who by no means took a sentimental view of mill work, had
written quite candidly:

    A steam engine in the hands of an interested or avaricious master is a
    relentless power, to which old and young are equally bound to submit.
    Their position in these mills is that of thraldom; fourteen, fifteen,
    or sixteen hours per day, is exhausting to the strength of all, yet
    none dare quit the occupation, from the dread of losing work
    altogether. Industry is thus in bonds; unprotected children are
    equally bound to the same drudgery.[14]

This cast-iron regularity of the factory system was felt as a terrible
hardship, especially in the case of women, and often amounted to actual
slavery.

Wholesale accusations were brought against the factory system as being in
itself immoral and a cause of depravity. Southey said of the factory
children, that:

    The moral atmosphere wherein they live and move and have their being
    is as noxious to the soul, as the foul and tainted air which they
    inhale is to their bodily constitution.... What shall we say then of a
    system which ... debases all who are engaged in it?... It is a wen, a
    fungous excrescence from the body politic.

Here we may as well admit that the agitators, though possibly right in
their facts, did not represent them in a true perspective. Perhaps the
worst feature of working-class life at this time was the scandalous state
of housing. The manufacturing towns had grown up rapidly to meet a sudden
demand. The progress of enclosing, the decay of home industry, and the
call of capital for labour in towns had caused a considerable displacement
of population. The immigrants had to find house-room in the outskirts of
what had but lately been mere villages. Sanitary science was backward, and
municipal government was decadent and could not cope with the rush to the
towns. The immigrant population and the existing social conditions were of
a type favourable to a rapid increase in numbers, economic independence at
an early age not unnaturally tending towards unduly early marriage and
irresponsibility of character. Dr. Aikin writes:

    As Manchester may bear comparison with the metropolis itself in the
    rapidity with which whole new streets have been raised, and in its
    extension on every side toward the surrounding country; so it
    unfortunately vies with, or exceeds the metropolis, in the closeness
    with which the poor are crowded in offensive, dark, damp, and
    incommodious habitations, a too fertile source of disease.[15]

There is abundant evidence of equally bad conditions in other towns. Such
circumstances are inevitably demoralising, and they served to give the
impression that the factory population, as such, was extraordinarily wild
and wicked. But these particular evils were not specially due to the
factory system. In the matter of sanitation and housing there can be
little doubt that the rural population was no better, perhaps even worse
cared-for than the urban or industrial, the main difference of course
being that neglect of cleanliness and elementary methods of sewage
disposal are less immediate and disastrous evils among a sparse and
scattered population than they are in towns.

Much has been written and spoken about the evils of factory life in
withdrawing the mother from the home, and causing neglect of children and
infants. Yet even this, an evil which no one would desire to minimise, is
not peculiar to factory towns. A report on the state of the Agricultural
Population says that:

    Even when they have been taught to read and write, the women of the
    agricultural labouring class (viz. in Wilts, Devon, and Dorset), are
    in a state of ignorance affecting the daily welfare and comfort of
    their families. Ignorance of the commonest things, needlework,
    cooking, and other matters of domestic economy, is described as
    universally prevalent.... A girl brought up in a cottage until she
    marries is generally ignorant of nearly everything she ought to be
    acquainted with for the comfortable and economic management of a
    cottage ... a young woman goes into the fields to labour, with which
    ends all chance of improving her position; she marries and brings up
    her daughters in the same ignorance, and their lives are a repetition
    of her own.

Material progress had completely outdistanced the social side of
civilisation. It was easy to see that old-fashioned restrictions on
commerce needed to be swept away, as a trammel and a hindrance; but where
was the constructive effort and initiative to shape the new fabric of
society that should supply the people's needs?

    It was the misfortune of the factory system that it took its sudden
    start at a moment when the entire energies of the British legislature
    were preoccupied with the emergencies of the French Revolution.... The
    foundations on which it reposes were laid in obscurity and its early
    combinations developed without attracting the notice of statesmen or
    philosophers.... There thus crept into unnoticed existence a closely
    condensed population, under modifying influences the least understood,
    for whose education, religious wants, legislative and municipal
    protection, no care was taken and for whose physical necessities the
    more forethought was requisite, from the very rapidity with which men
    were attracted to these new centres. To such causes may be referred
    the incivilisation and immorality of the overcrowded manufacturing
    towns.[16]

It is curious to compare the criminal neglect here indicated with the
self-complacency of the governing classes of this country, and the immense
claims for admiration and respect often put forth on account of their
control of home and local administration. In this tremendous crisis in the
social life of the country, the complex changes of the industrial
revolution, the classes in power sat by, apathetic and uninterested,
taking little or no pains to cope with the problem, or interfered merely
with harsh or even cruel repression of the workers' efforts to combine for
self-defence. Although Dr. Percival and Dr. Ferrier had drawn attention to
the disease and unhealthy conditions existing in factories as far back as
1784 and 1796, it was not until 1833 that a Factory Act was passed
containing any administrative provisions that could be deemed effective.
Public health measures came later still. Much as the industrial employers
were abused by the landowners, it is a fact that reforms and ameliorative
projects were started originally by the former. Sir Robert Peel, who owned
cotton factories, was the pioneer of factory legislation, and Robert Owen
gave the impetus to industrial reform by the humanity and ability that
characterised his management of his own mill, and the generosity of his
treatment of his own employees.

_The Woman Wage-Earner._--The initiation of the factory system undoubtedly
fixed and defined the position of the woman wage-earner. For good or for
evil, the factory system transformed the nature of much industrial work,
rendering it indefinitely heterogeneous, and incidentally opening up new
channels for the employment, first, unfortunately, of children, afterwards
of women.

In the case of spinning, the division of work between men and women was
attended with considerable complications, and it appears that the masters
confidently expected to employ women in greater proportions than was
actually feasible. A comparison of the evidence by masters and men
respectively given before the Select Committee on Artizans and Machinery
throws some interesting sidelights on the question, though it does not
make it absolutely clear. Dunlop, a Glasgow master, had frequent disputes
with the "combination" as the union was then called. He built a new mill
with machinery which he hoped would make it unnecessary to employ men at
all. In a few years he was, however, again employing men as before, and
his account of the matter was that this change of front was due to the
violence of the men's unions. Two of the operative leaders, however, came
up at a later stage to protest against Dunlop's version. They showed that
the persistent violence attributed to the men really narrowed down to a
single case of assault some years before, when there was not sufficient
evidence to commit the men accused. They denied the alleged opposition to
women's employment and declared that there was absolutely no connexion
between the outrage complained of and the substitution of men for women,
which had in fact been effected by Dunlop's sons during his absence in
America, and was due to the fact that the women could not do as much or as
good work on the spinning machines as men could. Dunlop also had given an
exaggerated account of the wages paid, making no allowance for stoppage
and breakdown of machinery, which were frequent.

A few years later we find some interesting evidence as to the efforts of
further developments in spinning machinery. A Mr. Graham told the Select
Committee on Manufactures and Commerce that he was introducing self-acting
mules, and did not yet know whether women could be adapted to their use,
but hoped to get rid of "all the spinners who are making exorbitant
wages," and employ piecers only, giving one of the piecers a small
increase in wages. He was also employing a number of women upon a
different description of wheels, and others in throstle spinning.
According to him the women got about 18s. a week, a statement which it
would probably be wise to discount. Being asked whether the self-acting
mules or the spinning by women would be cheapest, he replied that it was
hoped the spinning by self-acting mules would be cheapest, as even the
women were combining and giving trouble. In 1838, Doherty, a labour man,
showed that although women were allowed to spin in Manchester, "whole
mills of them," the number was being reduced, the physical strength of
women being insufficient to work the larger wheels which had come into
use. It is useful to obtain some idea of the views of the employing class
at a time of such complex changes, and it seems evident that some at least
were almost taken off their feet by the exciting prospects opening out to
them, and hoped to dispense very largely with skilled male labour, or even
with adult labour altogether.

At the present time though there have been great developments in
machinery, spinning is the one large department of the cotton industry in
which men still exceed women in numbers. The employment of women in
ring-spinning is increasing, but there are special counts which can only
be done on the mule, which is beyond the woman's strength and skill.
Between 1901 and 1911 male cotton-spinners increased in numbers 31 per
cent, female 60 per cent. The totals were in 1911 respectively 84,000 and
55,000.

The introduction of the power-loom was a very important event in the
history of women's employment. Even in 1840 a woman working a power-loom
could do "twice as much" as a man with a hand-loom, and the assistant
commissioner who made this observation added the prophecy that in another
generation women only would be employed, save a few men for the necessary
superintendence and care of the machinery. "There will be no weavers as a
class; the work will be done by the wives of agricultural labourers or
different mechanics." Gaskell, a writer who gave much thought and
consideration to the problems before his eyes, and saw a good deal more
than many of his contemporaries, also thought that machinery would soon
reach a point at which "automata" would have done away with the need of
adult workmen.

He says, however, on another page, that "since steam-weaving became
general the number of adults engaged in the mills has been progressively
advancing inasmuch as very young children are not competent to take charge
of steam-looms. The individuals employed at them are chiefly girls and
young women, from sixteen to twenty-two."

Gaskell attributed the employment of women in factories, not so much to
their taking less wages, as to their being more docile and submissive than
men.

    Out of 800 weavers employed in one establishment, and which was ...
    composed indiscriminately, of men, women, and children--the one whose
    earnings were the most considerable, was a girl of sixteen.... The
    mode of payment ... is payment for work done--piece-work as it is
    called.... Thus this active child is put upon more than a par with the
    most robust adult; is in fact placed in a situation decidedly
    advantageous compared to him.... Workmen above a certain age are
    difficult to manage.... Men who come late into the trade, learn much
    more slowly than children ... and as all are paid alike, so much per
    pound, or yard, it follows that these men ... are not more efficient
    labourers than girls and boys, and much less manageable.... Adult male
    labour having been found difficult to manage and not more
    productive--its place has, in a great measure, been supplied by
    children and women; and hence the outcry which has been raised with
    regard to infant labour, in its moral and physical bearings.

This passage, involved as it is in thought and expression, is not without
interest as a reflection of the mind of that time, painfully working out
contemporary problems. Gaskell confuses women's labour with child labour,
and it is difficult to discover from this book that he has ever given any
thought to the former problem at all. The family for him is the social
unit, and women are classed with children as beings for whom the family as
a matter of course provides. He omits from consideration the woman thrown
upon her own exertions, and the grown-up girl, who, even if living at
home, must earn. It is not difficult to find other instances of similar
_naïveté_; thus in the supplementary Report on Child Labour in Factories,
it was gravely suggested that it may be wrong to be much concerned because
women's wages are low.

    Nature effects her own purpose wisely and more effectually than could
    be done by the wisest of men. The low price of female labour makes it
    the most profitable as well as the most agreeable occupation for a
    female to superintend her own domestic establishment, and her low
    wages do not tempt her to abandon the care of her own children.

Here again, there is apparently no perception of the case of the woman,
who, by sheer economic necessity, is forced to work, whether for herself
alone, or for her children also.

It is hardly necessary to remark that the estimate quoted above, according
to which the girl weaving on a power-loom could do twice as much as a man
on a hand-loom, has since been enormously exceeded. Schultz-Gävernitz in
1895 thought that a power-loom weaver accomplished about as much as forty
good hand-weavers, and no doubt even this estimate is now out of date.
Partly for technical, partly for other reasons, the woman's presence in
the factory is now much more taken for granted.

The girl who is to be a weaver begins work usually at twelve years old,
the minimum age permitted by law, and may spend six weeks with a relation
or friends learning the ways. She thus becomes a "tenter" or "helper," and
fetches the weft, carries away the finished goods, sweeps and cleans. At
thirteen or fourteen she may have two looms to mind, and will earn about
12s. a week. At sixteen she will be promoted to three looms, and later on
to four, beyond which women seldom go; a man sometimes minds six looms,
but needs a helper for this extra strain. The work needs considerable
skill and attention. Often a four-loom weaver will be turning out four
different kinds of cloth on the four looms. It is also fatiguing, as she
is on her feet the whole ten hours of her legal day, sometimes,
unfortunately, lengthened by the objectionable practice known as
"time-cribbing," which means that ten or even fifteen minutes are taken
from the legal meal times, and added to the working hours. It takes some
years to become an efficient weaver, and the drain on the weaver's
strength and vitality is considerable. Where steaming is used, colds and
rheumatism are very prevalent. It is noticed by the weavers that the
sickness rate is lower in times of bad trade, and indeed slack seasons are
regarded as times for much-needed recuperation. Women, although they equal
or here and there even excel men in skill and quickness, fail in staying
power. Many get fagged out by three o'clock in the afternoon. The great
increase in speed is also a factor in sickness. Weavers are now said to be
doing as much work in a day as in a day and a half twelve or thirteen
years ago, and the wages have increased, but not proportionately. The work
involves not only physical, but mental strain, and many cases of nervous
break-down and anaemia are known to occur among weavers. It should not be
forgotten that many women and girls have domestic work to do after their
day's work in the mill is over, and the high standard of comfort and
"house pride" in Lancashire makes this a considerable addition.

Another large class of women cotton operatives are the card-room workers,
officially described as "card-and blowing-room operatives." In this
department men and women do different work. The men do the more dangerous,
more unhealthy, and also the better paid work. Women's work also is
dangerous, and unhealthy from the dust and cotton fibre that pervade the
atmosphere. An agitation is on foot to have a dust-extractor fixed to
every carding-engine. The operatives suffer chiefly from excessive speed
and pressure. They are continually pressed to keep the machines going, and
not to stop them even for necessary cleaning, and I am assured by a
card-room operative that in the card-room the highest percentage of
accidents for the week occurs on Friday, when the principal weekly
cleaning takes place, and the lowest on Monday, when cleaning is not
required; also that the highest percentage of accidents during the day
occurs on an average between 10 A.M. and 12 noon, when the dirtiest parts
of the machinery are usually wiped over. The chief cause of these
accidents is cleaning while the machinery is in motion. The present rate
of speed produces extreme exhaustion in the workers, and some consider
that card-room work is altogether too hard for women, and not suitable to
their physical capacity. It is said to be done entirely by men in
America.

The male weaver is by no means extinct, as the prophets we have quoted
seemed to expect. Cotton-weaving offers the very unusual, perhaps unique
example of a large occupation employing both man and woman, and on equal
terms. The earnings of the male weaver are, however, very inferior to
those of the spinner, and he cannot unaided support a family without being
considerably straitened, according to the Lancashire standard. But, in
point of fact, a weaver when he marries usually marries a woman who is
also working at a mill, and if she is a weaver her earnings are very
likely as good as his. In this industry women attain to very nearly as
great skill and dexterity as do men; in some branches even greater. In
Lancashire the standard of working-class life and comfort is high, and a
woman whose husband is a weaver will not brook that her next-door
neighbour, whose husband may be a spinner or machine-maker, should dress
their children better, or have better window-curtains than she can. She
continues to work at her own trade, and the two incomes are combined until
the woman is temporarily prevented working at the mill. An interval of
some months may be taken off by a weaver for the birth of her baby, but
she will return to the mill afterwards, and again after a second; at the
third or fourth child she usually retires from industry. Later on the
children begin earning. Thus the male weaver's most difficult and troubled
times are when his children are quite young, his wife temporarily
incapacitated, and his earnings their sole support. When both husband and
wife are earning, their means are good relatively to their standard; and
again as the young people grow up, the combined income of the family may
be even ample. The young children whose mother is absent at work are
looked after in the day-time by a grandmother, or by a neighbour who is
paid for the work. It was stated, half-ironically, perhaps, before the
Labour Commission that there was a "standard list for this sort of
business." Opinions differ as to whether the children are or are not
neglected under this system. There is, however, evidence to show that many
Lancashire women, at least among those who are relatively well paid, are
good mothers and good housekeepers even though they work their ten hours a
day. They go to work because their standard of life is high, and they
cannot live up to it without working.

_The Industrial Revolution in Non-Textile Trades._--This subject, though
sociologically of great interest, cannot here be treated at length; it
must suffice to indicate a few points in regard to women, trusting that
some later writer will some day paint for England a finished picture on
the scale of Miss Butler's fine study "Women and the Trades," of
Pittsburgh, U.S.A.

The factory system has now invaded one manufacturing industry after
another, and the use of power and division of work in numerous processes
have opened a considerable amount of employment to women. There have been
two lines of development; on the one hand, occupations have been opened
for women in trades with which previously they had nothing, or very little
to do; on the other hand, industries hitherto almost entirely in the hands
of women, and carried on chiefly in homes or small workrooms or shops,
such as dressmaking, the making of underclothing, laundry work and so on,
have been to some extent changed in character, and have in part become
factory industries of the modern type.

In 1843 the sub-commissioner who investigated Birmingham industries for
the Children's Employment Commission, was struck by the extent of women's
and children's employment. Very large numbers of children were employed in
a great variety of manufacturing processes, and women's labour was being
substituted for men's in many branches. In all trades there were at the
same time complaints of want of employment and urgent distress, involving
large numbers of mechanics. Mr. Grainger saw women employed in laborious
work, such as stamping buttons and brass nails, and notching the heads of
screws, and considered these to be unfit occupations for women. In screw
manufactories the women and girls constituted 80 to 90 per cent of the
whole number employed. A considerable number of girls, fourteen and
upwards, were employed in warehouses packing the goods, giving in and
taking out work. Non-textile industries were as yet quite unregulated, and
many of the reports made to this commissioner indicate very bad conditions
as to health and morals. The sanitary conditions were atrocious, except
where the employers were specially conscientious and gave attention to the
subject; there was little protection against accident, and child-labour
was permitted at very early years. Most of the abuses noted had to do
either with insanitary conditions or with child-labour. The women and
girls are described as having been often twisted or injured by premature
employment, and as being totally without education. One witness who gave
evidence considered that the lack of education was more disastrous for
girls than for boys.

In 1864 the Children's Employment Commission found that the number and
size of large factories had grown since 1841, and the number of women in
the Birmingham district employed in metal manufactures was estimated at
10,000.

In 1866, when the British Association visited Birmingham, Mr. S. Timmins
prepared a series of reports on local industries, the index of which gives
no less than thirty-six references to women, which is some indication how
widely they were employed. In the steel pen trade, for instance, which had
developed from a small trade in hand-made pens, costing several shillings
each, into a large factory industry, numbers of girls and women were
employed, and a comparatively small proportion of men. In 1866, there were
estimated to be 360 men, 2050 women and girls employed in Birmingham
pen-works. Women were employed extensively in the light chain trade, also
in lacquering in the brass trade, and in many other occupations.
Successive censuses show very rapid increases in the employment of women
in the metal trades generally, though, of course, they bear a much lower
proportion to men in these trades taken as a whole than in the textile
trades.

Similar developments are taking place in food and tobacco trades, soap,
chemicals, paper and stationery. The boot and shoe trade is a good example
of the rapid opening-out of opportunities for women's employment. At the
time of the Labour Commission (1893) it was noted that Bristol factories
were mostly not up to date or efficient. Since that time there has been a
rapid extension of factory work for women, and the methods in the boot and
shoe trade have been revolutionised by the introduction of the power
sewing-machine, and by production on a large scale. The new factories in
or near Bristol have lofty rooms, modern improved sanitary and warming
apparatus, and the best are carefully arranged with a view to maintaining
the health and efficiency of the workers.

In 1903 a committee of the Economic Section of the British Association
found in Sheffield that machinery had been displacing file cutlery made by
hand for fifteen years past, and some women were already finding
employment on the lighter machines. In Coventry the cycle industry
employed an increasing number of women; watchmaking was becoming a factory
industry, and the proportion of women to men had increased rapidly. Women
are even employed in some processes subsidiary to engineering, such as
core-making. But it should be remembered that these openings for women do
not necessarily mean permanent loss of work for men, though some temporary
loss there no doubt very often is. The rearrangement of industry and the
subdivision of processes mean that new processes are appropriated to
women; and it is likely enough that among factory operatives women are,
and will be, an increasing proportion. But therewith must come an
increasing demand for men's labour in mining, smelting and forging metal,
and in other branches into which women are unlikely to intrude.

In the clothing trades the industrial revolution has made some way, and is
doubtless going to make still more way, but it is unlikely that the
older-fashioned methods of tailoring and dressmaking can ever be
superseded as completely as was the hand-loom weaving in the cotton trade.
Dress is a matter of individual taste and fancy, and much as the
factory-made clothing and dressmaking has improved in the last ten or
twenty years, it is unlikely ever to supply the market entirely.
Stay-making is a rapidly developing factory industry at Bristol, Ipswich
and elsewhere. In underclothing and children's clothing also the factory
system is making considerable advances. It is startling to see babies'
frocks or pinafores made on inhuman machines moved by power, with rows of
fixed needles whisking over the elaborate tucks; but if the resulting
article be both good and cheap, and the women operatives paid much better
than they would be for the same number of hours' needlework, sentimental
objections are perhaps out of place.

In such factories as I have been permitted to visit, mostly non-textile, I
have noticed that men and women are usually doing, not the same, but
different kinds of work, and that the work done by women seems to fall
roughly into three classes. My classification is probably quite
unscientific, and indicates merely a certain social order perceived or
conceived by an observer ignorant of the technical side of manufacturing
and chiefly interested in the social or sociological aspect. In the first
place, there is usually some amount of rough hard work in the preparing
and collecting of the material, or the transporting it from one part of
the factory to another. Such work is exemplified by the rag-cutting in
paper-mills, fruit-picking in jam factories, the sorting soiled clothes in
laundries, the carrying of loads from one room to another, and such odd
jobs. I incline to think that the arrangements made for dealing with this
class of work are a very fair index to the character and ability of the
employer. In good paper-mills, for instance, though nothing could make
rag-cutting an attractive job, its objectionable features are mitigated by
a preliminary cleansing of the rags, and by good ventilation in the work.
In ill-managed factories of various kinds the carrying of heavy loads is
left to the women workers' unaided strength, and is a most unpleasing
sight to those who do not care to see their sisters acting as beasts of
burden, not to mention that heavy weight-carrying is often highly
injurious, provoking internal trouble. In the case of trays of boiling
fruit, jam, etc., it may lead to horrible accidents. In well-managed
factories this carrying of loads is arranged for by mechanical means or a
strong porter is retained for the purpose.

The second class of work noticed as being done by women is work done on
machines with or without power, and this includes a whole host of
employments and an endless variety of problems. Machine tending,
press-work, stamp-work, metal-cutting, printing, various processes of
brass work, pen-making, machine ironing in laundries, the making of
"hollow ware" or tin pots and buckets of various kinds; such are a few of
the kinds of work that occur to me. Many of them have the interesting
characteristic of forming a kind of borderland or marginal region where
men and women, by exception, do the same kinds of work. It is in these
kinds of work that difficulties occur in imperfectly organised trades; it
is here that the employer is constantly pushing the women workers a little
further on and the male workers a little further off; it is here that
controversies rage over what is "suitable to women," and that
recriminations pass between trade unions and enterprising employers. These
kinds of work may be very hard, or very easy, they may need skill and
afford some measure of technical interest, or they may be merely dull and
monotonous, efficiency being measured merely by speed; they may be badly
paid, but on the other hand they include some of the best paid of women's
industrial occupations. They are in a continual state of flux, responding
to every technical advance, and change in methods; they represent the
industrial revolution at its tensest and most critical point. And to
conclude, it is here that organisation for women is most necessary and
desirable in the interests of all classes.

The third kind of work noted by the detached observer is more difficult to
define in a word; it consists in the finishing and preparing goods for
sale, and in the various kinds of work known as warehouse work. As a
separate class it results mainly from the increasing size of firms and the
quantity of work done. Paper-sorting or overlooking in paper-mills is
typical of this class of work; it consists in separating faulty sheets of
paper from those that are good, and is done at great speed by girls who
have a quick eye and a light touch. It is said to be work that men
entirely fail in, not having sufficiently sensitive finger-tips. In nearly
all factories there is a great deal of this kind of work, monotonous no
doubt, but usually clean in character, and less hard and involving
considerably less strain than either of the two former classes of work. In
confectionery or stationery works, for instance, to mention two only,
troops of girls are seen busily engaged at great speed in making up neat
little packets of the finished article, usually with an advertisement or a
picture put inside. In china or glass works girls may be employed wrapping
the goods in paper, and similar jobs are found in many classes of work. In
a well-known factory in East London where food for pet animals is made or
prepared, I was told some years ago that no girls at all had been employed
until recently, when about forty were taken on for the work of doing up
the finished article in neat packets for sale. It is noticeable that the
girls who are thus employed are usually of a social grade superior to the
two former classes, though they by no means always earn better wages. They
are very frequently the daughters of artisans earning good wages, and
expect to marry in their own class and leave work. The women employed in
the second class of work indicated, viz. chiefly on or about the machines,
are on the whole more enterprising, and more likely to join unions. These
again are socially superior to No. 1. No. 1 class, those who do the rough
hard kind of work, are mainly employed for the sake of cheapness, are
often married women, and are probably doing much the same kinds of work
that were done by women in those trades before the transformation of
industry by machinery. (This is merely an inference of mine, and can
scarcely be proved, but it seems likely to be true.) The more perfectly
the industry develops and becomes organised, the more machinery is used
and different processes are adapted to utilise different classes of
skilled effort, the less need will there be for class No. 1 work to be
done at all.

It should be noted before we leave this subject that No. 2 class work is
especially liable to change and modification, which means change in the
demand for labour, and often means a demand for a different class of
labour, or a different kind of skill. There are some who think
pessimistically that improved machinery must mean a demand for a lower
grade of skill. No doubt it often _has_ meant that, and still does in
instances. But it is far from being universally true. As the hand-press is
exchanged for the power-press, the demand occurs for a worker sufficiently
careful and responsible to be trusted with the new and more valuable
machinery. Again, when a group of processes needing little skill is taken
over by an automatic machine that performs the whole complex of
operations, several unskilled workers will be displaced by one of a higher
grade. The new automatic looms worked by electric power are, I am told,
involving the employment of a class of young women superior in general
intelligence and education to the typical weaver, though not necessarily
so in manual skill.

_Conclusion._--Frau Braun sees in the machine the main cause of the
development of woman's industrial employment.[17] A more recent writer,
Mrs. Schreiner, takes exactly the opposite view:

    The changes ... which we sum up under the compendious term "modern
    civilisation," have tended to rob woman, not merely in part, but
    almost wholly, of the more valuable of her ancient domain of
    productive and social labour; and where there has not been a
    determined and conscious resistance on her part, have nowhere
    spontaneously tended to open out to her new and compensatory fields.
    It is this fact which constitutes our modern "Woman's Labour Problem."
    Our spinning-wheels are all broken; in a thousand huge buildings
    steam-driven looms, guided by a few hundred thousands of hands (often
    those of men), produce the clothings of half the world; and we dare no
    longer say, proudly, as of old, that we, and we alone clothe our
    peoples.[18]

It is a striking instance of the extraordinary complexity of modern
industry that two distinguished writers like Frau Braun and Mrs.
Schreiner, both holding advanced views on the feminist question, should
thus come to opposite conclusions as to the influence of the machine. In a
sense, the opposition is more apparent than real. Mrs. Schreiner is
thinking of production for use by the woman at home, and there is no
question that production for use is being superseded by production for
exchange. Frau Braun, in the passage quoted, is writing of wage-earning
employment. There can be little question that the evolution of machinery
has favoured woman's employment. Woman has no chance against man where
sheer strength is needed; but when mechanical power takes the place of
human muscle, when the hard part is done by the machine, then the child,
the girl, or the woman is introduced. The progressive restriction of
child-labour has also favoured women, so that over the period covered by
the factory statistics, the percentage of women and girls employed has
increased in a very remarkable way.

It is possible to exaggerate the extent of the change made by the
industrial revolution in taking women out of the home. We must remember
that domestic service, the traditional and long-standing occupation of
women, is always carried on away from the home of the worker, and does in
fact (as it usually involves residence) divide the worker from her family
far more completely than ordinary day work. The instances given in Chapter
I. also show that not only agriculture, but various other industries,
afforded employment to women, long before the industrial revolution, in
ways that must have involved "going out to work." To the working classes
it was nothing new to see women work, and, in point of fact, we do not
find even the employment of married women exciting much attention or
disapproval at the outset of the factory system. In the non-domestic
industries the question of the wife taking work for wages was probably
then, as mainly it still is, a poverty question. The irregular employment,
sickness or incapacity of the male bread-winner that result in earnings
insufficient for family maintenance, occurred probably with no less
frequency in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries than now,
and these are causes that at all times drive married women to work, if
they can get work to do. The class that felt it most keenly as an evil and
a wrong, were the hand-loom weavers whose earnings were so depressed that
they could not maintain their families, and found at the same time that
the labour of their wives and daughters was more in demand than their own.
Where the industry had been carried on by the family working together,
and, for a time at least, had been sufficiently lucrative to afford a
comparatively high standard of comfort, the disintegration of this
particular type of organisation was, not unnaturally, resented as an
outrage on humanity. The iron regularity of the factory system, the
economic pressure that kept the workers toiling as long as the engines
could run, the fixation of hours, were cruel hardships to a class that had
formed its habits and traditions in the small self-contained workshop, and
made continuous employment a terrible strain on the married woman. As the
home centres round the woman, the problem for the working woman has been,
and is, one of enormous difficulty, involving considerable restatement of
her traditional codes and customs.

Whatever may have been the social misery and disorder brought about by the
industrial revolution, one striking result was an increase in the earning
power of women. Proof in detail of this statement will be given in
Chapter VI.; for the present it will suffice to point to the fact. The
machine, replacing muscular power and increasing the productivity of
industry, does undoubtedly aid the woman in quest of self-dependence. In
the era of the great industry she has become to an increasing extent an
independent wage-earner. Low as the standard of women's wages is, there is
ample proof that it is on the whole higher under the factory system than
under other methods, and as a general rule the larger and more highly
organised factory pays higher wages than the smaller, less well-equipped.
The cotton industry, which took the lead in introducing the factory
system, and is in England by far the most highly organised and efficiently
managed among trades in which women predominate, has shown a remarkable
rise of wages through the last century, and is now the only large industry
in which the average wage of women is comparatively high. Another point is
that factory dressmaking, which has developed in comparatively recent
years, already shows a higher average wage than the older-fashioned
dressmaking carried on in small establishments, and a much smaller
percentage of workers paid under 10s. a week. Monsieur Aftalion, in a
monograph comparing factory and home work in the French clothing trade,
finds wages markedly higher under the factory system. Yet another instance
is offered by Italy, where women's wages are miserably low, yet they are
noticeably higher in big factories than in small.

The development of the single young woman's position through the factory
system has been obscured by the abuses incidental to that system, which
were due more or less to historical causes outside industry. The absence
of any system of control over industrial and sanitary conditions
undoubtedly left many factories to become centres of disease, overwork and
moral corruption, and the victims of this misgovernment and neglect are a
reproach that can never be wiped out. On the other hand, later experience
has shown that decent conditions of work are easier to secure in factories
than in small work places, owing to greater publicity and facility for
inspection. The very fact of the size of the factory, its economic
importance, and its almost dramatic significance for social life, caused
attention to be drawn to, and wrath to be excited by, evil conditions in
the factory, which would have been little noticed in ordinary small work
places.

The initiation of the "great industry" resulted in a kind of searchlight
being turned on to the dark places of poverty. State interference had to
be undertaken, although in flat opposition to the dominant economics of
the day, and the better sort of masters were impelled by shame or worthier
motives to get rid of the stigma that clung to factory employment. Now the
girl-worker has profited by this movement in a quite remarkable degree.
Domestic service is no longer her only outlook, and the conditions of
domestic service have probably considerably improved in consequence. Her
employment is no longer bound up with personal dependence on her own
family, or personal servitude in her employer's.

The wage contract, though not, we may hope, the final or ideal stage in
the evolution of woman's economic position, is an advance from her servile
state in the mediaeval working class, or parasitic dependence on the
family. The transition thus endows her with greater freedom to dispose of
or deny herself in marriage, and is an important step towards higher
racial ideals and development. Grievously exploited as her employment has
been and still is, the evolution of the woman wage-earner, her gradual
achievement of economic individuality and independence, in however limited
a degree, is certainly one of the most interesting social facts of the
time. The remarkable intelligence and ability of Lancashire working people
was noticed by Mrs. Gaskell in _Mary Barton_, as long ago as 1848. And to
this day the Co-operative Movement and the Trade Union Movement flourish
among Lancashire women as they do not anywhere else. The Workers'
Educational Association draws many of its best students from these women
who toil their ten hours in the mill and use their brains for study in the
evening after work is over.



CHAPTER III.

STATISTICS OF THE LIFE AND EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN.


No very detailed or elaborate statistics will be here employed, the aim of
this chapter being merely to draw attention to certain broad facts or
relations disclosed by the Census and the Registrar-General's Report.

_The Surplus of Women._--It is a well-known fact that in this country
women exceed men in numbers. The surplus increased slightly but steadily
from 1851 to 1901, and remained almost stationary from 1901 to 1911. In
1901 and 1911 there were in every 1000 persons 484 males and 516 females.
The excess of females varies at different ages. The number of boys born
exceeds the number of girls in a proportion not far from 4 per cent,
sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. But boy infants run
greater risks at birth and appear to be altogether more susceptible to
adverse influences, for their death-rate is usually higher up to 3, 4 or 5
years old. The age-group 5 to 10 varies from time to time; in 1901-1910
the average mortality of girls was the higher: in 1912 the average
mortality of boys was very slightly higher. From 10 to 15 the female
death-rate is higher than the male.

The age-group 15 to 20 shows very curious variations in the relative
mortality of males and females. From 1894 onwards the males of that group
have had a higher mortality than the females, whereas previous to that
date the female mortality was the higher, in all years of which we have a
record save two--1876 and 1890. The Registrar-General can suggest no
explanation of this phenomenon.[19] It may be remarked, however, that
girls generally now obtain more opportunity for fresh air and physical
exercise than in former years, which may account for some of their
comparative improvement in this respect; also that in the industrial
districts a great improvement has taken place in the administration of the
Factory Act since the appointment of women inspectors and the general
raising of the standard after the Act of 1891, and girls may naturally be
supposed to have profited more by this improved administration than have
youths of the other sex, who are not included under the Act when over 18
years, and in many cases pass into industries unregulated by law.

The following table shows the death-rates per 1000 of male and female
persons in England and Wales, 1913, and the ratio of male per cent of
female mortality at age periods, as calculated by the Registrar-General.

DEATH-RATES AT AGES, 1913.

  +----------------------------------+
  |Ages.|   M.  |   F.  |Ratio M. per|
  |     |       |       |   100 F.   |
  |-----|-------|-------|------------|
  |  0-1| 120   |  96   |     125    |
  |  0-5|  39·2 |  32·2 |     122    |
  |  5- |   3·1 |   3·1 |     100    |
  | 10- |   1·9 |   2·0 |      95    |
  | 15- |   2·7 |   2·5 |     108    |
  | 20- |   3·5 |   3·0 |     117    |
  | 25- |   4·6 |   3·8 |     121    |
  | 35- |   8·0 |   6·5 |     123    |
  | 45- |  15·0 |  11·5 |     130    |
  | 55- |  30·7 |  23·0 |     133    |
  | 65- |  64·5 |  51·1 |     126    |
  | 75- | 140·4 | 117·5 |     119    |
  | 85- | 266·8 | 241·0 |     111    |
  |-----|-------|-------|------------|
  |Total|  14·7 |  12·8 |     115    |
  +----------------------------------+

As might be expected from these figures, the Census shows that males are
in excess of females in very early life, but are gradually overtaken, and
in later years especially men are considerably outnumbered by women. The
disproportion of women is mainly due to their lower death-rate, but also
in part to the fact that so many men go abroad for professional or
commercial avocations. Some of these are accompanied by wives or sisters,
but a large proportion go alone.

The disproportion of women is more marked in town districts than in rural
ones. This may be partly due to the lower infant death-rate in the
country, for a high rate of infant mortality on an average affects more
boys than girls. But no doubt the large demand for young women's labour in
factories and as domestic servants is another cause of the surplus of
women in towns. In rural districts there is a surplus of males over
females up to the age of 25. The disproportion of women does not show any
marked tendency to increase except among the elderly, the preponderance
becoming increasingly marked towards old age. It would overload this
chapter too much to give figures illustrating the changes in the last half
century; those who wish to make themselves acquainted with the matter can
refer to the very full and interesting tables given near the end of Vol.
VII. of the Census, 1911.

_Marriage._--The preponderance of young women, though not very
considerable in figures, is, however, in fact a more effective restriction
of marriage than might be expected, because women are by custom more
likely to marry young than men, and thus the numbers of marriageable young
women at any given date exceed the corresponding numbers of men in a
proportion higher than the actual surplus of young women in particular
age-groups.

The old-fashioned optimistic assumption that women will all get married
and be provided for by their husbands, cannot be maintained. It is
possible, however, to be needlessly pessimistic on this head, as in a
certain weekly journal which recently proclaimed that "two out of every
three women die old maids." If we are to regard marriage as an occupation
(an idea with which, on the whole, I disagree), it is still the most
important and extensively followed occupation for women. In 1911 over
6-1/2 millions of women in England and Wales were married, or rather more
than one-half the female population over 15; and considerably more than
one-half of our women get married some time or other. In middle life, say
from 35 to 55, three-fourths of all women are married. In early life a
large proportion are single; in later life a large proportion are widows.
Or we might put it in another way. From the age of 20 to 35, only two out
of every four women are married, nearly all the rest being still single,
and a very small proportion widowed; from 35 to 55, three in every four
women are married; over 55, less than two in every four are married, most
of the others having become widows. The proportion of women married has
increased since the previous Census, but has decreased slightly at all
ages under 45.

The following table displays the proportion married and widowed per cent
of the different age-groups.

  +-------------------------------------+
  | Ages.  | Single.| Married.| Widowed.|
  |--------|--------|---------|---------|
  | 15-20  |   99   |    1    |    0    |
  | 20-25  |   76   |   24    |    0    |
  | 25-35  |   36   |   62    |    1    |
  | 35-45  |   20   |   75    |    5    |
  | 45-55  |   16   |   71    |   13    |
  | 55-65  |   13   |   59    |   28    |
  | 65-    |   12   |   31    |   57    |
  |        |        |         |         |
  |All ages|   39   |   51    |   10    |
  +-------------------------------------+

If the figures were drawn in curves, it would be seen that the proportion
of single women falls rapidly from youth onwards, and is quite small in
old age; that the proportion married rises rapidly at first, remaining
high for 20 or 30 years, and falls again, forming a broad mound-shaped
curve; while the proportion widowed rises all the way to old age.

It will be seen that, even on the assumption that all wives are provided
for by their husbands, which is by no means universally true, a very
large proportion of women before 35 and after 55 are not thus provided
for, and that an unknown but not inconsiderable proportion never marry at
all. In the case of the educated middle class, as Miss Collet pointed out
in 1892, the surplus of women over men is considerably above the average,
and consequently the prospect of marriage is less in this than in the
working class. "Granted an equal number of males and females between the
ages of 18 and 30, we have not therefore in English society an equal
number of marriageable men and women. Wherever rather late marriage is the
rule with men--that is, wherever there is a high standard of comfort--the
disproportion is correspondingly great. In a district where boy and girl
marriages are very common, everybody can be married and be more or less
miserable ever after: but in the upper middle class equality in numbers at
certain ages implies a surplus of marriageable women over marriageable
men."[20]

In some quarters the adoption of professions, even of the teaching
profession, by women, is opposed on the ground that women are thereby
drawn away from marriage and home-making. It is difficult to understand
how such an objection can be seriously raised in face of the facts of
social life. The adoption of occupations by women may in a few cases
indicate a preference for independence and single blessedness; but it is
much more often due to economic necessity. It is perfectly plain that not
all women can be maintained by men, even if this were desirable. The women
who have evolved a theory of "economic independence" are few compared
with the many who have economic self-dependence forced upon them. Human
nature is far too strong to make it credible that any large number of
women will deliberately decline the prospect of husband, home and children
of their own for the sake of teaching little girls arithmetic or
inspecting insanitary conditions in slums. If a woman has to choose
between marrying a man she cares for and earning her own bread, I am
sentimental enough to believe that nearly all women would choose the
former. The choices of real life are seldom quite so simple. When a woman
has to choose between an uncongenial marriage and fairly well-paid work,
it is quite likely that nowadays she frequently chooses the latter. In
former days the choice might easily have been among the alternatives of
the uncongenial marriage, the charity, willing or unwilling, of friends
and relations, and sheer starvation, not to mention that even the bitter
relief of the uncongenial marriage, usually available in fiction, is not
always forthcoming in real life. The case grows clearer every year, that
women need training and opportunity to be able to support themselves,
though not all women will do so throughout life.

_Occupation._--If we have any doubt of the fact that there is still "a
deal of human nature" in girls and women, we have only to compare the
Census statistics of occupation and marriage. We have already seen that
the numbers married increase up to 45. As the number married increases the
number occupied rapidly falls off. The percentage of women and girls over
15 who are occupied was, in 1911, 35.5; an increase of 1.0 since 1901.

This does not, however, mean that only a little more than one-third of all
women enter upon a trade or occupation. In point of fact a very large
proportion are workers in early youth, as the following tables show. In
order to illustrate the relation of occupation to marriage, we place the
two sets of figures side by side.

  +---------------------------------------+
  |                 |Percentage|Percentage|
  |                 | Occupied.| Married. |
  |-----------------|----------|----------|
  |Girls aged 10-13 |    1·0   |   ..     |
  |     "     13-14 |   11·3   |   ..     |
  |     "     14-15 |   38·7   |   ..     |
  |     "     15-16 |   57·6   | }        |
  |     "     16-17 |   66·8   | }        |
  |     "     17-18 |   71·9   | }  1·2   |
  |     "     18-19 |   74·3   | }        |
  |     "     19-20 |   73·4   | }        |
  |Women aged 20-25 |   62·0   |   24·1   |
  |     "     25-35 |   33·8   |   63·2   |
  |     "     35-45 |   24·1   |   75·3   |
  |     "     45-55 |   23·1   |   70·9   |
  |     "     55-65 |   20·4   |   58·4   |
  |     "     65-   |   11·5   |   31·3   |
  +---------------------------------------+

The highest percentage of employment therefore occurs at the age of 18.

The next table shows the proportions of workers in age-groups.

WOMEN AND GIRL WORKERS OVER TEN YEARS OLD.

  +--------------------------------------+
  |       |  Number.  |Per cent of Total.|
  |-------|-----------|------------------|
  | 10-15 |   182,493 |       3·8        |
  | 15-20 | 1,156,851 |      23·9        |
  | 20-25 | 1,037,321 |      21·5        |
  | 25-35 | 1,057,275 |      21·9        |
  | 35-45 |   604,769 |      12·5        |
  | 45-55 |   422,464 |       8·7        |
  | 55-   |   369,561 |       7·7        |
  |       |-----------|------------------|
  |       | 4,830,734 |     100·0        |
  +--------------------------------------+

Over 49 per cent of the total are under 25, and are therefore in ordinary
speech more commonly termed girl than women workers. The rise in the
proportion married compared with the drop in the proportion occupied as
age advances, indicates how strong the hold and attraction of the family
is upon women. Conditions in factories are undoubtedly improved; many a
girl of 20 or 22, perhaps earning 18s. a week, with her club, her classes,
her friends, and an occasional outing, has by no means a "bad time." On
the other hand, the life of the married woman in the working class is
often extremely hard, taking into account the large amount of work done by
them at home, cooking, cleaning, washing, mending and making of clothes,
in the North also baking of bread, tendance of children and of the sick,
over and above and all but simultaneously with the bringing of babies into
the world. Moreover, the working girl is not under illusions as to the
facts of life, as her better-off contemporary still is to some extent.
Taking all this into consideration, the Census results shown above form an
illuminating testimony to the strength of the fundamental human
instincts.

The distribution of women in occupations illustrates both the deeply
rooted conservatism of women and, at the same time, the modifying tendency
of modern industry. The largest groups of women's trades are still their
traditional activities of household work, the manufacture of stuffs, and
the making of stuffs into clothes. Two-thirds of the women occupied are
thus employed.

  +------------------------------------------------------+
  |                            | Number. |  Per cent of  |
  |                            |         |Total occupied.|
  |----------------------------|---------|---------------|
  |Domestic offices and service|         |               |
  |  (including laundry)       |1,734,040|    35·9       |
  |Textiles                    |  746,154|    15·5       |
  |Dress                       |  755,964|    15·6       |
  +------------------------------------------------------+

It is convenient to picture to oneself the female working population as
three great groups: the domestic group, the textile and clothing group,
and the other miscellaneous occupations, which also form about one-third
of the total. Now, while it is true that the two former groups, the
traditional or conservative occupations of women, are still the largest,
they are not, with the exception of textiles, increasing as fast as
population, whereas some of the newer occupations, the non-textile
industrial processes that have been transformed by machinery and brought
within the capacity of women, are, though much smaller in numbers,
increasing at a rapid rate. The following table shows the change from 1901
to 1911 in the most important industrial groups including women. It
should be read bearing in mind that the increase of the female population
over 10 in the same period is 12·6 per cent.

ENGLAND AND WALES, 1901-1911.

  +------------------------------------------------------------+
  |                             |      Numbers.     |          |
  |    Occupations of Women     |-------------------|Percentage|
  |        and Girls.           |  1901.  |  1911.  | Change.  |
  |-----------------------------|---------|---------|----------|
  |Domestic offices and service |1,690,722|1,734,040|   +2·6   |
  |Textiles                     |  663,222|  746,154|  +12·5   |
  |Dress                        |  710,961|  755,964|   +6·3   |
  |Dressmakers                  |  340,582|  339,240|   -0·4   |
  |Tailoresses                  |  117,640|  127,115|   +8·1   |
  |Food, drink, and lodging     |  299,518|  474,683|  +58·5   |
  |Paper, books, and stationery |   90,900|  121,309|  +33·5   |
  |Metals, machines, etc.       |   63,016|  101,050|  +60·4   |
  |Increase of female population|         |         |          |
  |  over 10                    |   ..    |   ..    |  +12·6   |
  +------------------------------------------------------------+

But even with the occupations I have dubbed "conservative," or
traditional, modern methods are transforming the nature of the work done
by women. The statistical changes in the so-called domestic group are an
interesting illustration of the changes we can see going on in the world
around us. Note especially the tendency towards a more developed social
life outside the home indicated by the large percentage increase in club
service, hotel and eating-house service; the tendency to supersede amateur
by expert nursing, shown in the large increase in hospital and
institutional service; and the slight but perceptible tendency for
household work to lose its domestic character. Not only do the charwomen
show an increase much larger than that of the group total, while the
domestic indoor servant has decreased, but a new sub-heading, "day
servants," has had to be introduced. The laundry is fast becoming a
regular factory industry, and shows a decrease in numbers, no doubt due to
the introduction of machinery and labour-saving appliances.

CHANGES IN EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN CERTAIN DOMESTIC OCCUPATIONS.

  +---------------------------------------------------------------+
  |                               |                    |          |
  |                               |      Numbers.      |          |
  |                               |                    |          |
  |          Occupation.          |--------------------|Percentage|
  |                               |         |          | Change.  |
  |                               |  1901.  |  1911.   |          |
  |                               |         |          |          |
  |-------------------------------|---------|----------|----------|
  |Hotel, eating-house, etc.      |   45,711|   63,368 |  +38·6   |
  |Other domestic indoor servants}|1,285,072|1,271,990}|  +0·8    |
  |Day girls                     }|         |   24,001}|          |
  |College, club, etc.            |    1,680|    3,347 |  +99·2   |
  |Hospital, institution, etc.    |   26,341|   41,639 |  +58·1   |
  |Caretakers                     |   13,314|   18,633 |  +39·95  |
  |Cooks, not domestic            |    8,615|   13,538 |  +57·1   |
  |Charwomen                      |  111,841|  126,061 |  +12·7   |
  |Laundry                        |  196,141|  167,052 |  -14·8   |
  +---------------------------------------------------------------+

Textiles, which as a whole have increased exactly in proportion to
population, show a great variety in movement. The following shows the
movement in the numerically more important groups.

  +-------------------------------------------------------+
  |                      |     Numbers.      | Percentage |
  |                      |-------------------|  Change.   |
  |                      |  1901.  |  1911.  |            |
  |----------------------|---------|---------|------------|
  |Cotton--              |         |         |            |
  |  Card-room operatives|  46,135 |  55,488 |   +20·3    |
  |  Spinning            |  34,553 |  55,448 |   +60·5    |
  |  Winding, warping    |  64,742 |  59,171 |    -8·6    |
  |  Weaving             | 175,158 | 190,922 |    +9·0    |
  |Wool--                |         |         |            |
  |  Spinning            |  35,782 |  45,310 |   +26·6    |
  |  Weaving             |  67,067 |  67,499 |    +0·6    |
  |Hosiery               |  34,481 |  41,431 |   +20·2    |
  |Lace                  |  23,807 |  25,822 |    +8·5    |
  +-------------------------------------------------------+

In "Dress" the most noticeable feature is that in a decade of rapidly
increasing wealth and certainly of no diminution in the feminine tendency
to adornment and display, the numbers of dressmakers decreased by a few
hundreds. Tailoresses, on the other hand, increased considerably more than
the increase in the whole group, and "Dealers" also show a large increase.
The Census unfortunately throws very little light so far on the
development of the various factory industries for making clothes, and the
Factory Department statistics are now so considerably out of date as to be
of little value. In default of further information we may guess that a
very considerable economy of methods has been effected in the making of
women's clothes by the introduction of machinery and the factory system,
and that some of the large mass of customers of moderate incomes are
tending to desert the old-fashioned working dressmakers and buy ready-made
clothes, which have noticeably improved in style and quality in recent
years. But the older-fashioned methods probably hold the larger part of
the field, even now.

The increasing employment of women in metal trades is certainly a very
remarkable feature of the present Census, the numbers having jumped up
from 63,000 to 101,000 in ten years. The cycle and motor manufactures,
which employed less than 3000 women in 1901, employed not far short of
7000 in 1911. Nearly all the small groups and subdivisions of metal work
show an increase of female employment. For instance, women employed in
electrical apparatus-making increased from 2490 in 1901 to over 9000 in
1911.

The whole subject is one of great interest, as illustrating the progress
of the industrial revolution in the trades affected, but is impossible to
treat here at length.

_The Reaction of Status on Industry._--In spite of the increased range of
occupations open to women, it must be added that the position of woman is
a highly insecure one, and that she is considerably handicapped by the
reaction of status on occupation. We have seen that while most women work
for wages in early life, their work is usually not permanent, but is
abandoned on marriage, precisely at the time of life when the greatest
economic efficiency may be looked for. On the other hand, the superior
longevity of women and the greater risks to which men are exposed, leave
many women widows and unprovided for in middle or even early life. Some
women are unfortunate in marriage, the husband turning out idle,
incompetent, of feeble health or bad habits, and in such circumstances
women may need to return to their work after some years' cessation. But
factory industries and indeed nearly all women's occupations make a
greater demand for the young than for the middle-aged or old. Wages are
supposed to be based upon a single woman's requirements. Even if the
destitute widow or the deserted wife can succeed in obtaining fairly
well-paid work, there emerges the difficulty of looking after her home and
children simultaneously with doing work for wages.

The ordinary view of the subject is that a woman need not be paid as much
as a man, because her requirements are less, and she is likely to be
partially maintained by others. The question of wages will be discussed in
a later chapter, but it may here be pointed out that the facts revealed by
the Census show that the status of women is a very heavy handicap to their
economic position. Normally, women leave their occupation about the time
when they might otherwise expect to attain their greatest efficiency, and
those who return to work in later years are under the disadvantage of
having spent their best years in work which by no means helps their
professional or industrial efficiency, though it may be of the greatest
social usefulness. If a woman cannot expect to be paid more than the
commercial value of her work when she has children entirely dependent on
her, it seems inconsistent that she should be expected to take less than
the value of her work when she is partially maintained at home; surely the
wiser course would be to strive to raise the standard of remuneration so
as to benefit those who have the heavier obligations.

The same kind of thoughtless inconsistency is seen in dealing with the
problem of married women's work. Many observers of social life are struck
by the fact that it is sad and in some cases even disastrous for a woman
to go out to work and leave her infant children unprotected and untended.
The proposal is constantly forthcoming to prohibit married women's
employment. But many persons, even those who dislike the employment of
married women, think that when a woman is left a widow, the best thing is
to take her children away from her and get her into service.[21] In point
of fact, the young children of a widow need quite as much care and
attention as those who have a father living; and neither a married woman
nor a widow can give her children that care and attention if she is
without the means of subsistence.

The pressure on widows to seek employment, whatever their home ties, is
seen with tragic pathos even in the bald figures of the Census.

  +-----------------------------------------------------+
  |                    |Single.|Married.|Widowed.|Total.|
  |--------------------|-------|--------|--------|------|
  |Percentage of women |       |        |        |      |
  |  and girls occupied|  54·5 |  10·26 |  30·1  | 32·5 |
  +-----------------------------------------------------+

Although widows in the very nature of the case are older on an average
than married women, although the whole tendency of modern industry is
towards the employment of the young, yet the percentage of widows occupied
is three times as great as the percentage of married who are occupied.

There are no short and easy paths to the solution of the difficulties of
woman, but those who uphold such measures as the prohibition of employment
to married women, are bound to consider, firstly, how the prohibition
should be applied in cases where the male head of the family is not
competent or sufficiently able-bodied to support it; secondly, whether
the children of widows can flourish on neglect any better than the
children who have a living father, and, if not, why it is more desirable
for the widow than for the married woman to go to work outside her home
and away from her children.

_Conclusion._--The following points summarise the results obtained from a
study of the statistics in regard to women, supplemented by facts of
common knowledge. Women outnumber men, especially in later life. Not all
women can marry. A large majority of girls and a small minority of adult
women work for wages. A large majority of women marry some time or other.
The majority of young women leave work when they marry. Some women depend
upon their own exertions throughout life, and some of them have
dependents. Some women, after being maintained for a period by their
husbands, are forced again to seek work for wages; and many of these have
dependents.



CHAPTER IV.

WOMEN IN TRADE UNIONS.


_Early Efforts at Organisation._--It is probably not worth while to spend
a great deal of time in the endeavour to decide what part women played in
the earlier developments of trade unionism, very little information being
so far obtainable. It seems, however, not unlikely that some of the loose
organisations of frame-work knitters, woollen weavers, etc., that existed
in the eighteenth century and later, may have included women members, as
the Manchester Small-Ware Weavers certainly did in 1756, and Professor
Chapman tells us that women were among the members of the Manchester
Spinners' Society of 1795. At Leicester there appears to have been an
informal organisation of hand-spinners, called "the sisterhood," who in
1788 stirred up their male friends and acquaintances to riot as a
demonstration against the newly introduced machines.[22] We find some
women organised in the unions that sprang up after the repeal of the
Anti-Combination Act in 1824. The West Riding Fancy Union was open to
women as well as men, and although the General Association of Weavers in
Scotland expressly excluded female apprentices from membership it added
the proviso, "except those belonging to the weaver's own family."

In December the Lancashire Cotton Spinners called a conference at Ramsey,
Isle of Man, to consider the question of a national organisation. The
immediate motive of the conference was the failure of a disastrous six
months' strike at Hyde, near Manchester, which convinced the leaders that
no local unions could succeed against a combination of employers. At the
Ramsey Conference, after nearly a week's discussion, it was agreed to
establish a "Grand General Union of the United Kingdom," which was to be
subject to an annual delegates' meeting and three national committees. The
Union was to include all male spinners and piecers, the women and girls
being urged to form separate organisations. The General Union lasted less
than two years.[23]

A few years later, in 1833, an attempt which met with limited success was
made by Glasgow spinners to procure the same rates of pay for women as for
men, in spite of the masters' protest that the former did not turn out so
much or so good a quality of work as the latter. No doubt the men's action
was taken chiefly in their own interests. Many of the male operatives
objected altogether to the employment of women as spinners and for a time
hindered it in Glasgow, though shortly after the great strike of 1837 as
many women were spinning there as men. In Manchester women were spinning
in 1838, and, indeed, had done so from early times. One regrets to note
that they acted as strike-breakers (along with five out of thirty-three
male spinners) in a mill belonging to Mr. Houldsworth, as the latter
reported in evidence to the Committee on Combinations of Workmen. A
representative of the Spinners' Association, Glasgow, J. M'Nish, gave some
rather interesting evidence before the same Committee. He said it was not
the object of the association that the employment of women should cease,
although they were "not fond of seeing women at such a severe employment,"
but it was their object to prevent the women from being "paid at an under
rate of wages, if possible." Although the women spinners were not members
of the association, they were in the habit of appealing to it for advice
in the complicated business of reckoning up their rates of pay, and the
association had occasionally advised them to strike for an advance.[24]

Some years later women were to be found among the members of the Spinners'
Unions in Lancashire. Objections were raised to their employment on the
grounds of health and decency, as the spinning-rooms were excessively hot
and work had to be done in the lightest possible attire. Probably the
strongest objection was the danger to wages and to the customary standard
of life through women's employment. The feeling was that women would not
resist the encroachment of the masters, that their customary wage was low,
and that many of them were partially supported at home, consequently that
when men and women were employed together on the same kind of work, the
wages of men must fall. The hand-loom weavers of Glasgow would not admit
adult women to their society, though many were in fact working; and the
warpers discouraged women warpers. In 1833, however, the Glasgow women
power-loom weavers are said to have had a union under the direction of
the male operatives.[25]

The great outburst of unionism in 1833-34 fostered by Owen, the formation
of a "Grand National Consolidated Trades Union" did not leave the women
untouched. A delegates' meeting was held in February 1834 at which it was
resolved that the new body should take the form of a federation of
separate trade lodges, usually of members of one trade, but with provision
for "miscellaneous lodges," in places where the numbers were small, and
even for "female miscellaneous lodges." Within a few weeks or months this
union obtained an extraordinary growth and expansion. About half a million
members must have joined, including tens of thousands of farm labourers
and women, and members of the most diverse and heterogeneous classes of
industry. Among the women members we hear of lodges for tailoresses,
milliners and miscellaneous workers. Some women gardeners and others were
prominent in riots at Oldham. At Derby women and children joined with the
men in refusing to abandon the union and were locked out by their
employers. The Grand National endeavoured to find means to support them
and find employment, but the struggle, though protracted for months, ended
in the complete triumph of the employers. The Grand National did not long
survive.

In some of the strikes and disturbances that took place in the following
years there is clear evidence that women took part, but very little can be
ascertained as to their inclusion in unions beyond the bare fact that the
Cotton Power-Loom Weavers' Union, as is generally stated, has always had
women members. In cotton weaving the skill of women is almost equal to
men's, in some cases even superior; and as the power-loom came more and
more into use, women were more and more employed, as we have seen. The men
had thus in their industry an object lesson of the desirability of
association and combination in the interests of both sexes. A Weavers'
Union of Great Britain and Ireland was formed in 1840 on the occasion of
the Stockport strike. But the establishment of unions on a sound basis was
a little later, about the middle of the century.

_Cotton Weavers._--Numerous strikes occurred in Lancashire about the
middle of the nineteenth century, and several unions of cotton weavers
formed in those years are still in existence. The first sound organisation
of power-loom weavers was established at Blackburn in 1854, but the
Padiham Society and the Radcliffe Society can trace their existence back
to 1850. The organisation of cotton weavers thenceforward proceeded
rapidly. The Chorley weavers date from 1855, the Accrington Society from
1856, Darwen and Ramsbottom from 1857, Preston, 1858, Great Harwood and
Oldham and District, 1859. The East Lancashire Amalgamated Society was
also formed in 1859, and was afterwards known as the North-East Lancashire
Amalgamated Society.

For many years, however, contributions were too small to admit of forming
an adequate reserve, and before 1878 the unions were not really effective.
A number of local strikes about that date led the Union officials to
perceive that higher contributions were necessary for concerted action,
and cases of victimising of officials brought home the need for larger
Unions with officials who could be placed beyond the risk of
victimisation. The new demands made upon the workers no doubt caused some
dismay. Some members were lost at first, but most of these returned after
a few months. In course of time the weavers have built up an organisation
which as far as women are concerned is without parallel in this country.

The Weavers' Amalgamation was formed in 1884. It includes 38 districts in
Lancashire and Yorkshire, and one or two in Derbyshire, with nearly
200,000 members, the majority being women. In one or two districts
political forces have favoured the growth of rival Unions outside the
Amalgamation, and these also include a large proportion of women. This
division in the weavers' camp is greatly to be regretted, but the rival
societies do not appear so far to have done any great harm to the great
Amalgamation, whose lead they usually follow, save in political matters,
and from whose influence they, of course, indirectly benefit considerably,
though they pay no contributions to its funds.

Piece rates in textile trades are extremely complicated. The lists and
exceptions are indeed so technical in their nature that many of the
operatives themselves do not understand them, and it is quite possible
that some employers do not fully grasp the working of the lists.

The weaving operation begins when the warp, or the longitudinal threads of
the piece to be woven, has been fixed in position on the loom. The threads
used for the warp are what in spinning are called "twist." These long
threads, or "ends" as they are sometimes called, when placed on the loom
pass through the openings of the "reed," a sheet of metal cut like a comb
into spaces of the width required for the special coarseness or fineness
of the material to be woven. The twist also passes through loops known as
"healds." Thus the first element to be taken into account is the thickness
of the threads of the warp, the number of threads going to make up an inch
of width, and the total width of the piece to be woven. The work of the
loom is to throw across the warp the cross threads or "weft." These
threads are carried in the shuttle which flies to and fro and passes over
and under the warp threads alternately, or at such angles and intervals as
are provided for by the arrangement of the warp in the "healds" and
"reed." The weft or cross threads are termed "picks." Thus the second
element in determining the price is the fineness and closeness of the
weft. The fineness is determined by the number of counts of the yarn. The
closeness may be determined by counting the number of threads or picks in
a given length actually woven, or by a calculation based upon the
mechanical action of the machine. In many cases the number of picks can be
easily settled by counting, but in almost every instance the most exact
method is by calculation, based upon the sizes and divisions of the wheels
and of the "beam" in the loom. The "beam" is the bar or pole round which
the cloth is rolled in process of weaving. The third element is the total
length woven, and a fourth is the nature and quality of the material used.
This latter is an especially important element in price. The smaller the
openings in the "reed" through which the threads pass, the finer and
closer the crossing of the weft, the greater in number and more delicate
are the threads to be watched by the weaver, and the greater is the
liability to breakage of threads. Closer attention and greater dexterity
are needed in the weaving of fine than of coarse materials, but on the
other hand the weaving of the coarser yarns may mean harder physical
labour though not requiring so much skill. The harder work is paid for at
an increased rate, though less wages may be earned by the operative.

The weavers' work is to fetch the cops of weft (unless they have tenters
or assistants to do the fetching and carrying), keep the shuttles full,
and repair broken threads. The standard upon which the uniform list is
based is calculated on the capacity of an ordinary loom, forty-five inches
in the reed space, weaving according to certain particulars given in the
list, which are somewhat too technical to set down here. The standard
conditions are in practice varied in every conceivable way, and exceptions
of every kind have to be provided for by making additions and deductions
per cent. There are also subsidiary lists for special kinds and qualities,
and local lists for special characters of goods made in certain districts.
To find the price of weaving the various allowances have to be deducted or
added one by one. A minute fraction of a penny per yard may make a
perceptible difference in a weaver's earnings.

These lists are a comparatively modern development, and date from the time
of the labour troubles mentioned above. In 1853 the Blackburn Society
prepared a list of uniform prices for weavers as a basis for a permanent
agreement. This list was based upon prices previously paid at the various
mills in the town, on an average of a month's earnings. The Blackburn list
was in operation till 1892, and was the most important of all the lists
regulating weavers' wages. It was then, with many others, replaced by the
uniform list, which is now generally recognised throughout Lancashire,
but rates for some subsidiary processes are still regulated by local
lists.

The complication of these lists has necessitated a high degree of
specialised skill in the secretaries, who must possess practical and
intimate experience of the work and a competent knowledge of arithmetic
for elaborate calculations. Subjects of complaint and suspected
miscalculations can be referred to the secretary, who immediately inquires
into the matter. If he considers the complaint justified or the
calculations incorrect, he visits the mill and puts the case before the
employer. The matter can very likely be settled amicably, as in point of
fact these matters often are, but if dispute occurs, it is referred first
to the local association, and may be settled by negotiation. In case of
failure there is a machinery needless to detail here by which meetings of
employer and employed can be arranged through successively higher grades
of representative authority, until in the last resort, if all attempts at
settlement fail, a strike is called. The impressive feature about all this
negotiation from our present point of view is that the whole strength of
the Union, the brains and time and care of the secretary, can be invoked
for the protection of the woman, the youthful or childish worker, as much
as for the adult skilled worker at a craft.

Cases of wrongful withholding of earnings, as for instance unfair fines,
can be taken into the County Courts. In at least one district the
secretary has successfully asserted the right to visit the mill and
inspect cloth, when the employer claims deductions. The cotton weavers'
secretaries have in fact to play a part not unlike that of the solicitor
in other social grades. They have to look after their clients' interests,
protect them from fraud and injury, and advise them in cases of doubt as
to their legal rights and position.

A fertile source of trouble is in bad cotton. Most of us have probably
laughed over the story of the pious weaver in the cotton famine who prayed
for supplies of raw material, "but, O Lord, not Surats!" The matter is far
from amusing to the workers themselves. Every breakage of a thread means
that their wages are stopped by so much, and defective material means that
they have to work harder and with more harass and interruption, and
accomplish less in the time. If inferior material is persistently
supplied, the cotton-workers consider themselves entitled to an increase
of 5 per cent or 7-1/2 per cent on earnings, and it is the secretaries'
duty to get it for them.

It is perhaps worth while to note the peculiar sense given in Lancashire
speech to the expression "bad work." In Lancashire "bad work" means bad
cotton, and is actually so used in the terms of an agreement between
employer and employed as a subject for compensation to the worker.

Constant anxious care is needed to safeguard the payment of wages. A
Weavers' Local Association advises their members that "whenever the earned
wages of a female or young person is being detained for being absent or
leaving work, except to the amount of damage their employer has sustained
in consequence, such a young person should at once lay their case before
the Committee."[26] Even at the present time it is not unknown for a girl
to be fined to the amount of a whole week's earnings, but, as my informant
added, such a case is now rare. As a rule the Trade Union Secretary will
be appealed to, will take the steps necessary, and the fine will be
returned or considerably reduced.

Any one who is used to considering the case of the girl and women worker
in the unorganised trades of London or other great towns, any one who has
read in the Women Factory Inspectors' Reports of the difficulty of
enforcing the Truck Act and of the special proneness of the woman worker
to be oppressed and cheated out of what is morally or even legally her
due, will appreciate at once the extraordinary difference between her
position and that of the cotton weaver who is backed up by her
Association, and has an expert adviser to appeal to.

The position of women (and of course of other members also) has been
greatly improved since the early days of power-loom weaving by the greater
financial strength and security of the Unions. The history of the Burnley
weavers is instructive on this point. The Union dates from about 1870, and
started with a few hundred members on penny contributions. Numbers,
however, increased, in spite of some troubles and persecution from
individuals of the employing class. In 1878, Lancashire, as we have seen,
was involved in a great industrial struggle. The Burnley Society, on its
penny contributions, was unable adequately to sustain its members through
the crisis, and only survived the crisis after a very severe strain. It
was decided to adopt a sliding scale of payments and higher contributions,
with the result that a good reserve was established, and benefits were
granted on a higher scale. Considerable sums are paid not only in this,
but in other Unions for breakdown or stoppage of work from various causes,
such as fire, accident, or failure of trade, stoppage of machinery for
repairs, dissolution of partnership, etc. The weavers give benefit to
members losing work through scarcity of cotton, or waiting for wefts or
warps. Whether it is altogether wise from the tactical point of view for
trade associations to devote so much of their funds to provident purposes
of this nature is not a question I propose to discuss; the relevant point
is the economic security given to the worker. The following shows the
contributions graded according to benefit, and the benefit accruing either
for strikes brought on by the Society's action, or for stoppage of work at
the mill.

CHORLEY WEAVERS.

     Weekly Payments.            Benefits.
  1d. per week (Tenters).     1/6 per week.
  3d.     "                   7/6     "
  4d.     "                  11/      "
  5d.     "                  13/6     "
  6d.     "                  16/      "

The Weavers' Unions do not, as a rule, pay sick or maternity benefit save
under the Insurance Act. On the other hand, funeral benefit appears to be
the invariable custom, and disablement through accident also entitles
members to benefit. A penny per member per week is paid to the
Amalgamation towards a Central Strike Fund, the remainder of the
contributions being in the hands of the local branch.

       *       *       *       *       *

The unusual strength of this Union, combining men and women in a single
organisation, seems to be due in the first place to the increasing local
concentration of the industry. In towns where many large mills are placed
near together the ease and rapidity with which a secretary can call a
meeting is surprising. In the second place, it must be remembered that
the organisation of women has been of great importance to the men, the
women forming the majority of the workers. It has been worth the men's
while to consider the women, and so far at least as the economic position
is concerned, they have done it with considerable effectiveness. The
organisation is utterly dependent on the membership and solidarity of
women, and it has successfully safeguarded their economic interests, but
it has been built up mainly by the initiative and under the control of a
minority of men.

As a general rule, in spite of the exceptional success of the Weavers'
Unions in retaining the continued membership of women, the fact remains
that it is still unusual for women to be actively interested in the work
of organisation. As a general rule the women rarely attend meetings unless
they have a special grievance to be removed, and they seldom nominate one
of themselves for the Committee. There are places where no woman has ever
been nominated at all. This is a subject of regret and surprise, not only
to the secretaries, but to those women here and there who are themselves
keenly interested. These would fain see women representatives on the
Committee, and some proportion of women acting as secretaries and
collectors. Such women feel strongly that "we need the two points of
view," and it is disheartening and incomprehensible to them to find that
they cannot get their women friends to turn up at meetings and support the
nomination of a woman. There appears to be little ground for the
supposition that men would object to share their Committee labours with
women, and even if they did, it is obvious that in an industry where women
predominate, the latter could have no difficulty in packing the Committee
with their own representatives. In all these weavers' Unions the women
have precisely the same rights and privileges as men. All positions are
open to women, and women command a majority of votes. It is not the men's
fault that the management so often is mainly left in their hands.

If we enquire as to the reasons for this apathy among women-workers, a
great many can be given. One is the danger of victimisation, which may
fall very hardly on collectors and Committee members. Another is the
fatigue of the long day in the mill, the natural desire for a little
amusement, or the amount of house-work to be done. Lancashire women are
"house-proud" to an extraordinary degree, and cannot be satisfied without
a high standard of comfort in such matters as cleanliness, food, and
furniture. All this means work, and though the high wages current in the
cotton towns might seem to make it possible to pay for household help,
such help is not very easy to come by. Domestic service has hitherto been
demanded only by a limited class in the community, because very few
outside that class could afford to pay for it. A highly paid industry like
the cotton trade makes servants scarce, and anything like a general demand
for domestic help on a broad democratic scale could not possibly be
satisfied as things are now. Even help in washing is not easily had. So
the Lancashire woman or girl contrives to work her ten hours in the mill,
and come back to a second day's work in the evening, with such assistance
as may be given by the older members of the family. Lancashire is really
suffering from the service question in an acute form, so acute that it is
taken for granted it cannot be answered. A surprising part of the matter
is that a class of women so intelligent, so industrious, and
comparatively so well-paid, should not ere this have made a concerted
demand for better labour-saving devices in their houses.

But after all the domestic difficulty does not explain the whole problem
of woman's apathy and indifference in Trade Unions. Supposing the meeting
occurs only once a quarter, as in some places, house-work cannot be an
insuperable obstacle to attendance at such rare intervals. One weaver told
me she had been "bread-winner, nurse, and cleaner" at home, and yet had
found time to attend meetings. Probably the real explanation of the
attitude of women generally towards the Union is to be found in their
education and outlook. Lloyd Jones, in his life of Robert Owen, explained
the failure of the early co-operative societies by the fact that at that
time the working-class had no habit of association. The old forms had
gone; the new had been legally suppressed. Under the changed conditions of
modern life the working-class has had to evolve a new set of social habits
and a new code of social duty. The habit of association has developed more
slowly among women than among men, because to some extent it does
undeniably come in conflict with the traditional moralities of women. To a
great many women the idea of home duty means duty within the home; they
are only beginning to find out by slow degrees that their home is largely
dependent for its very existence on outside impersonal forces about which
it is incumbent on the home-maker to know something, even if she has to go
outside to get knowledge. The Weavers' Secretary, even in Lancashire,
still finds that "females are a deal more arduous to organise than males";
he supposes, because "they've been brought up to be different." They cost
more in collecting expenses, and the propensity of girls to get married,
to leave work or change their occupation is a constant source of anxiety.
"They are always on the move," and perpetual watchfulness is needed to
enrol the young ones as they enter the mill. Tact and diplomacy are
expended in inducing the women-workers to keep an eye on the younger
members, to bring them in as early in their industrial careers as
possible. Even such homely arguments as "it saves your money from stamps,"
are not disdained in the effort to persuade the women to use their own
personal influence to keep the flame alive. Small commissions are given to
a member of a Union who brings in a new member. But without commissions
women do a good deal of recruiting in the mills. The Lancashire cotton
Unions do not run themselves; their efficiency is very largely the result
of constant watchfulness and patient effort on the part of the officials,
backed up by the pluck, tenacity, and high standard of comfort of the
Lancashire woman herself.

A strong feeling, however, is now arising that there is a need for
organisation of women within the Union, to induce them to come out more,
to take more pains to understand the civic machinery of life which so
largely controls their work, their livelihood, and the possibilities of
health and strength both for themselves and their children. There is
always a splendid remnant in Lancashire who feel themselves to be
citizens; but a more general movement seems now to be beginning. This
movement is partly due to economic changes in the distribution of the
industry. Some mills nowadays employ scarcely any men. Such are mills or
sheds for ring-winding, cop-winding, reeling and beaming, occupations
exclusively appropriated to women. In such mills there will be a man
employed as overlooker, and a mechanic to repair or look after the
machines, and there is or should be a man or strong lad to carry the
"skips," But the industry itself is here carried on by women, and in such
cases women often develop powers hitherto latent for undertaking the
Committee work and management of the Union. The same thing happens in
districts where the demand for male labour in other occupations is
sufficiently urgent to draw men away from weaving altogether.

At Wigan the Committee is wholly staffed by women. At Stockport all but
the president, secretary, and one member are women. At Oldham about half
the Committee are women. In the largest centres of the industry things are
moving more slowly. In one very large and important Union the first woman
representative has recently been elected to the Committee. At Blackburn
two places on the Committee are now appropriated to the winders and
warpers, who are all women; this has the effect of reserving two places
exclusively for women. Here also the practice obtains of appointing a
worker in each mill as a representative of the Union, to keep the
secretary in touch with what is going on, and about twenty women, chosen
chiefly from the winders, now fill the post of mill representative. The
Insurance Act also has had the indirect effect of bringing in a certain
number of women as sick visitors or pay stewards. Women are thus gradually
being drawn forward, with results that indicate that custom is to blame
for their previous isolation, rather than any inherent incapacity or
unwillingness on their part.

There is a good deal that men might do to meet the women half-way. The
secretary may regretfully remark that the women members make no use of the
handsome institute and comfortable rooms that are at the disposal of all
members of a Union, but the women complain privately that there is no room
appropriated to their use. This is felt as a difficulty by women, while it
is unnoticed and unconsidered by men. However heartily one may agree that
men and women would be better for the opportunities of social intercourse
such as an institute provides, however much one may wish to see women
making use of its amenities yet, as a beginning, perhaps always, it would
obviously be advisable to set apart for them a sitting-room of their own.
Women would like to go in to look at the papers and so on, but are
deterred by the idea that they are not expected, or not wanted, or that
their appearance may cause surprise in the minds of their male colleagues.
"They did stare a bit, but they weren't a bit disagreeable," one woman
weaver remarked after having valiantly entered her own institute and read
her own magazines. Pioneers may do these doughty deeds; the average young
woman, even in Lancashire, is singularly shy in some ways, however much
the reverse she may appear in others. There is no doubt that social life
in England suffers from the unwholesome segregation of women from the
affairs of the community. They are too much cut off from the interests of
men, most of which ought rather to be the interests of human beings. The
beginnings of better things are now being made, but comradeship and
consideration on both sides are needed.

A movement for shorter hours is going on in the Cotton Operatives' Unions,
and has been sympathetically regarded for many years by the Women Factory
Inspectors, who realise the intensity of the work in cotton factories as
few outsiders can do. The actual operations of joining threads, removing
cops, replacing shuttles and so forth are not in themselves very
laborious. The strain occurs in the long hours the women are at work, most
of them having to stand all the time, and the close attention that has to
be given. Every broken thread means _pro tanto_ a stoppage of wages, and
eyes and fingers have to be constantly on the alert to see and do
instantly what is necessary. All this time, in most cases, the women are
on their feet; all this time, in many cases, breathing an unnaturally
heated air, sickened by the disagreeable smell of the oil and size, the
ceaseless din of machinery in their ears, dust and fluff continually ready
to invade the system. In recent years the increased speed has enormously
increased the strain of work. It would seem that here is a clear case for
shorter hours by law, but strange to say in practice some women are found
to be rather nervous about such a measure. I know one highly intelligent
girl who fears that shorter hours may mean increased speed, and thinks
that that would be "more than flesh and blood could bear." Others fear a
loss in earnings. These fears, however, are not shared by all, and after
considerable discussion with different persons, I incline to hope that
they are not justified. It is, of course, true that in the cotton trade
conditions are very different from those in certain trades where shorter
hours have resulted in an actual increase of output. The machinery is of
enormous value, and is already speeded up to such an extent that no great
increase of output on the present machines seems possible or thinkable. On
the other hand, there might quite possibly be a very much smaller deficit
on shorter hours than the uninitiated would expect. One result would
probably be a greater regularity of output through the day. Girls will own
that they literally cannot keep going all the time, that they are forced
to relax at intervals, and they add; "if we had shorter hours we should be
able to work right through." There are masters who think the early morning
hours' work is hardly worth the trouble. The Trade Union secretaries with
many years' knowledge and experience of the working of the Factory Acts
behind them, do not fear any permanent reduction of wages. A forty-eight
hours' week, or an eight hours' day would quite likely result in
diminished earnings for the first few weeks or months. But given time to
work itself out, it would regularise production and tend to smooth out
alternatives of "glut" and slack time. A second probable result would be
some increase in piece rates, and the workers would in no wise be worse
off. No doubt this change will meet with considerable resistance, but
judging by past history, it will probably not cause any permanent injury
to the interests of either labour or capital.

_Winders._--Winding is the process of running the yarn off the spinner's
cop on to a "winder's bobbin." There are two processes, "cop-winding" and
"ring-winding," the latter being a comparatively new process. The winders,
though included usually in the same unions with weavers, are far less
strongly organised. Neither process has as yet a uniform list, but the
cop-winders have lists which cover large areas. The ring-winders are still
less protected, and as a result they are underpaid.

Increasing discontent among the winders at Blackburn lately caused a
demand for direct representation on the Committee. The position is
curious, there being a woman winder and a warper now serving on the
Committee while the weavers, a larger and better paid body of women, are
represented only by men. Winding is said to be harder and worse paid than
weaving, and "driving" has been introduced in recent years. "If there is
one operative who earns the money she receives it is the winder."[27]
Nevertheless, there are some women who cannot stand the strain of weaving,
and take to winding. Further enquiry into this apparent inconsistency
elicited the fact that winding, although hard and monotonous work with its
continual removing cops and joining threads, is in some ways a less
continuous, unremitting strain than weaving.[28] Winders do not often work
on Saturday morning, and they may occasionally have short intervals of
rest. They also have the chance of promotion to be a warper, a post which
admits of much more sitting down than either of the other two, and is
consequently coveted.

The defective organisation of the winders appears to be due to the absence
of men among the ranks. The close community of interests which produced
the exceptional success of the Weavers' Union has been lacking, and the
winders appear to have been overlooked. Faults in quality or mistakes made
in the spinning-room are often credited to the winder, beamer or reeler.
It is, however, constantly pointed out in the reports of the Amalgamation
that they have the remedy in their own hands, and should organise more
strongly to get the advantages enjoyed by the weavers. The recent
awakening at Blackburn, indicated above, is a most hopeful sign. At
Stockport also, the secretary is making a special effort to organise the
winders, and at Padiham it has recently been proposed to give them special
representation on the Committee as at Blackburn.

_Card-room Operatives._--Unions of card- and blowing-room operatives began
to accept women members about 1870, or a little later. Women are now
organised in the same Union with men, and form about 90 per cent of the
workers. The work forms part of the process of preparing cotton for
spinning, and is heavy and dangerous in character. The conditions under
which, and the purposes for which, benefit is granted resemble those of
the weavers' Unions. The organisation of card-room operatives was greatly
improved from 1885 to 1890 or 1894, and may be now considered to have
reached a condition of comparative permanence and stability. The usual
complaint is, however, made that women are apathetic and take little
interest in Union affairs. This state of things is keenly regretted by the
secretary, who would gladly see women members on the Committee. The
difficulties in effective organisation of industries with so large a
proportion of young and irresponsible workers are seen in a recent report
of a card-room operatives' society. "Ring-room doffers are about the most
difficult class we have to deal with in the matter of keeping them
organised, and we can only assume, as most of them are young persons, that
it is mostly their parents who are to blame for this apparent
carelessness. So we appeal to the parents of this class of operative to
take a keener interest in the welfare of those for whom they are
responsible, and would remind them that the writer of this article well
remembers the time when this class of operative was looked upon as well
paid at 5s. 2d. per week, while at the present time the lowest wage paid
to our knowledge is 9s. 3d., an advance of 4s. 1d. per week. Surely the
few coppers required could easily be spared from this advance, and the
benefits returnable are as good an investment as it is possible to find."

Card-room operatives have usually been regarded as socially somewhat
inferior to the weavers, the work being more arduous and done in more
dangerous conditions and the women usually of a rougher class. It seems,
however, probable that this condition is changing. Card-room work is
becoming more popular as comparatively good wages come at an earlier age
than in weaving. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of
effective organisation to this class of workers. In its absence the large
proportion of women can be taken advantage of to lower conditions of work
all round. Closer co-operation with Unions of other classes of workers
might be very useful, especially on the question of speeding up. The
card-room operatives are speeded and "rushed," working under high
pressure, and at the same time the winder, beamer and warper complain of
bad cotton, and the weaver strikes on account of the same grievance.
Surely the remedy is obvious.

Ring-spinners are often included in the same Union with card-room
operatives, and quite recently a special effort has been made to improve
the organisation of ring-room workers. A "universal list" was obtained in
1912.[29]

_Other Workers._--Outside the cotton operatives there are a comparatively
small number of women organised with men in Unions of varying strength and
effectiveness. As regards linen and jute there is a Union at Dundee which
includes over 5000 women, but appears to have made little progress in
numbers in quite recent years. The secretary states that the majority of
women in the jute trade have very little conception of what Trade Unionism
really means, but that the same applies also to many of the men. He
considers that the women's outlook has become broadened within recent
years. There are some women now serving on the Committee, and the women
generally are reported to take a "fair amount of interest" in the work of
the society. The other Unions belonging to this industry are scattered
over Ireland and Scotland.

Wool and worsted is backward in organisation, both for men and women. The
Union at Huddersfield includes 4000 women, but a correspondent writes that
the General Union, which has branches in all the important textile centres
of the West Riding, in actual strength is scarcely one in ten of its
possible membership. The apathy of the women, in the Huddersfield district
at all events, cannot be due to poverty, for the subscriptions are low
while the women's average wage is high. Nor is it due to the temporary
nature of women's work, for in this district many continue work after
marriage. The Yorkshire women are said by one correspondent to take little
interest in public affairs in any way; by another, "not as much as they
should, but more than they used to do. It's a big work organising and
keeping women in. Marriage, flightiness, lack of vision, lack of help and
encouragement from fathers and brothers all tend to make it hard. The
lower the wages, the harder the task of making them into Unionists." The
difficulty of organising them is great, and outside Huddersfield they are
extremely badly paid--so badly, indeed, that in our correspondent's
opinion the trade needs to be scheduled under the Trade Boards Act. At
Bradford considerable efforts have been made from time to time to get the
women into the Union, but these have failed; and even during the last
boom, due to the flourishing state of trade and to the Insurance Act, very
little progress has been made.

The Clothing Unions are making rapid progress, including nearly 10,000
women in 1912, and the Trade Boards will assist the movement. In Leeds
there has been some natural indignation at the low minimum fixed, which
has impelled to organisation. The Unions follow the Lancashire pattern in
organising women along with men. The standard rate for women in the
Amalgamated Society of Clothiers operatives at Leeds is 4d. an hour, which
is held to be achieved if the piece rates yield as much to 70 per cent of
any section or grade of work. In the Boot and Shoe Unions a considerable
percentage increase was registered for 1910 to 1912, and the numbers
reached 8720 in the latter year.

Printing offers some of the most difficult problems connected with the
organisation of women.[30] Men in these trades have undeniably offered
serious obstacles to the inclusion of women. In 1886 a Conference of
Typographical Societies of the United Kingdom and of the Continent, held
in London, being "of the opinion that women are not physically capable of
performing the duties of a compositor," resolved to recommend their
admission to societies upon the same conditions as journeymen, to be paid
strictly the same rate. This resolution was adopted by the London Society
of Compositors, and it became practically impossible for a woman to join
the society, as women could not keep up to the standard and efficiency of
men. One woman joined in 1892, but subsequently left. The women were
practically excluded from the Compositors' Union by the fixing of equal
rates of pay. This was not so much discrimination against women because
they were women, as a demonstration against the black-leg competition of
the unskilled against the skilled. It is stated that women compositors are
regarded as so inferior to men that only among employers in a small way of
business, working with small capital, where low wages constitute an
advantage sufficient to counter-poise the lack of technical skill, can
they find employment. In 1894 a militant Union of women was organised, and
struck for increased wages and improved conditions, the women going out to
show their sympathy with the men, who had been locked out. In recognition
of the women's sympathy the men gave some help and support to this Union,
which, however, after increasing to 350 began to decline. It was
subsequently recognised as a branch of the Printers, Stationers, and
Warehousemen.

In the cigar trade, as in printing, it has to be owned that women came in
"not for doing more, but for asking less." Their labour was at first
employed chiefly for the less skilled branches, a small number only being
employed in skilled work; but in both divisions they worked for a lower
rate than men. It was not until 1887 that a Union for women was
established. They still, unfortunately, continued to undersell men, until
at last the men, who at first were hostile to their female competitors,
saw that it was hopeless to try and keep them out, and that for their own
sakes amalgamation was the wiser course. The adjustment of the wage-scale
was a problem of some delicacy. To raise the scale of women's wages to the
same as men's would probably have meant driving the women from the trade;
to leave them on the lower scale would mean that women would contrive to
undersell men. It was finally decided to take the highest existing rates
of pay for women as the basis of the women's Union rates. After the
Amalgamation had been achieved, women's wages rose 25 per cent, and the
recognised policy of the Union was to make advantageous terms with each
employer opening a new factory. Women are not, on the whole, such valuable
workers as are men; they are slower, and often do not remain very long in
the trade.[31] Lower rates of pay, as long as they are not permitted to
fall indefinitely, are a distinct advantage to women in getting and
keeping employment. The numbers in Unions in food and tobacco were only
2000 in 1910, and have since fallen slightly.

There are also a good many small Unions of women only, some of which are
affiliated to the Women's Trade Union League. The numbers of women
organised in the trades especially their own, such as dressmaking, the
needle trades, and domestic work, are disappointingly small. It has to be
remembered, however, that such occupations as these are still for the most
part carried on either in the employers' or the workers' homes. The
factory system has begun to make some way in dressmaking, but not to a
considerable extent. It is not surprising that the workers in these
industries are behind the factory workers in learning the lesson of
combination for mutual help and protection.

Unions in the lower grade industries, which till lately have been
unorganised, will be treated in a later section.

_The Women's Trade Union League._--The Society now known as the Women's
Trade Union League was founded mainly by the efforts of a remarkable woman
named Emma Smith, afterwards Mrs. Paterson (1848-1886). She was the
daughter of a schoolmaster and became the wife of a cabinet-maker. Her
life from the age of eighteen was devoted to endeavours on behalf of the
working class and especially of women. Being a woman of natural ability
and remarkable concentration of purpose, she succeeded in starting pioneer
work of a difficult and unusual kind. She was secretary for five years to
the Workmen's Club and Institute Union, and afterwards secretary to the
Women's Suffrage Association. She was the first woman admitted to the
Trade Union Congress, and attended its meetings from 1875 until 1886, with
the exception only of one year, in which her husband's last illness
prevented her attendance. Although the name of the League has been
altered, and its policy considerably widened and in some measure modified,
it is pleasant to note that it still keeps up a continuity of tradition
with Mrs. Paterson's Protective and Provident League. Her portrait, as
foundress, hangs upon the office wall, and the annual Reports are numbered
continuously from the start in 1875.

Sick benefit was the main feature of the propaganda initiated by the
League in its early years. The first society formed was for women employed
in the printing trade. The need of a provident fund had been badly felt
by these women during a trade depression three years previously, and there
was no provision for the admission of women as members of the men's
societies, even if women's wages had been (as they were not) sufficient to
pay the necessary subscription to the men's society. Mr. King, Secretary
of the London Consolidated Society of Bookbinders, however, promised to
support and assist the efforts to organise women in this trade. The appeal
for a separate organisation of women met with a ready response. Some
hundreds of women employed in folding, sewing, and other branches of the
bookbinding trade, attended the first meeting, held in August 1875; a
provisional committee was formed, and in October the society was formally
established with a subscription of 2d. per week, and an entrance fee of
1s. Its history, however, was uneventful. It refused to join with men in
making demands upon the employers, and its representatives at Trade Union
Congresses and elsewhere were imbued with Mrs. Paterson's prejudice
against the Factory Act, and resisted legal restrictions upon labour.
Employers have been known to urge the formation of "a good women's Union,"
on the ground that the fair-minded employer was detrimentally affected by
the "gross inequalities of price" that existed. The backwardness and
narrow views of the Women's Union were resented by the men, and in the
time of the eight hours agitation, 1891-1894, would not take part, and
there was considerable ill-feeling between the two sections. This society
was mainly a benefit club, and the same remark holds good of other early
societies established by the Women's Protective and Provident League,
which included societies for dressmakers, hat-makers, upholsterers, and
shirt- and collar-makers. The foundress, although a woman of unusual
energy and initiative, whose efforts for the uplifting of women-workers
should not be forgotten, was in some degree hampered by the narrow
individualism characteristic of what may be designated as the Right Wing
of the Women's Rights Movement. She was an opponent of factory legislation
for grown women, and did not lead the Unions under her control to attempt
any concerted measures for improving the conditions of their work. The
first Report of the League indicates her attitude in the remarks which she
reports (evidently with sympathy) from a Conference held in April 1875:
"It was agreed" (viz. at this Conference) "that any further reduction of
hours, if accompanied by a reduction of wages, _as it probably would be if
brought about by legislation_, would be objectionable." (Italics added.)
In the same Report (pp. 14-15) the writer, doubtless Mrs. Paterson
herself, sums up the advantages to be obtained for women through union.
The League is to be a "centre of combined efforts" to "improve the
industrial and social position of ... women"; it is "to acquire
information which will enable friends of the working classes to give a
more precise direction than at present to their offers of sympathy and
help. _Without interfering with the natural course of trade_, the
Societies will furnish machinery for regulating the supply of labour...."
(Italics added.) "The object of the League is to promote an _entente
cordiale_ between the labourer, the employer, and the consumer; and
revision of the contract between the labourer and employer is only
recommended in those cases in which its terms appear unreasonable and
unjust to the dispassionate third party, who pays the final price for the
manufactured goods and is certainly not interested in adding artificially
to their cost." No direct action for raising wages is suggested.

Delegates from three Women's Societies--shirt-makers, bookbinders, and
upholsterers--were admitted to the 8th Annual Trade Union Congress, held
at Glasgow, October 1875.[32] At the meeting of the T.U. Council in 1879,
five women representing Unions were not only present but took an active
part in the proceedings, successfully moving a resolution for additional
factory inspectors, and for the appointment as such of women as well as
men.

In 1877, the Amalgamated Society of Tailors having been asked by one of
its branches to resist the increasing employment of women in that trade,
resolved instead that the work of women should be recognised, and the
women organised and properly paid. The League was asked to co-operate in
forming a Union, and a Tailoresses' Union was subsequently formed. At
Brighton a Union of Laundresses was formed. Various other societies were
formed in these early years, many of which are now defunct.

Mrs. Paterson died in 1886, at the sadly early age of thirty-eight. During
the years following, the policy of the League was enlarged and developed
in a very considerable degree. Miss Clementina Black was secretary for a
few years, and her second Report (1888) contains interesting remarks on
the position of women: "All inquiry tends to show more and more that
disorganised labour is absolutely helpless; good wages, lessened hours,
better general conditions, and, on the whole, better workmanship prevail
in the trades that are most completely organised. It also tends to show
the injury done to men and women alike by the payment to women of
unfairly low wages.... Even in employments in which the work can be done
by women at least as well as by men, the wages of women are greatly
inferior to those of men. And in those branches in which superior
efficiency is shown by the male workers, the inferiority of the wages of
the female employees is altogether out of proportion to the difference in
the character of the work done by the two sexes. From this cause--the
payment of unfairly low wages to women simply because they are
women--arises a desire on the part of grasping employers to reduce the
wage-standard by engaging women in preference to men, while in many cases
the conditions of female employment are onerous and oppressive to an
extent which involves the greatest danger to health."

In 1889 the representation of the Society of Women Bookbinders at the
Trade Union Congress, held at Dundee, moved a resolution in favour of the
appointment of women factory inspectors, which was adopted. In the same
year, at the International Workers' Congress, held in Paris, the
representative of the London Women's Trade Council, Miss Edith Simcox,
moved the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the
representatives of all nationalities: "That the Workmen's Party in all
countries should pledge itself to promote the formation of trade
organisations among the workers of both sexes."

The policy of the League in regard to legislation was broadened. The
protection of women through the instrumentality of the Factory Act was no
longer resisted, but was recognised as a powerful force for good, to be
aided in its administration and developed whenever possible. The League
also indicated by the adoption of the title "Trade Union League," and by
gradually dropping the former style, "Protective and Provident," that it
was inaugurating a more active policy. As a matter of tactics the League
officials when appealed to for help in labour difficulties among
women-workers, always endeavour _first_ to get the matter settled by
negotiation; but direct action is now by no means excluded from their
programme, and strikes have been called in recent years, sometimes with
considerable success.

The W.T.U.L. is not a Union: it has no strike fund and pays no benefits.
It is an organisation to promote, foster, and develop the formation of
Unions among women. Any Union of women, or Union in which women members
are enrolled, can be affiliated to the W.T.U.L. All secretaries of
affiliated London Unions are _ex-officio_ members of the League Committee,
on which also are a certain number of members elected at the Annual
Meeting. The W.T.U.L. also enjoys the services of an Advisory Committee of
leading Trade Unionists, who are present at the Annual Meeting.

The officials of the League are a Chairman, a Secretary, two Official
Organisers, and an Honorary Treasurer. The League acts as the agent of
women Trade Unionists in making representations to Government authorities
or Parliamentary Committees in regard to the legislation required. Abuses
or grievances in particular industries are brought forward in the House of
Commons by members who are in touch with the League. Complaints of
breaches of the Factory and Workshop Acts can be sent to the League, and
are investigated by its officials and forwarded to the proper department.
A legal advice department also forms part of the League's functions, and
deals with such matters as the assessment of compensation, disputes with
Insurance Companies, deductions from wages, non-payment of wages, wrongful
dismissal, claims for wages in lieu of notice, and such cases. A few
instances, culled from recent Reports, will give an idea of the range and
complexity of these cases.

A worker in a sweet-factory was injured by the strap of the motor falling
on her head, and suffered from shock and chorea. The employers were
foreign, and it was with special difficulty that they were got to admit
that the accident had even happened. Being threatened with proceedings,
the matter was referred to their Insurance Company, who eventually paid
the full wages during incapacity.

In the slack season seven dressmakers' hands, some of whom had been three
years in employment, were dismissed without notice. The League's adviser
applied for a week's wage in lieu of notice for each worker. After some
correspondence the money owing was handed over. This last case is a sample
of many similar ones, and points to the urgent need of organisation in the
dressmaking trade.

A syrup boiler in a jam-factory slipped on the boards which, owing to
imperfect drainage, were slippery with syrup, and fractured her left arm.
Compensation was paid at the rate of 5s. 6d. a week.

The League has always been singularly successful in attracting the
sympathy, interest, and service of able and gifted helpers, both men and
women. It has been also happy in securing active co-operation with many
Trade Unions, and also with societies such as the British Section of the
International Association for Labour Legislation, and the Anti-Sweating
League, with both of which it is closely connected in work and sympathy.
No less than 170 societies--societies, that is to say, constituted wholly
or partly of women members--are now affiliated to the League. The most
recent activities of the League have been a campaign of instruction and
organisation to explain the provisions of the Insurance Act, and a special
effort of propaganda and organisation among the workers in some of the
low-grade and ill-paid industries now coming under the Trade Boards Act.

A comparison of the list of affiliated societies now appended to the
League's Report with the societies first enrolled shows not only, as would
be expected, a considerable widening of the field, but also a change in
character. Whereas the societies first formed were of women only, and in
London, nearly all the societies at present enrolled are mixed, and most
of them are not London societies at all. The great textile societies, the
weavers, winders, beamers, twisters, and drawers, card-room operatives,
and so forth, form the great majority of organised women; and in these,
women are organised either together with, or in close connection with,
men. Some of the largest are many years older than the League, but have
affiliated in comparatively recent years. There are also a vast number of
Unions of miscellaneous trades--tobacco, food, tailoring, etc.; and even
societies mainly masculine are affiliated, such as the London Dock and
General Workers' Union (including sixty women in 1910). Many Trade Unions
consisting wholly of men make donations to the League as a recognition of
the importance of its work in organising women.

In Manchester there are two societies to promote the organisation of
women-workers, which are doing excellent educational work in fostering the
habit or tradition of association among workers in miscellaneous trades,
many of which are totally unorganised and grievously underpaid. If we
compare these Manchester societies with the policy of the Women's Trade
Union League in London, a certain difference of outlook is perceptible.
The Manchester societies prefer organising women by and for themselves;
the Women's Trade Union League is in touch with the larger Labour Movement
and favours joint organisation wherever possible.

_The Movement among Unorganised Workers._--The "New Unionism for Women,"
if we may so term it, first attracted public attention in July 1888, when
a few scattered paragraphs found their way even into the dignified columns
of the _Times_. There was a strike among the match-girls in the East End.
Meetings were held, and next came the inevitable letters from the
employers, representing the admirable condition of their factory, the
desire of terrorised workers to return to work, the responsibility of
"agitators" for the strike. Then a small Committee of Inquiry was started,
its headquarters being at Toynbee Hall, and this Committee reported that
it found the girls' complaints to be largely justified. The piece rates
had been cut down on the introduction of machinery more than in proportion
to the saving of labour per unit produced. Vexatious charges for brushes
and excessive fines were imposed without reckoning or explanation. The
wages ranged upwards from 4s.--4s. to 6s. predominantly--and never
exceeded 13s.

Such were the charges, among others which were considered to be
substantiated by the investigations of the four social workers, who showed
their impartiality by the careful letter in which they reproduced the
explanations and defence of the employers. The Toynbee Hall Committee in
its third letter characterised the relation of employer and employed in
this factory to be deplorable, and the wages paid as so small as to be
insufficient to maintain a decent existence.

On the 16th, the _Times_ had a small paragraph describing the strike as
being "the result of the class-war which the body of Socialists have
brought into action." Subsequently the London Trades Council took up the
match-girls' cause, distributed strike pay to the amount of £150 among 650
boys, girls, and women, and formed a Committee of the girls to co-operate
with the London Trades Council. The employers agreed to receive a
deputation.

On Wednesday 18th July, the strike was declared to be at an end, after the
meeting of the first deputation from the L.T.C. and the match-girls'
representatives with the directors. The directors agreed to abolish fines
and the deductions complained of, to recognise an organised Trade Union
among the employees in order that grievances might be represented straight
to the heads instead of through the foreman, and to reinstate the workers
concerned in the strike. The extraordinary success of this strike appears
to have been due to the unusual steadiness and unity of the girls
themselves, to the able and tactful generalship of Mrs. Besant, and
largely also, of course, to the support of the London Trades Council.

As a result of this strike a Match-makers' Union was formed, and seems to
have lasted until 1903; but it subsequently disappears from the Women's
Trade Union League Reports, and is known no more.

About the time of the great Dock Strike, 1889, a concerted effort to
organise East End women-workers was made by Miss Clementina Black, Mrs.
Amie Hicks, and Miss Clara James. Mrs. Hicks had been in the habit of
meeting some of the women rope-makers in connexion with the parochial work
of St. Augustine's Church, and had observed that many of them had bandaged
hands and were suffering from injuries resulting from machinery accidents.
Inquiries made by her brought to light the fact that the women's wages
were only about 8s. to 10s. Disputes were frequent in the trade. Mrs.
Hicks determined to open her campaign of organisation with the
rope-makers, although she was warned that she would find them a rough,
wild and even desperate class of women. Nothing daunted, she called on
several, and invited them to a meeting. The supposed viragos said they
were afraid, and Mrs. Hicks advised them to come all together. A room was
hired, and about 90 to 100 women walked there in a body, a proceeding
which greatly alarmed the inhabitants, some of whom fled into their houses
and barred the doors. The meeting, however was successful. Nearly all the
women signed their names as members of a Union, and Mrs. Hicks became
their secretary, a post which she retained for ten years. It is recorded
that not one of the original members was lost to the Union otherwise than
by death, and that not one of them ever "said a rough word" to their
secretary.

Mrs. Hicks and Miss James, after making urgent representations, were
admitted to give evidence before the Labour Commission, which apparently
had not originally contemplated hearing women witnesses at all. Mrs. Hicks
was able to show that the conditions of the work were most unhealthy, the
air being full of dust, and no appliance provided to lay it. In some works
even elementary sanitary requirements were not provided. Cases were known
of the women being locked in the factory, and in at least one instance a
fire occurred which was fatal to the unfortunate women locked in. In spite
of these shocking conditions, however, many women refused to join the
Union for fear of victimisation and dismissal. As Mrs. Hicks put it, the
condition of the women was so bad in East London that an employer had only
to say he wanted some work done, fix his own rate of pay, and he would
always find women glad to take it.

Miss Clara James also gave evidence in regard to the Confectioners' Trade
Union. The Union was very weak in numbers, the women being afraid to join,
several, including the witness, having been dismissed for joining a Union.
In one factory six girls who had acted as collectors for the Union were
dismissed one after another, although the Union had never acted
offensively or used threats to the employer. In this trade the workers
were subjected to very bad sanitary conditions, rotting fruit, syrup,
etc., being left a week or more in proximity to the workrooms. Wages were
stated at from 7s. to 9s., 12s. being the highest and very unusual, but
even these low rates were subject to deductions and fines, and workers
might be dismissed without notice. In both these trades it will be evident
at once that the great need for women workers was to combine and stand
together, but owing to their poverty and dread of dismissal this was
precisely what it was most difficult for them to do. The frequent disputes
mentioned by both witnesses are, however, a sign that the traditional
docility of the woman-worker was even then beginning to give place to a
more militant spirit.

In other industries there have been many signs of activity in more recent
years. In October 1906 the ammunition workers at Edmonton struck against
a reduction of wages, and the matter being referred to arbitration, was
compromised in a manner fairly favourable to the workers, and other
concessions were subsequently secured. A Union was formed as a branch of
the National Federation of Women Workers, and this Union is still in
active existence. Members are entitled to strike pay and also have a sick
benefit fund in addition to the Insurance Act benefit, and a thrift
section. The secretary is a convinced believer in the value of
organisation to women, and thinks that women are beginning to appreciate
it themselves far more than formerly.

In 1907 Miss Macarthur succeeded in reorganising the Cradley Heath
chain-makers, whose Union, always feeble, had all but flickered out. The
making of small chains is an industry largely carried on by women in homes
or tiny workshops, and although the district does an enormous trade in the
world market, this had not prevented the local industry becoming almost a
proverb for sweating. The reorganisation of the Union, however, was
effected in the nick of time. The society was affiliated to the National
Federation of Women Workers, an association which has been formed in
co-operation with the W.T.U.L., to bring together the women in those
industries where no organisation already exists for them to join.

In 1909 the Trade Boards Act was passed, and the making of small chains
was one of the group of sweated trades first included under the Act. The
organisation which had already been started was now of great service in
facilitating the administration of the Act, the Women's Union being able
to choose the persons who should represent it on the Board. Subsequently
when the Board of Trade called a meeting to elect workers'
representatives, the candidates chosen by the Union were voted for by the
women with practical unanimity, and as the work of the Board progressed it
was possible at each stage to consult the workers and obtain their
approval for the action taken by their representatives in their name. In
the absence of effective organisation this would have been much more
difficult.

The history of the first determination of the chain-makers' Board forms
one of the most singular passages in industrial history. The Board,
constituted half of employers and half of employed, having got to work,
found itself compelled to fix a minimum wage which amounted to an increase
in many cases of 100 per cent, or even more. The previous wages had been
about 5s. or 6s., and the minimum wages per week, after allowing for
necessary outlay on forge and fuel, was fixed at 11s. 3d. Poor enough, we
may say. But so great an improvement was this to the workers themselves
that their comment is said to have been: "It is too good to be true." The
change did not take effect without considerable difficulties. The Trade
Boards Act provides that three months' notice of the prices fixed by the
Board shall be given, during which period complaints and objections may be
made either by workers or employers. At Cradley this waiting period was
abused by some of the employers to a considerable extent. Many of them
began to make chains for stock, and trade being dull at the time they were
able to accumulate heavy reserves. Thus the workers were faced with the
probability of a period of unemployment and starvation, in addition to
which a number of employers issued agreements which they asked the women
to sign, contracting out of the minimum wage for a further period of six
months. This was not contrary to the letter of the law, but was terribly
bitter to the poor workers, whose hopes, so near fulfilment, seemed likely
again to be long postponed. They came out on strike, and were supported by
the National Federation of Women Workers, in conjunction with the Trade
Union League and the Anti-Sweating League. A meeting was arranged between
the workers' representatives and the Manufacturers' Association, at which
the latter body undertook to recommend its members to pay the minimum rate
so long as the workers continued financial support to those women who
refused to work for less than the rates. This practically of course
amounted to a request from the employers that the workers' Trade Union
should protect them against non-associated employees. It has been remarked
that this agreement is probably unique in the annals of Trade Unionism.

After long consideration the workers agreed. An appeal for support was
made to the public, and met with so good a response that the women were
able to fight to a finish and returned to work victorious. Every employer
in the district finally signed the white list, and more recently the Board
has been able to improve upon its first award. The organisation has so far
been maintained. Thus a real improvement has been achieved in the
conditions of one of the most interesting, even picturesque of our
industries, though unfortunately also one of the most downtrodden and
oppressed.

No one who has ever visited Cradley can forget it. The impression produced
is ineffaceable. So much grime and dirt set in the midst of beautiful
moors and hills--so much human skill and industry left neglected, despised
and underpaid. The small chains are made by women who work in tiny sheds,
sometimes alone, sometimes with two or three others. Each is equipped with
a bellows on the left of the forge, worked by the left hand, a forge,
anvil, hammer, pincers, and one or two other tools. The chains are forged
link by link by sheer manual skill; there is no mechanical aid whatever,
and we understand that machines for chain-making have been tried, but have
never yet been successful. The operation is extremely ingenious and
dextrous, and where the women keep to the lighter kind of chains there
would be little objection to the work, if done for reasonable hours and
good pay. It is carried on under shelter, almost in the open air, and is
by no means as drearily monotonous as many kinds of factory work. On the
other hand, in practice the women are often liable to do work too heavy
for them, and the children are said to run serious risks of injury by
fire.

At the time of the present writer's visit, now about ten years ago, these
poor women were paid on an average about 5s. 6d. a week, and were working
long hours to get their necessary food. Most have achieved considerable
increases under the combined influence of organisation and the Trade
Board, and probably 11s. or 12s. is now about the average, while some are
getting half as much again. When the strike was over there was a
substantial remainder left over from the money subscribed to help the
strikers. The chain-makers did not divide the money among themselves, but
built a workers' Institute. Surely the dawn of such a spirit as this in
the minds of these hard-pressed people is something for England to be
proud of.

In August 1911 came a great uprising of underpaid workers, and among them
the women. The events of that month are still fresh in our memories;
perhaps their full significance will only be seen when the history of
these crowded years comes to be written. The tropical heat and sunshine of
that summer seemed to evoke new hopes and new desires in a class of
workers usually only too well described as "cheap and docile." The strike
of transport workers set going a movement which caught even the women. In
Bermondsey almost every factory employing women was emptied. Fifteen
thousand women came out spontaneously, and the National Federation of
Women Workers had the busiest fortnight known in its whole history of
seven years.

Among the industries thus unwontedly disturbed were the jam-making,
confectionery, capsule-making, tin box-making, cocoa-making, and some
others. In some of the factories the lives led by these girls are almost
indescribable. Many of them work ten and a half hours a day, pushed and
urged to utmost speed, carrying caldrons of boiling jam on slippery
floors, standing five hours at a time, and all this often for about 8s. a
week, out of which at least 6s. would be necessary for board and lodging
and fares. Most of them regarded the conditions of their lives as in the
main perfectly inevitable, came out on strike to ask only 6d. or 1s. more
wages and a quarter of an hour for tea, and could not formulate any more
ambitious demands. An appeal for public support was issued, and met with a
satisfactory response. The strike in several instances had an even
surprisingly good result. In one factory wages were raised from 11s. to
13s.; in others there was 1s. rise all round; in others of 2s. or 2s. 6d.,
even in some cases of 4s. In one case a graduated scale with a fixed
minimum of 4s. 7d. for beginners at fourteen years old, increasing up to
12s. 4d. at eighteen, was arranged. One may hope that the moral effect of
such an uprising is not wholly lost, even if the resulting organisations
are not stable; the employer has had his reminder, as a satirical observer
said in August 1911, "of the importance of labour as a factor in
production."

       *       *       *       *       *

Many women were enrolled in new branches of the National Federation of
Women Workers. Not all of these branches survive, but there was some
revival of Unionism in the winter, 1913-14, and many of the workers who
struck in 1911 will be included under the new Trade Boards.

Perhaps even more remarkable was the prolonged strike of the hollow-ware
workers in 1912. Hollow-ware, it may not be superfluous to remark, is the
making and enamelling of tin vessels of various kinds. This was once a
trade in which British makers held the continental markets almost without
rivalry; it was then chiefly confined to Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and
Bilston. But small masters moved out into the country in search of cheaper
labour, and settled themselves at Lye and Cradley, outside the area
protected by the men's Unions. In 1906 the Unions endeavoured to improve
conditions for the underpaid workers, and drew up a piece-work list of
minimum rates applicable to all the centres of the trade. But they had not
strength to fight for the list, and wages went down and down. As one
consequence, the quality of the work had deteriorated, shoddy goods were
sent abroad, and foreign competitors improved upon them.[33] This in turn
was used as an excuse for further driving down wages. The hollow-ware
trade, like chain manufacture, employs women as well as men. In 1912 many
of these women were working for a penny an hour, tinkering and soldering
buckets, kettles, pots and pans from early morning until night; at the
week-end taking home 6s. for their living.

It should also be remembered that some processes, especially the making of
bright frying-pans, entail serious risk of lead-poisoning. Galvanised
buckets are dipped in baths of acid, and the fumes are almost blinding,
and stop the breath of an unaccustomed visitor. The work done by women is
hard enough. But they did not take much notice of the hardness or of the
risk of industrial disease. Their preoccupation was a more serious one:
how to get their bread. Wages were rarely more than 7s. a week, and in
1912 a considerate and attentive visitor found their minds concentrated on
the great possibility of raising this to--12s.? 14s.? 15s.? What the
hollow-ware workers of Lye and Cradley had set their minds on was merely
10s. a week, and to attain this comparative affluence they were ready to
come out weeks and weeks on end. As a result of conferences between
representatives of the National Federation of Women Workers and twenty of
the principal employers, during the summer 1912, it was decided to demand
a minimum wage of 10s. for a fifty-four-hour week. Not, of course, that
the officials considered this a fair or adequate wage, but because they
hoped it would give the women a starting-point from which they could
advance in the future, and because, wretched as it seemed, it did in fact
represent a considerable increase for some of the women.

The best employers yielded at once, but several refused to adopt the terms
proposed. In October 840 men handed in their notices for a 10 per cent
increase of wages and a fifty-four-hour week. Twelve firms conceded these
terms at once, leaving 600 men still on strike against thirty-three firms.
As a result many women-workers were asked to do men's work, and it seemed
not unlikely that the men might be thus defeated. The National Federation
of Women Workers decided to call out the women to demand a 10s. minimum,
and at the same time support the men in their demands. All the women
called out received strike benefit. There was, however, another body of
women and girls, whose work stopped automatically because of the strike,
and these were not entitled to any strike pay. A public appeal was
therefore issued by the _Daily Citizen_ and also by the Women's Trade
Union League, and the response evoked was sufficient to tide the workers
over the crisis. The struggle ended with complete victory for the workers,
and as an indirect but most important result, the trade was scheduled for
inclusion in the Revisional Order under the Trade Boards Act.

In the North also the last two or three years have witnessed increased
activity in the organisation of underpaid trades. In the flax industry the
strike of a few general labourers employed in a certain mill resulted in
the locking out of 650 women flax-workers. Although the preparing and
spinning of flax is a skilled industry, the highest wage paid in the mill
to spinners was 11s. including bonus, reelers occasionally rising to 13s.,
and the common earnings of the other workers were from 7s. 6d. to 9s.
Several small strikes had taken place, but the women being unorganised
and without funds were repeatedly compelled to return to work on the old
terms. By the efforts of the Women's Trade Union Council of Manchester a
Union was now formed, and a demand made for an increase of 2s. all round.
With the help of public sympathy and financial support the women were able
to stand out, and after a lock-out of nearly three weeks a settlement was
arrived at under which the women got an increase of 1s. all round and the
bonus was rearranged more favourably for the workers. The whole of the
women involved in this dispute joined the Union.

A dispute in another flax mill was much more prolonged, and lasted for
over sixteen weeks. It was eventually arranged by the intervention of the
Board of Trade, and some concessions were obtained by the workers. In both
these disputes the men and women stood together. There is perhaps no
feature so hopeful in this "new unionism" of women, as the fact that women
are beginning to refuse to be used as the instruments for undercutting
rates and injuring the position of men.

Many other such efforts might be recorded did space permit. Many of them
do not unfortunately lead to stable forms of association. The difficulties
are enormous, the danger of victimisation by the employers is great, and
in the case of unskilled workers their places, as they know so well, are
easily filled from outside. A correspondent writes to me that "fear is the
root cause of lack of organisation." The odds against them are so great,
the hindrances to organisation and solidarity so tremendous, that the
instances recorded in which these low-grade workers do find heart to stand
together, putting sex jealousy and sex rivalry behind them, disregarding
their immediate needs for the larger hope, are all the more significant.
Several of the labourers' Unions now admit women, notably the Gas-Workers'
and General Labourers' Union and the Workers' Union.

_The National Federation of Women Workers._--The most important Union for
women among the ill-defined, less skilled classes of workers is the
National Federation of Women Workers, which owes its existence mainly to
the initiative and fostering care of the Women's Trade Union League. The
form of organisation preferred by the Women's Trade Union League in the
twentieth century is that men and women should wherever possible organise
together. This is the case with the firmly-established Lancashire weavers
and card-room operatives and with the progressive Shop Assistants' Union.
In the numerous trades, however, in which no Union for women exists, a new
effort and a new rallying centre have been found necessary. The National
Federation of Women Workers was formed in 1906 for the purpose of
organising women in miscellaneous trades not already organised. It has
made considerable progress in its few years of existence, and has a number
of branches in provincial and suburban places. The National Federation is
affiliated to the Trades Union Congress and to the General Federation of
Trade Unions, and insured in this last for strike pay at the rate of 5s.
per week per member. The branches are organised in different trades, have
local committees and local autonomy to a certain extent. Each branch
retains control of one-sixth of the member's entrance fee and
contribution, together with any voluntary contributions that may be raised
for its own purposes. The remainder of the funds go to a Central
Management Fund from which all strike and lock-out money is provided, and
a Central Provident Fund. Branches may not strike without the permission
of the Executive Council.

The National Federation of Women Workers has an Insurance Section in which
about 22,000 women were enrolled in 1913. At the time of writing a special
effort is being made for the organisation of women in those industries to
which the Trade Boards Act has recently been extended.

_Women's Unions in America._--In America women are fewer in numbers in the
Trade Union movement, but they have occupied a more prominent place in it
there than in our own country. The American labour movement may roughly be
dated from the year 1825. In that year the tailoresses of New York formed
a Union and went on strike, and from that time to the present women
wage-earners have constantly formed Unions and agitated for better pay and
conditions of work.

The first women to enter factory employment were native Americans, largely
New England girls, the daughters of farmers, girls who would naturally be
more independent and have a higher standard of comfort than the factory
hand in old countries. Several important strikes occurred among the
cotton-mill girls at Dover, New Hampshire, in 1828 and again in 1834, and
also at Lowell in 1834 and 1836. It does not appear that these strikes
resulted in any stable combinations.

Subsequently, between 1840 and 1860, a number of labour reform
associations were organised, chiefly among textile mill girls, but
including also representatives of various clothing trades. These societies
organised a number of successful strikes, increased wages, shortened the
working day, and also carried on a successful agitation for protective
legislation. The leader of the Lowell Union, Sarah Bagley, had worked for
ten years in New England cotton mills. She was the most prominent woman
labour leader of the period, and in 1845 became president of the Lowell
Female Labour Reform Association, which succeeded in obtaining thousands
of operatives' signatures to a petition for the ten hours' day.

The Female Industrial Association was organised in New York, 1845, a Union
not confined to any one trade but including representatives from
tailoresses, sempstresses, crimpers, book-folders and stitchers, etc.
Between 1860 and 1880 local branches were formed and temporary advantages
gained here and there by women cigar-makers, tailoresses and sempstresses,
umbrella sewers, cap-makers, textile workers, laundresses and others.
Women cigar-makers especially, who were at first brought into the trade in
large numbers as strike breakers, after a struggle were organised either
as members of men's Unions or in societies of their own, and once
organised "were as faithful to the principles of unionism as men." The
Umbrella Sewers' Union of New York gave Mrs. Paterson, then visiting
America, the idea of starting the movement for women's Unions in London.
The women shoemakers formed a national Union of their own, called the
Daughters of St. Crispin.

In this period there was little organisation among the women of the
textile mills, and the native American girls were to some extent ousted by
immigrants having a lower standard of life. There were, however, a number
of ill-organised strikes which for the most part failed.

In the war time the tailoresses and sempstresses, already suffering the
double pressure of long hours and low wages, had their condition
aggravated by the competition of the wives and widows of soldiers, who,
left alone and thrown into distress, were obliged to swell the market for
sewing work as the nearest field for unskilled workers. Efforts, however,
were made to form Trade Unions among the sewing women; many of these were
short-lived and unsuccessful. The growing tendency among men to realise
the importance of organising women is seen in a resolution passed by a
meeting of tailors in June 1865:

    RESOLVED that each and every member will make every effort necessary
    to induce the female operatives of the trade to join this association,
    inasmuch as thereby the best protection is secured for workers as well
    as for the female operatives.

In 1869 the International Typographical Union admitted women to equal
membership, after years of opposition, to the entrance of women into the
printing trade.

In 1873 and onwards Trade Unionism among women, as among workers
generally, suffered from the trade depression of those years. During this
period, however, a number of eight-hour leagues were formed, both of men
and women members, who found in the short-time idea a significant and
vital measure of reform. The Boston League (1869) was the first to admit
women. In this and other similar societies they served as officers and on
committees.

A remarkable organisation of female weavers was formed in Fall River in
January 1875. The Male Weavers' Union had voted to accept a reduction of
10 per cent; but the women called a meeting of their own, excluding all
men excepting reporters, and voted to strike against the reduction. The
male weavers, encouraged by their action, decided to join the movement.
Three thousand two hundred and fifteen strikers, male and female, were
supported by the Unions, and the strike was successful. Work was resumed
late in March.

From 1880 the organisation of women again progressed in the labour
movement of the Knights of Labour. For the first time in American Labour
history women found themselves encouraged to line up with men on equal
terms in a large general organisation. They could also form their own
Unions in alliance with the Knights of Labour, and almost every
considerable branch of women's industry was represented in these
organisations, the most prominent being the Daughters of St. Crispin
(shoe-workers). The first women's assembly under the Knights of Labour was
held in September 1881. From its first institution this association had
realised the necessity of including women. The preamble to this
constitution, adopted by the first national convention of the Knights of
Labour in January 1878, included on this subject two significant
provisions. One called for the prohibition of the employment of children
in workshops, mines and factories before attaining their fourteenth year.
The other gave as one of the principal objects of the order: "To secure
for both sexes equal pay for equal work." And the founder of the Order, at
the second national convention in 1879, asked for the formulation of an
emphatic utterance on the subject of equal pay for equal work. "Perfected
machinery," he said, "persistently seeks cheap labour and is supplied
mainly by women and children. Adult male labour is thus crowded out of
employ, and swells the ranks of the unemployed, or at least the
underpaid." The women not only demanded better wages but appealed for
protective legislation.

The numbers increased steadily till May 1886, when twenty-seven local
branches, entirely composed of women, were added in a month. But a decline
set in, and in the next following six years, the whole strength of female
Unionism under the Knights of Labour disappeared. It had probably never
exceeded 50,000.[34]

The policy of labour organisations generally has, however, considerably
developed in regard to the affiliation and membership of women. The
General Federation of Trade Unions, which formerly had been indifferent or
hostile to women-workers, had come to recognise even in the 'eighties that
women occupied a permanent place in industry, and that it was both
necessary and desirable that they should be organised. The position was
summarised in an article in the _Detroit Free Press_.[35]

    _An Equal Chance._

    Woman is now fairly established in the labour-market as the rival of
    man. Whether this is the normal condition of things is a point doubted
    by some political economists; but whether it be so or not, it is
    likely to remain the order of things practically for generations to
    come. This being so it must be accepted, and every fair-minded person
    must wish her to have an equal chance in the competition. A woman
    supporting her mother and little brothers and sisters is a very
    common spectacle; and the fact that Professor Somebody regards her as
    abnormal does not make her bread and butter any cheaper. She is
    entitled to at least as much sympathy as the man who supports a wife
    and children. For his charge, it must always be remembered, is
    voluntary--he took it on himself. She could not help her
    responsibilities; he assumed his of his own accord. It is therefore
    quite just that she should have an equal chance.

In more recent years the growth of industry and the increasing use of
mechanical power has constantly tended towards larger utilisation of
women's labour. The American Federation's declared policy is to unite the
labouring classes irrespective of colour, sex, nationality, or creed.
Unionism among working women has been promoted, women delegates have been
appointed to serve at the Convention, and local Unions of women have been
directly affiliated. Many national Unions, of course, are not directly
concerned with female labour, and a small number entirely forbid the
admission of women. Of these are the barbers, watch-case engravers, and
switchmen.

Moulders do not admit women, and penalise members who give instruction to
female workers in any branch. Core-making, for instance, employs some
women, and the Union seeks to restrict or minimise it. The operative
potters, upholsterers, and paper-makers admit women in certain branches
but not in others. The upholsterers admit them only as seamstresses. But
in all trades making these restrictions the number of women employed is
small, and the effect of the restrictions is probably insignificant. Other
Unions encourage the organisation of women-workers. In some of these men
predominate, as in the printers, cigar-makers, boot- and shoe-makers, and
women compete only in the lighter and less-skilled branches. In others
women predominate, as among the garment workers, textile workers, laundry,
glove, hat and cap workers. Some Unions make special concessions to women,
_e.g._ a smaller registration and dues, in order to induce them to join.
The motive for these concessions is clear, as the proportion of women to
men in these industries is much higher than the same proportion in the
Union.

In San Francisco the steam laundry workers have been organised with
considerable success. Down to 1900 the condition of these women was
extremely bad. "Living in" was the prevailing custom. The food and
accommodation were wretched in the extreme, the hours inhumanly long,
sometimes from 6 A.M. to midnight, wages eight to ten dollars a month for
workers living in, ten to twenty-five for other workers. An agitation was
started to give publicity to these facts, and an ordinance was passed to
prohibit work in laundries on Sundays or after 7 P.M. The ordinance was
not observed, however, and the girls formed a committee and complained to
the press. It was proposed to form a Union. Three hundred men employed in
the industry applied for a charter to the Laundry Workers' International
Union. The men did not wish to include girls as members, but the
International would not give the charter if women were excluded. On the
other hand, the women were timid and afraid of victimisation. One girl
with more courage or more initiative than the others, however, was chosen
to be organiser, and carried on her work secretly for about sixteen weeks
with extraordinary energy and effectiveness. Suddenly it came out that a
majority of employees in every laundry had joined the Union. They had
refrained from declaring themselves until they had a large and
influential membership, and then came out with a formal demand for shorter
hours, higher wages, and a change of system. Public sympathy was aroused,
and by April 1901 the conditions in the San Francisco laundries were
revolutionised. Boarding was abolished, wages were increased, hours
shortened to ten daily, with nine holidays a year. In more recent years
these capable organisers have succeeded in obtaining the eight hours day
by successive reductions of the working time.

In the same city an interesting case is recorded in which the girls in a
cracker (or biscuit) factory struck against over-pressure. The packers,
who had to receive and pack the crackers automatically fed into the bins
by machinery, found the work speeded up to such a degree that they could
not cope with it. Their complaints were received with apparent respect and
attention, but after a short interval the same speeding-up occurred again.
With some difficulty, many of the girls being Italian and speaking little
English, a Union was formed and affiliated to the Labour Council, whose
representative then approached the employers. The matter was settled by
arranging to have extra hands so as to meet the extra work occasioned by
speeding, and an arrangement was also made to allow each girl ten minutes'
interval for rest both in the morning and afternoon spell.

The Industrial Workers of the World, a Labour Society with a revolutionary
programme, has a large membership of unskilled workers, in textile and
other industries. It doubtless includes many women, for women took part in
a conflict with the city government of Spokane, Washington, over the
question of free speech, the city having attempted to prevent street
meetings. The workers were successful, but not without a severe struggle,
in the course of which 500 men and women went to jail, many of whom
adopted the hunger-strike.

In the great strike of textile workers in Lawrence, Mass., in 1912, a
remarkably spontaneous effort was made by the Polish women-weavers at the
Everett mill. The hours of work had been reduced by legislation from 56 to
54 per week, and the employees demanded that the same money should be paid
to them as before the change. In the Everett mill about 80 per cent of the
weavers were Poles. In one of the weave-rooms the Polish weavers, almost
all women, stopped their looms after receiving their money on January 11,
and tried to persuade the workers in some other sections of the mill to
come out with them.[36] The story of this strike shows that women are
fully capable of feeling the wave of class-consciousness that brings about
the development of what is called "New Unionism"; but probably the
difficulty of their taking a serious part in control and management is
even greater than in craft Unions. Information is, however, very scanty as
to the relation of women to the I.W.W., which in its literature is quite
as prone as the more aristocratic craft Union to ignore the part taken by
women in organisation.

In 1908, when the Bureau of Labour made its enquiry into the conditions of
women wage-earners in the U.S.A., the number of Unions containing ten or
more female members was 546, and the number of female members was only
63,989, estimated at only 2 per cent of the total membership of the
Unions.

The largest group of women Unionists are those engaged in the making of or
working at men's garments; these number over 17,000. The textile workers
came next with 6000; the boot and shoe workers, hat and cap workers, and
tobacco workers form three groups of over 5000 each.

This census, however, was taken at a most unfavourable moment, when many
Unions were suffering from the trade depression of the previous autumn and
winter. It is also true that the numbers in actual membership are not a
complete measure of the numbers under the direct influence and guidance of
the Unions. It has been found that the numbers of women ready to come out
on strike and enrol themselves in Unions or enforce a particular demand at
a particular moment are considerably in excess of the number normally
enlisted.

At the same time there is little use in denying that, speaking generally,
the results attained by women's organisations, after eighty or ninety
years of effort, are disappointing. Women's Unions in America have been
markedly ephemeral in character, usually organised in time of strikes, and
frequently disappearing after the settlement of the conflict that brought
them into being.

A great obstacle to the organisation of women is no doubt the temporary
character of their employment. The mass of women-workers are young, the
great majority being under twenty-five. The difficulty of organising a
body of young, heedless, and impatient persons is evident, especially in
the case of girls and women who do not usually consider themselves
permanently in industry. In the words of the Commissioner:

    To the organiser of women into Trade Unions is furnished all of the
    common obstacles familiar to the organiser of male wage-earners,
    including short-sighted individual self-interest, ignorance, poverty,
    indifference, and lack of co-operative training. But to the organisers
    of women is added another and most disconcerting problem. When men
    marry they usually become more definitely attached to the trade and to
    the community and to their labour Union. Women as a rule drop out of
    the trade and out of the Union when marriage takes them out of the
    struggle for economic independence.

Another great difficulty is the opposition of the employers. "Employers
commonly and most strenuously object to a Union among the women they
employ." When once an organisation has attained any size, strength, or
significance, the employers almost always set themselves to break it up,
and have usually succeeded. In Boston, for instance, a Union of some 800
members was broken up by the posting of a notice by the firm that its
employees must either join its own employers' Union or quit work. Some
employers look upon female labour as the natural resource in case of a
strike, as see the case quoted by Miss Abbott (_Women in Industry_, p.
206). There are reasons why employers object even more strongly to Unions
among women than among men. In a number of cases production is mainly
carried on by women and girls, only a few men being required to do work
requiring special strength and skill. In such instances the employers do
not particularly object to the organisation of their few men, whom, as
skilled workers, they would anyhow have to pay fairly well. But when it
comes to organising women and demanding for them higher wages and shorter
hours, the matter is much more serious.

The present unsatisfactory condition of women's Unions is, however, only
what might be expected in the early years of such a movement. Men's Unions
have all gone through a similar period of weak beginnings, and in America
there are special difficulties arising from the presence of masses of
unskilled or semi-skilled workers of different races and tongues, and
varying in their traditions and standard of life. There is much
encouragement to be derived from the fact that the leaders in men's
Unions, both national and local, now have more faith than formerly in
Unionism for women. The American Federation of Labour calls upon its
members to aid and encourage with all the means at their command the
organisation of women and girls, "so that they may learn the stern fact
that if they desire to achieve any improvement in their condition it must
be through their own self-assertion in the local Union." From 1903 onward
every Convention has favoured the appointment of women organisers. Women
also are developing a greater sense of comradeship with their fellows and
of solidarity with the Labour Movement generally. As we have seen, there
are now few Unions which discriminate against women in their
constitutions, and the universal Trade Union rule is "equal pay for equal
work for men and women."

Even the special condition of this instability in industry, the temporary
nature of women's work, which is so great an obstacle to organisation, is
thought to be changing. Within the last thirty or forty years, changes in
industrial and commercial methods have opened up numerous lines of
activity to women, in addition to the factory work, sewing and domestic
service, which used to be her main field: "marriage is coming to be looked
upon less and less as a woman's sole career, and at the same time the
attitude in regard to wage-earning after marriage is changing. The
tendency of these movements is to create an atmosphere of permanency and
professionalism for woman as a wage-earner, especially among women in the
better-paid occupations, which in time may markedly change her attitude
toward industrial life." Such a change of outlook and habits of mind must
doubtless be slow, but there are signs that it is in progress on both
sides of the Atlantic. The future of Unionism for women is therefore not
without hope, however unsatisfactory the immediate prospect may be. Miss
Matthews, the writer of an interesting study of women's Unions in San
Francisco, sums up her observations on the subject as follows:

    Experience in contesting for their rights in Union seems to have
    developed leaders among the Trade Union women. Wages, hours, and shop
    conditions have all shown the impress of the influence exerted by the
    organised action of the workers. But if wages, hours, and shop
    conditions did not enter into the question at all, still Trade
    Unionism among women would show its results in a higher moral tone
    made possible by the security which comes from the knowledge that
    there are friends who will protest in time of trouble and offer hope
    for better days; it would display its influence in a more awakened and
    trained intelligence; it would make evident its effort in a happier
    attitude towards the day's work, arising from the fact that the worker
    herself has studied her industry and has participated in determining
    the conditions under which she earns her livelihood.

In 1903-4 a Women's Trade Union League, on the lines of the organisation
of the same name in England, was formed, and is doing excellent work to
promote solidarity and union among women-workers.



CHAPTER IVA.

WOMEN IN UNIONS (_continued_).


_Women's Unions in Germany._[37]--In Germany the obstacles have been far
greater than in England. The relative prevalence of "Hausindustrie" and
the greater poverty stood in the way of women's organisation, and until a
few years back the law did not allow women to join political societies.
Women were not, it is true, prohibited from joining Trade Unions, but the
line between political and trade societies is not in practice always easy
to draw, and full membership of Unions has thus been often hindered.

The first Women's Unions were started in the early 'seventies of the last
century, by middle-class women who were also in the forefront of the
battle for the Suffrage. The authorities dissolved the societies.
Women-workers did not long maintain the alliance with the "Women's Rights"
Party. An independent organisation was formed, which greatly exceeded the
previous efforts in numbers and significance. The immediate impulse to the
formation of this Union was given by the proposal of the Government to put
a duty on sewing-thread, which would have been a great burden on the
needle-women who had to provide the thread. Three societies were formed,
the first being the "Verein zur Vertretung der Interessen der
Arbeiterinnen," which was followed by the "Nordverein der Berliner
Arbeiterinnen" and the "Fachverein der Mäntelnäherinnen," both of which
were founded and controlled by working women. Investigations of the wages
and conditions of working women were undertaken by these societies, in
consequence of which a debate in the Reichstag took place, followed by an
official enquiry into the wages of the women-workers in the manufacture of
underclothing and ready-made garments, which only confirmed the conclusion
already reached by private enquiry. The Truck Act was made more stringent,
in response to the working women's movement, but as a secondary result all
the societies were dissolved and the leaders prosecuted. The authorities
were taking fright at the increase in the Socialist vote and in the
membership of Trade Unions; and the Reichstag, under the tutelage of
Bismarck, in 1878 passed the notorious Anti-Socialist Law, under which not
only Socialist societies but even Trade Unions were harassed and
suppressed. During the twelve years in which the law was in force,
however, propaganda work was still carried on with heroic courage and
perseverance, and the solidarity and class-consciousness of the workers,
both men and women, was developed and strengthened by their natural
indignation against the persecution suffered.

The men's attitude towards the women-workers, which had been formerly
reactionary and sometimes hostile, gradually changed, partly because of
the energy and courage the women had shown, partly through a growing
recognition, which was intensified by the enormous increase in women
industrial workers shown in the Census Report, 1895, that exclusion of
women from the men's Unions could only exasperate industrial competition
in its worst form. In 1890 a Conference was held at Berlin at which the
Central Commission of German Trade Unions was founded, and its attitude
towards women was indicated by the fact that a woman was a member of its
Committee. Measures were taken that in the committees of societies which
excluded women from membership, resolutions should be proposed for an
alteration of rules, and in most cases these were adopted. Under their
guidance an agitation was set on foot to induce women to join Unions. Into
this agitation the women organisers put an energy, patience, and
self-sacrifice that is beyond praise. Now the German Free Unions ("freie
Gewerkschaften") are not identified with any political propaganda, and
cannot legally spend money for political purposes if they have members
under eighteen. But in practice they are largely led and controlled by
members of the Social Democratic Party, and thus it has happened that
working women, who were forced to abandon their own societies and to join
forces with the general Labour Movement, are now largely under the
influence and identified with the movement for social democracy. It is
incorrect to speak of the Unions as "Social Democratic Unions," and yet in
fact the two forces do work in harmony.

In the Labour Movement women found their natural allies. Their
co-operation secured men against "blackleg" competition, and on the other
hand the social democrats have worked for women. In 1877 they petitioned
for improvements in the working conditions of women, and in 1890, that
women should have votes for the industrial councils that were then under
consideration. Bebel's _Die Frau und der Sozialismus_ appeared about this
time, and made a profound sensation. In this work the relations of the
social question with the woman question were analysed. "Nothing but
economic freedom for woman," said Bebel, "could complete her political and
social emancipation."

In 1908 some of the remaining obstacles that impeded women from taking
part in political and trade societies were done away with by the Federal
Association law. The outstanding fact at the present time is the enormous
relative increase in the numbers of women Unionists. Frau Gnauck gives the
numbers in 1905 as 50,000 in the "Free" or social democratic Unions,
10,000 in the Christian. The figures for 1912, from the _German
Statistical Year-Book_, will be found at the end of the section.[38] It
will be observed that although, as with us, the largest group of organised
women is in the textile trades, the members are more generally
distributed, and the non-textile Unions show larger numbers, both
absolutely and relatively, than is the case in England.

The centralised Unions undoubtedly owe their origin chiefly to the Social
Democratic exertions, and are strongly class-conscious. They, however,
favour the view that it is the duty of the State to protect the workers by
legislation from excessive exploitation, and that it is the main business
of the Unions to achieve as far as possible immediate improvements in
wages and labour conditions. The comparative ease with which new Unions
have been built up and existing Unions amalgamated is very largely due to
Social Democratic influence. Before Trade Unions existed to any extent
worth mentioning, Lassalle's campaign for united action had taught the
workers that the engineer and his helper, the bricklayer and his labourer,
were of one class and had one supreme interest in common; that there was
only one working class, and varieties of calling and degrees of skill were
not the proper basis of organisation even for trade ends. The ideal no
doubt is one great Union of all workers, regardless of occupation. This is
in practice unattainable; but the Germans, in whom class-consciousness is
so strong, are reducing the Unions to the smallest possible number, and
are also linked closely together by means of the General Commission.

The General Commission of Trade Unions has its office in Berlin. It
publishes a weekly journal called a _Korrespondenzblatt_, containing
information of value to Trade Unionists and students of Trade Unionism.
Connected with the Commission is a secretariat for women, the work of
which is to promote organisation among women-workers. Still more recently
it has been arranged that each Union with any appreciable membership of
women should have a woman organiser. The rapid increase among women
members is an indication of the increasing interest taken by the women
themselves. Considerable diversity in the scale of contributions is one
characteristic--young persons, as well as women, being admitted members
along with adult males.

It is evident that the German form of organisation is much better
calculated to catch the weaker and less-skilled classes of workers than is
the more aristocratic and old-fashioned craft Union of our own country.
The Germans hold that the organisation of the unskilled labourer is as
important as that of the mechanic, and their great industrial combinations
include all men- and women-workers within the field of operations,
irrespective of their particular grade of skill. Endeavours are made to
enrol all workers in big effective organisations, and the success of these
tactics has been most significant. While in Germany two and a half million
workers are organised in forty-eight centralised Unions, all affiliated to
the General Commission as the national centre, in England there are more
than a thousand separate Unions with about the same total membership. In
England barely one million Unionists out of the two and a half belong to
the General Federation. These facts are not without bearing on the
position of women-workers. English working men complain of the competition
of women; the moral is, organise the women.

Another important field of Trade Union activity is in the education of
their members. There is a Trade Union School at Berlin supported entirely
by Trade Union funds and managed by Trade Unionists. Care is also taken
that members of Unions should be politically educated to understand their
rights and duties as citizens. Women-workers in all the "freie
Gewerkschaften" enjoy the same privileges as men, and are eligible for all
boards or elected bodies of their respective Unions. There are as yet,
however, only two Unions in Germany which have a woman president, and the
majority on the executives of the other Unions are men. This is not due to
opposition by men, or to rules impeding the appointment of women on these
bodies, but rather to the indifference of many women-workers, who, as in
England, fail to interest themselves in the affairs of their Unions. This
lack of enthusiasm on the part of women is ascribed to their position in
the home and to the difficulty that they have in combining household work
with wage-work, and at the same time retaining any leisure or energy to
concern themselves with Union matters.

Contributions and benefits are usually somewhat lower than in the case of
men, because women's earnings are usually less. Five national Unions have,
however, adopted the principle of equal scales for men and women. In these
cases the amount of contribution varies according to the wages earned, and
benefits are graduated to prevent the risk of women becoming a greater
burden on the funds than men.

It is a patent fact that the number of organised women-workers is very
small when compared with men in the same organisation, but the relative
increase is great, and the spirit of association is said to be gaining a
strong hold on women. The fact that so many German women continue work
after marriage is said to be one cause of the increasing interest taken in
Unions, their position as wage-earners being not merely a temporary one,
to be abandoned in a few years' time.

The "Christian" Trade Unions contain no very large numbers of women
compared to the "free" societies. They were also considerably later in
coming into existence, and appear, though ostensibly non-political, to be
largely due to reactionary political influences, and organised in
opposition to the Socialist party. The Home Workers' Union is mainly
philanthropic and controlled by ladies. The Christian Unions have
enemies on both sides, as they are naturally regarded with considerable
suspicion by the "Free" or "Central" Unions, but nevertheless are
also disapproved of by the authorities of the Catholic Church. The
Christian Unions started with the aim of being inter-denominational
("interkonfessionelle"), including Protestants as well as Catholics, and a
considerable degree of sympathy with labour was combined with their mainly
reactionary propaganda; they even considered strikes a possible and
ultimate resource, although they desired to avoid them. In many cases,
pressed forward perhaps by the rank and file, they have co-operated with
the "Free" Unions, who are so much stronger in numbers and finance than
themselves. These tendencies excited the displeasure of the strict
Catholic body, and not only the German Bishops, but the Pope himself, have
shown hostility to the Christian Unions, which have thus been rent by
internal dissensions. Catholic Unions of a strictly denominational type
have been formed in opposition to the inter-denominational Christian
Unions, and though the former are of little importance as organisations,
they no doubt have some effect in weakening the body from which they have
branched off. However that may be, the numbers in the Christian Unions,
though showing a considerable percentage increase, are insignificant
compared to the large "Free" Unions. In quite recent years the Christian
Unions have lent themselves to strike-breaking and are becoming
discredited in the labour world. The Hirsch-Duncker Unions have only a
very small number of women members, and are of little importance for the
women's labour movement. These Unions were founded and are partly
controlled by middle-class Liberals.

It may be interesting here briefly to compare the views of two
distinguished German women writers on the question of Trade Unionism for
women. Frau Braun, writing in 1901, says that the development of the
great industry is the force that impelled men to combine successfully
together, but industrially women are about a century behind men, and
before they can be successfully organised, home-work must be repressed in
every form, and women's work must develop into factory industry much more
completely than it has yet done. Home-work tends to perpetuate the
dependence of women, enabling the home-keeping wife or daughter to carry
on a bye-industry, and is therefore an evil. Again, the poverty of women
is a great obstacle to their organisation. Economic history shows that
well-paid workers organise more quickly and effectively than those who are
isolated, oppressed and degraded. Women-workers most urgently need to be
enlightened, but this cannot happen until they have been lifted out of the
intense pressure of physical need; they must be given time to read, to
follow the news of the day, to get beyond the horizon of their own four
walls. This cannot be attained by Trade Union action alone. Legislative
measures must be taken for the relief of the women-workers. English
history shows that Lancashire women weavers before the Factory Act were as
incapable of organisation, as easy a prey to the exploiter of their work,
as the majority of women-workers are to-day. It was only after the law had
restricted their hours of work that they began to organise in Trade Unions
and Co-operative Societies.

In Frau Braun's opinion women-workers will lose more than they gain by
adopting the style of the women's movement in the bourgeois sense. Save
where absolutely necessary, organisation for women only is a source of
weakness to the women-workers' movement. The numerous societies for
women-workers' education, the independent Socialist women's congresses,
and especially the women's Unions promoted by the advocates of "women's
rights," all these are dangerous.

A working woman's movement fully conscious of its aims and principles will
permit this class of organisation only in the case of Unions for trades
exclusively feminine, or of educational clubs or institutes when no other
is accessible to women-workers. In principle they should all be avoided,
for they can only confuse the issue, and exaggerate the one-sided feminist
point of view which leaves out of account the class solidarity of workers
and women-workers, the indispensable condition of any successful effort by
the proletariat. And it follows from this point of view that co-operation
with the bourgeois woman's movement should be refused, whether in the form
of admission to "bourgeois" women's societies or the inclusion of
"bourgeois" advocates of women's rights in women-workers' societies. Both
England and France, Frau Braun thinks, offer examples of the reactionary
effect of such co-operation; the numberless work-girls' clubs, holiday
homes and the like, managed by ladies of the upper and middle classes in
England are one cause of the political backwardness of the English working
women. Co-operation is too apt to degenerate into tutelage. The German
women's movement has steadily refused any co-operation with the bourgeois
movement, because it recognises the complete divergence of principle lying
at the back of the two movements, and the difference of standpoint as well
as of aim.

Not that every Socialist is sound on the woman question! Far from it. Frau
Braun recognises that in many a Social democrat there lurks the old
reactionary philistine feeling about woman: "Tout pour la femme, mais
rien avec elle." The increase of women's employment has considerably
shaken this conviction in the Trade Unions, because the organisation of
women is seen more and more to be a condition of their very existence. But
more than this, they need to recognise the vast importance of educating,
enlightening the working woman, binding her closer and closer to the
Socialist cause. Women have the future destiny of men in their hands. They
mould and shape the character of the children. If Socialism can gain the
women, it will have the future with it. To bring the women into closer
community with the labour movement, to translate their paper equality into
living fact, is no fantastic dream; it is part of the obligation of the
modern "knights of labour" in the interest of themselves and their cause.

Frau E. Gnauck-Kühne writes in sympathy with the Catholic Unions of the
older type, viz. the "Interkonfessionelle." Like Frau Braun, she greatly
prefers organisation for working women along with men to separate Unions.
Separate organisations, she remarks, require double staff, double expenses
of book-keeping, finance and secretarial arrangements, and are more
costly, not to mention that the women's wages are so low, the
contributions they can make are so small that a sound and effective Union
of women only is scarcely possible. Frau Gnauck lays stress on the
psychological difficulties of organising women. For ages men have been
accustomed to work in common, to subject themselves to discipline; their
work brings them into relation with their fellows of the same calling,
with their equals. The traditional work of women, on the contrary, has
kept them in isolation; the private household was, and is still, a little
world in itself, and in this world the woman has no peers--she has as
housewife no relation to other housewives, and there is nothing to connect
her work at home with the outside world or public matters. She is very
slow to perceive the advantages of new methods, labour-saving devices,
co-operation and so forth, which might so greatly lessen domestic toil if
intelligently applied. With a certain sly humour Frau Gnauck points out
that the housewife has no expert criticism to undergo, for her husband is
often out the whole day, and understands nothing of housekeeping or the
care of children if he were at home. The housewife as worker (not, be it
observed, as wife) is in the position of an absolute ruler; she has no
one's opinion to consider but her own, no inspection or control to regard;
she is a law unto herself. This habit of mind is not calculated to fit
woman for combined action; rather does it tend to promote individualism
and a lack of discipline, which hinders concerted effort in small things
or in great. This is not to deny that many women are capable of the
greatest devotion and sacrifice, even to the point of self-annihilation.
The loftiest courage for personal action and self-sacrifice, as Frau
Gnauck keenly remarks, is nevertheless in its way an emphasis of
individual will and action, a heightening of self, even though for
unselfish ends. Concerted action demands a surrender of individuality, the
power to find oneself in the ranks with one's equals. Men are better
trained for this kind of corporate action than women normally are. The
older women are too much burdened, and continually oppressed with the
thought of meeting the week's expenses, the young ones are indifferent
because they expect to get married.

Frau Gnauck, however, refuses to despair even of organising the
woman-worker. We must, she says, put ourselves in her place; we must
realise that as no man can see over his horizon, we must bring something
that the woman worker _can_ see over her horizon, something that will
strike her imagination, something that will build a bridge from her over
to those large ideas, "class-interest," "general good," which so far she
has neither time, spirit, nor money enough to understand. She must be
drawn at first by the prospect of some small but concrete improvement in
her own condition, which will make it seem worth while to give the time
and money that the Union wants. Appeal to the feeling all women have for a
home of their own. Explain to them in simple language that the Union would
prevent underbidding and undercutting, and thus raise men's wages. More
men could marry on these higher wages, married women need not go to work,
and both the single woman and the married would benefit.

Frau Gnauck is in agreement with Frau Braun as to the advisability of
common organisation, for if the women cannot join the men's Unions, they
are helpless, and if they form a Union of their own, they will probably be
too weak to avoid being played off against the men. She takes, on the
other hand, a much more favourable view than Frau Braun of the various
philanthropic clubs and societies formed by women of a superior class.
These organisations do not of course do anything to improve the economic
position, they cannot in any way take the place of Trade Unions, but they
provide a kind of preparatory stage, a training in association, an
opportunity for discussion, and in the present circumstances, with the
isolated condition in which working women and girls so often have to live,
all these experiences are a means of development and an educational help
to more serious organisation later on. This is borne out by Dr.
Erdmann,[39] who, whilst opposed to the Catholic Unions as reactionary,
admits that even in these Unions the workers soon begin to feel the need
of Trade Union organisations, and often end by joining the Socialist
Union.

NUMBERS OF WOMEN IN UNIONS--GERMANY.

  +--------------------------------------------------------------+
  |   Largest Occupation Groups.    | Number.| Per cent of Total.|
  |---------------------------------|--------|-------------------|
  |   FREIE GEWERKSCHAFTEN.         |        |                   |
  |    (Total women, 216,462.)      |        |                   |
  |Textile workers                  | 53,363 |       24·6        |
  |Metal                            | 26,848 |       12·4        |
  |Factory workers                  | 25,146 |       11·6        |
  |Tobacco                          | 17,918 |        8·2        |
  |Bookbinders                      | 15,979 |        7·4        |
  |   CHRISTIAN UNIONS.             |        |                   |
  |    (Total women, 28,008.)       |        |                   |
  |Textile workers                  | 12,811 |       45·7        |
  |Home workers                     |  8,188 |       29·2        |
  |Tobacco                          |  3,088 |       11·0        |
  |   HIRSCH-DUNCKER UNIONS.        |        |                   |
  |    (Total women, 4950.)         |        |                   |
  |Textile workers                  |  1,880 |       38·0        |
  +--------------------------------------------------------------+

_The Outlook._--It will be seen from the preceding chapter and section
that a general view of women in Unions presents a somewhat ambiguous and
contradictory picture. In one industry, cotton, there are in England two
large Unions of remarkable strength and effectiveness, in which women are
organised with men, and form a majority of the Union. The women cotton
weavers and card-room operatives form nearly 70 per cent of all the
organised women. In the other textile industries, in the clothing trades,
and some others, a comparatively small number of women are organised,
either with men, or in branches closely in touch with the men's Unions,
but these Unions are of various degrees of strength, and in no case
include a large proportion of the women employed. There are also some
women organised in Unions of general labourers and workers, and their
numbers have increased rapidly in the last few years, but are not as yet
considerable. We also find many small Unions of women only in various
occupations, but it is a curious fact that women have so far evolved very
little organisation in their most characteristic occupations such as
domestic service, nursing, dressmaking and millinery. Unions of some kind
in these occupations are not unknown, but they are quite inconsiderable in
comparison with the numbers employed. Yet the strategic position of the
workers in some of these occupations is in some respects strong. A fairly
well-organised strike of London milliners in the first week in May, or of
hotel servants and waitresses along the south coast, say about the last
week in July, would probably be irresistible. The same applies to women in
certain factory processes when the work is a monopoly of women and cannot
be done by men's fingers. Paper-sorting is a typical instance; a
paper-sorters' strike just before the Christmas present season might be
highly effective. In such occupations as these, nevertheless, Unionism is
mostly conspicuous by its absence.

There is little use in denying that there are special difficulties in the
way of the organisation of women. The old difficulty of the hostility of
men Unionists is largely a thing of the past, but many others remain.
There are difficulties from hostility and indifference on the part of the
employers; long hours of work; family ties and duties; educational
deficiencies among working women themselves, and the intellectual and
moral effects that result from ignorance. An immense difficulty is the low
rate of wages characteristic of so many women's employments, which makes
it impossible in most cases to pay contributions sufficient for adequate
benefit during a strike. Competition is another difficulty, especially in
low-grade and unspecialised trades, where places can easily be filled.
There is the constant dread among workers of this class and low-grade home
workers that, if they attempt any resistance, some other woman will go
behind them and take the work for still less wages. Even collecting
contributions is often a considerable difficulty; if it is done at the
factory it may subject the collector to disfavour and victimisation; if
not, the labour is very considerable. Another great difficulty in
organising women is the prospect of marriage. A girl looks upon her
industrial career as merely a transition stage to getting married and
having a home of her own. This need not in itself hinder her being a "good
trade unionist," for after all the industrial career of a girl, beginning
at twelve, thirteen, or fourteen, may well be eight or ten years long,
even if she marries young, but it no doubt does tend to deflect her
energies and sentiment from Unionism. The prospect of marriage, which to a
young man is a steadying influence, making for thrift and for the
strengthening of his class by solidarity and corporate action, is to a
young girl a distraction from industrial efficiency, an element of
uncertainty and disturbance.

Again, the position of women renders them especially amenable to social
influences. Social differences between different grades of workers keep
them apart from one another and make combination difficult. Women are more
susceptible than men to the influence of their social superiors. In the
past, and even in the present, though less than formerly, no doubt, the
influence of upper class women has been and is used against the Trade
Union spirit. Charity and philanthropy have tended to counterbalance the
forces that have been drawing the working class together. Miss Collet
found in investigating for the Labour Commission that the homes and
hostels for the working girls run by religious and benevolent societies
had an atmosphere unfavourable to Trade Unionism, and influenced the girls
to look coldly on agitation for improved material conditions. Lack of
public spirit is, in short, the great difficulty with women. Their
economic position, their training and education, the influence of the
classes considered superior, above all perhaps the pressure of custom and
tradition, all these have combined to prevent or postpone corporate action
and class solidarity.

Must we admit that women are inherently incapable of organisation, which
by a kind of miracle or chance has been achieved successfully in one
district and in one industry only? A further consideration of the Board of
Trade figures gives a rather different complexion to the matter.

In the building, mining, metal and transport trades there are practically
no women unionists, but with the exception of metal there are only a very
few women employed in these trades at all. In the other non-textile
trades the proportion of women organised is very small, and the proportion
of organised women to organised men is also small. But it happens that in
most of these trades the women employed are also few compared with the
men, and the men themselves are not strongly organised. In the woollen and
worsted trade organisation is not strong for either sex. In cotton alone
do we get a really strong organisation of both men and women. It begins to
dawn upon us at this point that the weak organisation of women is after
all part and parcel of the general problem of organisation in those
trades. No doubt it is an extremer and specially difficult form of the
problem. But on the whole, with the exception of the metal trades, it
holds good that where women are employed together with men, they are
strongly organised where men are strongly organised, weak where men are
weak. Even in metal trades the exceptions are more apparent than real. The
strong Unions are in branches of work that women do not do; and a glance
down the list of those metal workers who make the small wares and fittings
in which women's employment is increasing does not reveal any great
strength of male Unionism, except perhaps in the brass-workers, who
exceeded 7000 in 1910. Directly we realise this intimate connexion of
women's unionism with the Labour Movement as a whole, a light is thrown on
many puzzling discrepancies.

In the case of women there have been in the last forty years or so two
tendencies at work. One is towards the sporadic growth of small
unco-ordinated Unions of women only. Financially weak and in some cases
governed by a retrograde policy, numbers of such Unions spring up and die
down again. A few achieve some measure of success, and occasionally a
very small Union will show a very considerable degree of persistence and
vitality without perceptible increase of numbers. Occasionally such Unions
are competing with mixed Unions in the same occupation, each of course
regarding the other as the intruder. It matters very little who is to be
blamed for the overlapping. The only important thing is to recognise that
such tactics mean playing into the enemy's hands, with disastrous results
for labour. Apart from such unfortunate instances, it would be foolish to
deny that the small Unions of women only have provisionally at least a
considerable usefulness. The women must be roped in somehow, and even the
most precarious organisation may have a distinct educational value in
evoking in its members the germ of a sense of class-solidarity and
membership with their fellows. I am almost tempted to say that any force
that brings women consciously into association with aims higher than petty
and personal ones is ultimately for good, however destructive it may seem
to be in some of its manifestations.

The other tendency is towards the organisation of women either jointly
with men or in close connexion with men's Unions. In these cases there
have been many failures and some successes. The question of adjustment is
highly complicated, and cannot be settled on broad lines as with the
cotton weavers. "Equal pay for equal work" is not a ready-made solution
for all difficulties, for the work is very often not equal at all. In most
cases it is absolutely distinct, and in many there is a troublesome margin
where the work of men and women is very nearly the same but not quite.

The men often regard women as unscrupulous competitors, and though they
have mostly abandoned the old policy of excluding women, they are apt to
try and organise them from their own point of view, without regard to the
women's special interests. Rough measures of this kind only give a further
impulse to schism, confusion and bitterness. At present undeniably there
is here and there a good deal of ill-feeling, especially in districts like
Manchester or Liverpool, with a number of ill-organised, ill-paid trades,
and competing unco-ordinated Unions.

If Trade Unionism is to be effective, if membership is to be co-extensive
with the trade and compulsory, as in the future we hope it will, there is
no question that better methods are needed, greater centralisation, a more
carefully thought-out policy, to avoid the present waste and competition.

It is not so much a change of heart as a coherent policy that is needed.
The organisation of women has been taken up merely where it was obviously
and pressingly needful, in order to safeguard the interests of the men
immediately concerned. In the case of the cotton weavers, an altogether
special and peculiar class, the problem was comparatively simple. It was
of vital importance to the men to get the women in, and on the other hand,
the men could do for the women a great deal which at that stage of social
development and opinion the women could not possibly have done for
themselves. The cotton weavers exhibit an interlocking of interests, so
patent and unmistakable that it was not only perceived but acted upon. The
card-room operatives lagged behind for a time, the organisation of women
being not quite so evident and apparent a necessity, but they have now
almost overtaken the weavers. In other industries the problem is more
complicated and has taken much longer to grasp. Take the interesting and
suggestive industry of paper-making. How is the strongly organised,
highly-paid paper-maker to realise that it matters very much that women
should be organised in his trade? His daughter may earn pocket-money at
paper-sorting, but merely as a temporary employment. She will marry a
respectable artisan and abandon work on marriage. The rag-cutters, on the
other hand, belong to an altogether different class, being usually wives
or widows of labourers. There is not enough class feeling to bind together
such different groups. It is true enough that the problem of labour is a
problem of class-solidarity, and that the women must in no wise be left
out. "Whoever can help to strengthen Trade Unionism among women workers
will be conferring a benefit on more than the women themselves."[40] But
the depth and truth of this statement is by no means fully realised, and
in many cases women have little chance of being organised by the men of
their own trade. As Mr. Cole has told us, the weakness of British labour
is the lack of central control and direction.

Outside the special case of the skilled workers in cotton, the
organisation of women becomes more and more a question, not of craft, but
of class. This is seen in the different form and type of organisation
demanded by the "new unionism." The cotton weavers need in their secretary
before all things the closest and minutest acquaintance with the technical
mysteries of the craft. The secretary of a modern labour Union including
all sorts of heterogeneous workers cannot possibly possess intimate
technical knowledge of each. Personality, power of speech, the force and
warmth of character that can draw together oppressed and neglected workers
and make them feel themselves one, these are the elementary gifts needed
to start a workers' Union, whether of men, women, or both together. But
also if such a body is to be kept together and do effective work, it is
especially in the "new unionism" that the need of central control and
direction is felt. A national policy must take into consideration the
needs of women and harmonise their interests with those of men. The
success of the Women's Trade Union League is very largely due, not merely
to the personality of its leaders, though no doubt that has been a
considerable asset, but to the fact that it has a national policy and a
definite aim.

Frau Braun eleven years ago saw that the labour woman ran some danger of
being caught into the feminist movement and withdrawn from her natural
place as an integral part of the Labour Movement itself. It is to be hoped
that she has followed English social history in the interval with
sufficient closeness to be aware of the far-sighted statesmanship shown by
the leaders of the Trade Union League in avoiding such a pitfall.

However unsatisfactory and inadequate the organisation of women has been
and still is, a review of the situation does not suggest any inherent
incapacity of women for corporate action. In the cotton weavers'
societies, although the main responsibility for organisation has rested on
men's shoulders, yet the women and girls have consistently paid
contributions amounting now to a relatively high figure, and they have
constantly aided in the work of recruiting new members. Experience is now
showing that in certain districts where the industry is becoming more and
more a woman's trade, the women have not been lacking in capacity to take
over the work of managing the Union's affairs. The absence of women from
the Committee of so many weavers' Unions at the present day is due to
inertia and long surviving habit rather than to any real incapacity. In
the recent ballot on the question of political action, the enormous
proportion of votes recorded shows that a large proportion of women must
have used the vote. In many of the small women's societies in Manchester a
working woman is the secretary. In certain cases local Unions of women
have been successful, notably the Liverpool upholstresses, the Edmonton
ammunition workers and some others. The working woman is in fact beginning
to show powers, hitherto unsuspected, of social work and political action.
The Insurance Act has demanded women officials as "Sick Visitors" and "Pay
Stewards," and the new duties thrown on the secretaries and committee by
that Act are likely to bring about an increasing demand for the
participation of women. The rapidly increasing numbers of women in the
Shop Assistants' Union, the movement for a minimum wage in the
co-operative factories, the increasing number of women in general labour
Unions, all these are hopeful signs of a movement towards unity. The
milliner and dressmaker in small establishments and the domestic servant
will probably be the last to feel the rising wave. Even of these we need
not despair. With the development of postal facilities, easy transit and
opportunities for social intercourse, such as we may foresee occurring in
the near future, there may be a considerable development of
class-consciousness even among the workers among whom it is now most
lacking, while the Women's Co-operative Guild and the Women's Labour
League, in their turn, are finding a way for the association of
non-wage-earning women in the working class.

FEMALE MEMBERSHIP OF TRADE UNIONS, 1913.

  +----------------------------------------------------+
  |                                  |        |Per cent|
  |Occupation                        |Numbers.|   of   |
  |                                  |        | Total. |
  |----------------------------------|--------|--------|
  |Textile--                         |        |        |
  |  Cotton preparing                |  53,317|  14·9  |
  |  Cotton spinning                 |   1,857|   0·5  |
  |  Cotton weaving                  | 155,910|  43·8  |
  |  Wool and worsted                |   7,738|   2·2  |
  |  Linen and jute                  |  20,689|   5·8  |
  |  Silk                            |   4,247|   1·2  |
  |  Hosiery, etc.                   |   4,070|   1·1  |
  |Textile printing, etc             |   9,453|   2·6  |
  |                                  |--------|--------|
  |        Total                     | 257,281|  72·1  |
  |Non-Textile--                     |        |        |
  |  Boot and shoe                   |   9,282|   2·6  |
  |  Hat and cap                     |   3,750|   1·1  |
  |  Tailoring                       |   9,798|   2·7  |
  |  Printing                        |   5,893|   1·7  |
  |  Pottery                         |   2,600|   0·7  |
  |  Tobacco                         |   2,060|   0·6  |
  |  Shop assistants                 |  24,255|   6·8  |
  |  Other trades                    |   8,742|   2·4  |
  |  General labour                  |  23,677|   6·6  |
  |  Employment of Public Authorities|   9,625|   2·7  |
  |                                  |--------|--------|
  |         Total                    |  99,682|  27·9  |
  |                                  |--------|--------|
  |         Grand Total              | 356,963| 100·0  |
  +----------------------------------------------------+



CHAPTER V.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION OF PART I.[41]


_Changes effected by the Industrial Revolution._--We have seen that the
industrial employment of women developed partly out of their miscellaneous
activities as members of a family, partly out of their employment as
domestic servants, partly out of the work given out from well-to-do
households to their poorer neighbours. Weaving and spinning, the most
typical and general employments of women, were carried on by them as
assistants to the husband or father, or as servants lending a hand to
their masters' trade, or were done direct for customers. In the last case,
the work might be done either for the use of the manor or some other
well-to-do household, or in the case of spinning and winding, the product
might be sold to weavers directly or through a middleman. To a more
limited extent, the same kind of conditions probably applied to work other
than textile. The women acted as subordinate helpers or assistants,
whether in the family or out of it. In the former case they were probably
not paid but took their share of the family maintenance; in the latter
they were earners. When the circumstances of the trade were favourable,
_e.g._ when the demand for yarn exceeded the supply, women-workers may
have earned very fair wages; but on the whole it appears that they were in
an unfavourable position in selling their labour. The fact of working for
nothing, as many did in the home, would not promote a high standard of
remuneration, and the women who took in work from the manor or other
wealthy households would probably be expected to regard employment as a
favour.[42]

When the industrial revolution came, and the man with capital found
himself in the exciting position of being able to obtain large returns
from his newly-devised plant and machinery, the women and children were
there waiting to be employed. Enormous profits were made out of the cheap
labour of women and girls. The only alternative occupation of any extent
was domestic service, then an overstocked and under-paid trade. The women
and girls, accustomed to work at home, were not aware how greatly their
productive power had increased, and had no means of justifying claims to
an increased share of the produce, even if they had known how to make
them. Many, as we have seen in Chapter II., were reduced to terrible
poverty through the failure of work to the hand-loom weavers, and were
ready to take any work they could get to eke out the family living.

_The Survival of Previous Standards and Conditions._--The development of
the great industry, the use of machinery and the concentration of capital,
came at a time when the working class was peculiarly helpless to help
itself, and the governing class was unable or unwilling to initiate any
adequate social reform. The Enclosure Acts had weakened the spirit and
independence of the agricultural working-class and increased destitution
and pauperism, while wages were kept down through the operation of the
allowance system under the Old Poor Law. Local depopulation in rural
districts sent numbers of needy labourers, strong, industrious, and inured
to small earnings, to swell the industrial population of towns.[43] But
the crowning cruelty, the extremest folly, was the prohibition to combine.
The special characteristic of the industrial revolution was the
association of operatives under one roof, performing co-ordinated tasks
under one control to produce a given result. Now this new method of
associated labour was not only immensely more productive, but it also
potentially held advantages for the workers. It brought them together, it
gave them a common interest, it brought all sorts of social and civic
possibilities within their reach. But to realise these possibilities it
was essential that they should be able to join together, to take stock of
the bewildering new situation which confronted them, to achieve some kind
of corporate consciousness. This was denied them under various pains and
penalties. Yet the State did not for a long time itself take action to
give the factory class the protection they were forbidden to seek for
themselves. The effect was that while the workers were bound, the
employers were free or were restricted only to the very slight extent of
the regulations of the early factory acts, and could impose very much such
conditions of work as they pleased. What those conditions were has been
reiterated often enough. Work far into the night, or even both night and
day; sanitation of the rudest and most defective kind where it was not
absent altogether; industrial disease from dust, fluff and dirt, or from
damp floors and steaming atmosphere; workrooms overheated or dismally
cold; wages low, and subject to oppressive fines and fraudulent
deductions,--such, and worse, is the dreary recital of the treatment meted
out to the workers. The introduction of power machines was not _per se_
the cause of these evils. Women had been accustomed to do the work that no
one else wanted to do. The servile position of the woman-worker, the
absence of combination among the operative class, and the lack of State or
Municipal control over the conditions of industry and housing, all
combined to provide "cheap and docile workers" for the factory system. And
no doubt the factory system took full advantage of the opportunity.
Capital inevitably seeks cheap labour. The governing class had carefully
and deliberately provided that labour should be cheap.

_What the Factory Act has done._--The awakening class-consciousness of the
factory workers in Lancashire and Yorkshire led to agitation and petitions
for a restriction of the hours of work. Leaving out of account the earlier
Factory Acts, which were ill-devised and weak, the first effective
regulation was the Factory Act of 1833. This Act was timid in the
regulations imposed, which were too elastic to effect very much, but in
the providing for the appointment of a staff of factory inspectors it
asserted the right and duty of the State to control the conditions of
industry, and also indirectly secured that the Government should be kept
in possession of the facts. Only young persons under eighteen were
included under this Act, but in 1844 women also were included, and in 1847
and 1850 the working day was restricted to ten hours, and the period of
employment was carefully defined to prevent evasion. In 1864 some
dangerous trades were brought within the scope of the Acts, which had
previously included textile and allied industries only, and in 1867 other
non-textile industries and workshops were added. In 1878 a consolidating
Act was passed to bring the employment of women and young workers under
one comprehensive scheme. The plan of the Act of 1878 was retained in the
Act of 1901, but a considerable number of new regulations, especially in
regard to health and safety, were included. In 1893 a step of great
importance for working women was taken, in the appointment of women
factory inspectors.

It does not come within the scope of this volume to describe the history
of factory regulations and control, but we may here ask ourselves the
question, How much has been done for the women in industry by the State?
What is the present position of the woman-worker?

In the first place, we note that sanitary conditions in factories and
workshops are greatly improved and conditions as to health are more
considered than was formerly the custom. This is not entirely due to the
regulations of the Factory Act, but partly to the progress of public
health generally, and to the development of scientific knowledge and
humaner ideals of social life and manners. It is true that we are only at
the beginning of this movement, and much remains to be done, as any one
can satisfy himself by getting into touch with industrial workers, or by
studying the Factory Inspectors' Reports, but it can hardly be doubted
that the woman-worker of to-day has a very different, a very much more
civilised industrial environment than had her mother or her grandmother.
The appointment of women inspectors counts for a great deal here, for in
earlier times the needs of women-workers were not considered, or if
considered were not known with any accuracy. In the second place we note
that there has been a considerable development of special precautions for
dangerous trades, and that in one instance of a dangerous substance, viz.
white phosphorus, its use has even been prohibited, and the terrible
disease known as "phossy jaw," formerly the bane of match-makers, has been
stamped out. In regard to certain sweated industries measures have been
taken to regulate wages through the instrumentality of the Trade Boards,
and, as it appears, with a considerable measure of success.

_Present Position of the Woman-Worker._--Otherwise it is strange to notice
how very little the position of the woman-worker has been improved in
recent years. She is still liable to toil her ten hours daily, just as her
grandmother did, for five days in the week, though on Saturdays the hours
have been somewhat curtailed. In non-textile factories ten and a half
hours are permitted, though in many of the industries concerned a shorter
day has become customary, whether through Trade Union pressure or a
recognition on the employers' part that long hours "do not pay." Ten
hours, or ten and a half, with the necessary pauses for meal-times,
involve working "round the clock," which is still the recognised period of
employment even for young persons of fourteen and over. The five hours'
spell of continuous work is still permitted in non-textile factories and
workshops, although the inspectors have long been convinced that it is
too long for health and energy, and Miss Squire reports that it is now
condemned by all concerned with scientific management. In certain trades
overtime is permitted, and the result is that girls and women may be
employed fourteen hours a day, and if the employer takes his full
advantage of it, as occasionally he does, the inspector can do nothing,
the proceedings being perfectly legal.[44]

While the hours of work have been but very little shortened since 1874,
the strain of work has been considerably increased, as we have seen,
through the increased speed at which the machines are run. This is
especially the case in the cotton trade, though it occurs in other factory
industries. The demand upon the worker is much greater than formerly, and
the reduction of hours has by no means kept pace with the increased
strain. The backwardness of the Factory Act in these and some other
matters is almost inconceivable. So important a matter as the lighting of
work-places is still outside the scope of regulation. The nervous strain
and serious risk to eyesight involved by doing work requiring close and
accurate visual attention in a bad light need hardly be emphasised. The
inspectors receive many complaints of badly-adjusted or otherwise
defective artificial lighting of work-places, but have no weapon to use
but persuasion, which happily is in some cases successfully invoked.

Another serious factor in the working woman's position is the weakness of
the Truck Act, especially in regard to fines and deductions. Deductions,
_e.g._ for spoilt work, are sometimes made on a scale altogether out of
proportion to the weekly wages, and fines for being a few minutes late, or
for trivial offences of various kinds, are often oppressive to a degree
which can only be described as preposterous when compared with the value
of the worker's time and attention measured in the payments they receive.
In some cases convictions and fines are secured, and in other cases, even
in some which are outside the law, the inspectors are able to obtain the
adoption of reforms by employers, but many hard cases remain unredressed
owing to the difficulty of interpreting the Acts.

All along the line our social legislation has been characterised by
timidity and procrastination. Dr. Thomas Percival's statement of the case
for State interference in factories (1796) was left for six years without
notice from the Central Government, and the first Factory Act, 1802, was
applied to apprentices only at a time when the apprenticeship system was
falling into disuse. Later on, in response to the high-souled agitation of
Sadler, Oastler, and Lord Ashley (afterwards Shaftesbury), after years of
hesitation and vacillation, various inadequate measures were taken, but
never quite the right thing at the right moment, never designed as part of
a far-sighted policy that would recreate English industrial life and make
it worth living--as it might be made--for the toilers of field and
factory, workshop and mine. This weakness and backwardness in the policy
of the Home Department is no doubt largely due to the covetousness of the
capitalist and the control he is able to exercise on politics. It should
be remembered, however, that the capitalist, or rather the capitalist
employer, does not present an unbroken front. In point of fact the best
manufacturers do not oppose social legislation. They understand the need
of a common rule, and the regulations of the Factory Acts have usually
been modelled on the existing practice of the better kind of employer.
Labour legislation is weakened and kept back by several causes other than
the greed of employers. Among these may be mentioned the cumbersome and
out-of-date procedure of the House of Commons, and the interminable delays
that dog the progress of non-Governmental measures, even when these have
the approval of all parties. Other causes are to be found in the class
selfishness of the upper strata of society, their indifference to the
needs of the people, their ignorance of the whole conditions of the
industrial population's life. With bright exceptions, such as the late
Lord Shaftesbury and some now living whose names will occur to the reader,
not only the aristocracy and the very rich, but the conservative
middle-class, the dwellers in suburbs and watering-places, cling to the
idea of a servile class. They object to industrial regulations which give
the workers statutory rights amongst their employers; they object to
increasing the amenity of factory life and diminishing the supply of
domestic servants. Labour legislation remains backward and undeveloped for
want of the support of an enlightened public opinion.

_The Strain of Modern Industry._--With the ill effects of the present
system it is impossible for a non-medical writer to deal fully, but no one
can have any talk with a doctor or a sick visitor under the Insurance
Committee in a big industrial town without hearing terrible facts about
the injury to women from the persistent standing at work. It seems likely
also that these injuries are not only due to overstrain among women after
marriage and before and after confinement, but result in part from the
fatigue endured by adolescent girls. Parents are too anxious to send
children to work, and girls of fourteen and upwards are sometimes working
in competition with boys, and suffer from trying to do as much. Pressure
is put on girls to work three looms or even four, before they are really
equal to the effort. It may, of course, be admitted that some of this
strain and drive is self-inflicted. It is part of the admirable tenacity,
self-reliance, and high standard of life of Lancashire women that they are
keen about their earnings, and I have been told of girls who will return
to the shed during meal-hours, or even go to work at 5.30 in summer-time,
busying themselves in sweeping or making ready for work before the engine
starts. These practices are illegal, and the employers often protect
themselves by putting up a notice that any woman or young worker found in
the shed out of working hours will be dismissed, or by sending an employee
to clear the shed at the proper hour. Nevertheless in many cases the
employer has a certain moral responsibility for these evasions of the law,
although they appear to indicate perversity on the worker's part. Girls
and women are indirectly set to compete one with another, and with boys
and men. There is a constant pressure on the weaker to keep pace with the
stronger, the immature or old with the worker in the full flower of
strength. The overlooker usually receives a small percentage on all the
earnings of all the weavers, and has therefore an incentive to keep them
at full tension, and the overlooker's average is again criticised by the
manager. Lancashire people are remarkably articulate and also quick in
apprehension, and the sarcasms launched at girls who, on pay-day, have
earned less than the average are pointed enough to be well understood. The
whole system is like an elaborate mechanism to extract the last unit of
effort from each worker, and dismissal hangs always over the head of the
slower and less competent worker. In the Factory Inspectors' Report for
1913 Miss Tracey tells how children lose their colour and their youthful
energy in the drudgery of their daily toil, how the girls fall asleep at
their work and grow old and worn before their time. "Sometimes one feels
that one dare not contemplate too closely the life of our working women,
it is such a grave reproach." I have myself been seriously assured that
cases of suicide result from the difficulty of maintaining at once the
quantity and quality of work under such conditions.

Anaemia is a frequent result of overstrain, not to mention the constant
colds and rheumatism due to overheated rooms. The sickness among women
from these and other worse evils alluded to above have become apparent for
the first time through the serious strain put on sick benefit funds in the
first year of the Insurance Act. At one very important centre of the
cotton trade, out of 8056 members 2800 received sick benefit in the first
twelve months. The Insurance Act, whatever its defects, has at all events
given many poor women the chance to take a little rest and nursing that
they sorely needed and could not afford. The sneer of "malingering" is
easily raised, but it is doubtful whether real malingering has much to do
with it. The conditions of industry, greatly improved as they are from the
sanitary point of view, are certainly increasing the kind of strain that
women are constitutionally least able to bear. The industrial efficiency
in the young girl that she and her employer are often so proud of may be
paid for later in painful illness and incapacity. Mr. Arthur Greenwood
quotes medical opinion to the effect that the industrial strain to which
several generations of women in the textile districts have now been
subjected is responsible not only for serious disease, but even for
sterility among women.[45] So far the subject of the declining birth-rate
has been discussed chiefly as a theme for homilies on the "selfishness" of
women, who, it is alleged, prefer ease and comfort to unrestricted
child-bearing. If Mr. Greenwood is right, the cause, in part at all
events, is the force of capitalistic competition feeding on the very life
of the people. Surely the subject needs medical study and investigation of
a more searching kind than it has yet received.

_The Exclusion of Women: A Counsel of Despair._--In view of the tremendous
strain incidental to certain kinds of industrial work, as at present
organised, there occurs the difficult problem, what kind of work women are
to do. In the case of work underground in mines, and also of a few
industrial processes specially injurious to women, the State has exercised
the right to exclude women altogether, and however undesirable such
legislative exclusion may be in the abstract, there can be little doubt
that it was justified in the cases referred to, the evils being flagrant
and the women concerned as yet unorganised and with no means of demanding
adequate regulations for their own safety. There are even those who doubt
whether woman should take part in manufacturing industry at all, and hope
that ultimately she may disappear from it altogether. Those who take this
view should clear their minds as to what exactly they mean by industry.
They probably do not wish to exclude women from those occupations which
are almost a feminine monopoly, such as dressmaking, needlework and
household work. But to restrict any class of workers to a narrow range of
occupations undoubtedly has a very depressing effect on their wages. We
may also note that improvements in the position and conditions of the
woman-worker have begun always outside, not inside; in the factory before
the workshop; in the workshop before the home; in industry before
needlework. The Wage Census of 1907 shows that women's wages are higher in
the great industry than in the smaller and more old-fashioned
establishment. State regulation of factory work in the first half of the
nineteenth century led to enquiries into the condition of needlewomen and
others, who, as the Children's Employment Commission showed, were in worse
case than factory workers. The factory industry, it was immediately
recognised, was more amenable to control either by the State or by
Unionism, or both, than was the home worker, or the worker in small
workshops. Through the factory, in spite of its many abuses, women have
attained not only an improvement in their economic circumstances, but also
the experience of comradeship and even of a citizenship which, although
incomplete, is very real as far as it goes.

Women have undoubtedly gained on the whole by the widening of their sphere
of employment. But women cannot possibly do all kinds of industrial work,
and to leave the matter unregulated either by law or by Trade Union action
is to leave too much to the discretion of the employer, with whom profit
is naturally the first consideration.

If the matter is fought out between the employer and the men's Unions, the
women's interests are not sufficiently considered. Some years ago at
Birmingham the question was being disputed whether women should or should
not polish brass in brass-works. The Trade Union pronounced polishing to
be filthy and exhausting work, and degrading to women, and declared the
employers only wanted to set women on it for the sake of cheapness. The
employers on the other hand said the Union only opposed the employment of
women because they wanted to keep women out of the trade as much as
possible. Probably motives were mixed on both sides.

Such disputes not infrequently arise in manufacturing industry, and the
middle-class person arriving on the scene is very apt to take a one-sided
view. If he is a mildly reactionary, conservative, sentimental person, he
probably wants women to be prevented from doing anything that looks
uncomfortable and happens to be under his eyes at the moment. If he (or
particularly if she) happens to be burning with enthusiasm for the rights
of women as individuals and scornful of old-fashioned proprieties and
traditions, he (or she) will most likely jump to the conclusion that the
objections raised to the employment of women in the particular process are
merely sex-prejudice and sex-domination. Neither the sentimentalist nor
the individualist, however, sees the full bearing of the situation. In
this connection an article by Mr. Haslam[46] may be studied with advantage
as being eminently thoughtful and fair-minded. In the Lancashire cotton
trade a peculiarly complicated instance of the woman question occurs in
mule-spinning. In this, the best paid and most highly skilled process in
the industry, a shortage of boy labour has somehow to be met. The
proportion of helpers or "piecers" needed is much larger than the
proportion of boys who can hope to find a permanent occupation in
mule-spinning. With advancing education, aided, no doubt, by recent good
trade and demand for labour in the trades, boys and their parents have
become increasingly aware of the disadvantages of "piecing" as a trade,
and as a result the deficiency of juvenile labour threatens to become
acute. An obvious solution is to introduce girls as piecers, which, as it
happens, is not a new idea but the revival of an old one. Girls were
formerly employed to some extent at piecing, but were prohibited by the
Union twenty-six or twenty-seven years ago, so far as the important
centres of cotton-spinning are concerned. The prohibition was removed some
years later, but for a long time women showed no inclination to return to
this work. Only in quite recent years, with the increasing shortage of
boy-labour, have women and girls been induced to go back to the
mule-spinning room. Now women never become mule-spinners; the Union will
not allow it. A peculiar feature of the occupation is that the operative
spinners themselves, who employ and pay their piecers, are thus interested
in obtaining a supply of cheap labour, just as any capitalist employer is,
or supposes himself to be. They consistently oppose women becoming
spinners, usually alleging physical and moral objections to this
occupation, but are willing to allow them to become piecers in order to
supply the deficiency of boy-labour, and to lessen the prejudice against
piecing as a "blind-alley" occupation for boys. Now, as Mr. Haslam points
out, the employment of women as piecers is both physically and morally
quite as objectionable as their working as spinners.[47] Indeed, granting
for the sake of argument that women should be employed in the
mule-spinning room at all, by far the least objectionable arrangement
would be for them to work two together on a pair of mules, which would
diminish the physical strain and obviate the moral dangers which arise
from the present plan of subordination to a male spinner in an unhealthy
environment. In this case women need organisation and combination to
protect their interests from the operative spinners, who are virtually
their employers, almost as much as a labouring class needs to be protected
from capitalist employers. And, as Mr. Haslam shows in his weighty and
temperate statement, it is quite true that there are very great and
serious objections to female employment in this trade. The heat, the
costume, the attitudes necessitated by this work, all render it a
dangerous occupation for girls to work at in company with men. Mr. Haslam
gives painful evidence in support of this statement, for which readers can
be referred to his article.

The moral of the whole story is by no means that unrestricted freedom of
employment for women is the way of salvation. Rather is it that women must
not only organise but must take a conscious part in the work of directing
their organisation. At present they are too often the shuttlecock between
the opposing interests of the employer and the men's Union. It is not that
the Trade Union is always wrong in wanting to keep the women out; or that
the employer (whether capitalist or operative) is always right in wanting
to take the women on. The point is that each party in these disputes is
usually influenced mainly by his own interests and easily persuades
himself that what is best for him is best also for the woman-worker
concerned. The hardest and most unhealthy work may be done by women
without a protest from men's Unions if it does not bring women evidently
into competition with men. Nothing can clear up the situation but the
enlightenment and better organisation of women themselves. They must learn
not to take their cue implicitly from the employer or from the men's
Union--certainly not from the teaching of women of another class. They
must learn--they are fast learning--to think for themselves and to see
their needs in relation to society as a whole, to become articulate and
take part in the control of their organisation. It is quite likely that
when they do so they will not adopt the ideal of complete freedom of
competition.

I remember some years ago hearing a lecture on the subject of the mining
industry given to a society of women of advanced views, the lecturer, a
professional woman, taking the line that women should not have been
excluded from work underground in mines, as they were by the Act of 1842,
and that the evils of such work had been exaggerated. Some little time
afterwards an experienced woman cotton-operative was invited to address
the same society, and incidentally remarked in the course of her lecture
that card-room work was "not fit for women to do." The contrast was
instructive, especially taking into consideration that card-room work in
the twentieth century, whatever its objections, cannot be nearly as
dangerous and injurious as underground work in mines was in 1842.
Legislative exclusion of women from dangerous and unhealthy occupations,
is, we may admit, an undesirable remedy from many points of
view--especially perhaps because it affords too easy relief to the
conscience of the employer, who may take refuge in the idea that he need
not trouble to improve conditions if he employs only men. It is better to
make the conditions of industry fit for women than to drive women out of
industry; better to strengthen the organisation of women and give them a
voice in deciding what processes are or are not suitable to them than to
increase the competition for home work.

It seems, however, highly improbable, from what one knows of the working
woman's point of view and outlook, that as she becomes able to voice her
wishes she will favour an indiscriminate levelling of sex-restrictions in
industry; on the contrary, it seems likely that as she becomes more
articulate and has more voice and influence in the organisation she
belongs to, she will favour regulations of a fairly stringent nature in
regard to the processes within an industry which may be carried on by
women. Many of the observations that have been made on industrial women in
recent or comparatively recent years show that although at times they are
driven by stress of need to compete with men or to do work beyond their
strength, yet that they regard themselves mainly from the point of view of
the family and believe that to keep up the standard of men's wages is as
important as to raise their own.[48]

_The Middle-Class Woman's Movement._--There is, however, a complication
between the labour woman's movement and the woman's movement for
enfranchisement and freedom of opportunity generally, and great care is
necessary to avoid confusing the issues. The labour woman's movement is a
class movement in which solidarity between man and woman is all important.
The women's rights movement aims at obtaining full citizenship for women;
that is to say, not only the Suffrage but the entrance to professions, the
entrance without special impediments to local governing bodies and,
generally, the abolition of belated and childish restrictions that hinder
the development of personality and social usefulness. Now these two
movements are not in principle opposed, and there is no reason why the
same women should not take part in both, as in fact many do. The
opposition consists rather in a difference of origin and history. The
labour movement is born of the economic changes induced by the industrial
revolution, and tends towards a socialistic solution of the problem. The
women's rights movement is the outcome of middle-class changes, especially
the decreasing prospect of marriage, which, together with the absence of
training and opportunity for work, has produced a situation of extreme
difficulty. The middle-class woman's agitation was inevitably influenced
by the ideals of her class, a class largely engaged in competitive
business of one kind or another. Equality of opportunity, permission to
compete with men and try their luck in open market, was what the women of
this type demanded, with considerable justification, and with admirable
courage. The working woman, on the other hand, the victim of that very
unrestricted competition which her better-off sister was demanding, before
all things needed improved wages and conditions of work, for which State
protection and combination with men were essential.[49]

There is, however, no fundamental opposition between these movements. Just
as the working classes are striving through Syndicalism to express a
rising discontent, not only with the economic conditions of their work,
but also with the fact that they have no voice in its regulation and
control, so women are striving, not only for political freedom and
economic betterment, but for a voice in the collective control of society.
Women have, until very lately, been left out from the arrangement even of
matters which most vitally concern them and their children. The following
incident in the history of the Factory Department will illustrate this
fact. In 1879 the then Chief Inspector of Factories, Sir Alexander
Redgrave, discussed in his annual report a tentative suggestion for the
appointment of women inspectors that some person or persons unnamed had
put forward. With the utmost kindliness and gentleness he negatived the
proposal altogether, first on the assumption that the inspection of
factories was work impossible for women and "incompatible with (their)
gentle and home-loving character"; secondly, on the ground that in regard
to the sanitary conditions in which women were employed "it was seldom
necessary to put a single question to a female," and consequently there
was no need to appoint women inspectors.[50] Thirteen years later came the
Labour Commission. At that time it was unheard of for women to be
appointed on Commissions, even when the subject was one in which women
were most chiefly concerned. It is said, and I see no reason to doubt the
statement, that the Labour Commission of 1892 did not at first intend even
to hear evidence from women witnesses as to conditions in which women
were employed. Having yielded to the urgency of two women who were working
hard at the organisation of sweated workers in the East End and demanded
to be heard, the Commission, as an afterthought, appointed women Assistant
Commissioners, whose researches and reports subsequently led to the
appointment of women Factory Inspectors--sixty years after the first
appointments of men. Anyone who is likely to read this book will probably
be already aware that women factory inspectors had no sooner been
appointed than they very speedily were informed of flagrant sanitary
defects in factories and workshops which had been suffered to continue
simply because no woman official had been in existence, and men, with the
best intentions, did not know what to look or ask for. The exclusion of
women had involved in this case not merely a narrowing of the field of
opportunity for professional women--a comparatively small matter--but a
scandalous neglect of the elementary decencies of life for millions of
women and girls in the working-class. It is unnecessary here to do more
than remind my readers that until lately women were excluded also from
local governing bodies which control the health, education, and conditions
of life and work of women and children.

Men are not alone to blame for this state of affairs. If women have long
been excluded from posts in which their services were greatly needed, it
is very largely because of the ideals set up by the women themselves. The
wretched education given to girls in the Victorian era, the egotistic
passion for refinement which made it a reproach even to allude to the
grosser facts of life, much more to the perils and dangers run by women in
a lower class, all this was due quite as much to the influence of women
as of men. It was not surprising that men of the upper classes, accustomed
by their mothers and wives to believe that for women ignorance and
innocence were one, and that no painful reality must ever be mentioned
before them or come near to sully their refinement, should recoil from the
idea of trusting them with difficult duties and responsible work. It is to
the few pioneer women like Florence Nightingale, Josephine Butler, and
others who came out and braved reproach--from women as well as men--that
we owe the introduction of worthier social ideals.

_The New Spirit among Women._--As the women's movement draws towards the
labour movement, as it is now so rapidly doing, it tends to lose the
narrow individualism derived from the middle-class ideals of the last
century. Mere freedom to compete is seen to be a small thing in comparison
with opportunity to develop. The appeal for fuller opportunity is now
stimulated less by the desire merely to do the same things that men do,
more by the perception that the whole social life must be impoverished
until we get the women's point of view expressed and recognised in the
functions of national life. On the other hand, the women Unionists, who
have long been taxed with apathy and lack of interest in their trade
organisation, are drawing from the women's movement a new inspiration and
enthusiasm. Observers in Lancashire tell you that there is a new spirit
stirring among the women. They are no longer so contented to have the
Union efficiently managed for them by men; they want to take a conscious
part in the work of organisation themselves. The same movement is visible
in the plucky and self-sacrificing efforts for solidarity made by the
workers in trades hitherto unorganised; and, at the other end of the
social scale, in the deep discontent with the life of parasitic dependence
which has been so powerfully expressed in the _Life of Florence
Nightingale_, and in Lady Constance Lytton's book on _Prisons and
Prisoners_.

_The Potential Changes the Industrial Revolution carries with it._--We
have endeavoured to analyse the changes effected in the position of women
by the industrial revolution. Social changes, however, take a long time to
work themselves out, and many features in the position of the woman-worker
at the present day, as we have seen, are the result not so much of the
industrial revolution as of the status and economic position of women in
earlier times, and still more of the neglect of the governing classes to
take the measures necessary for the protection of the people in passing
through that prolonged crisis which may be roughly dated from 1760 to
1830. Let us now try as far as possible to free our minds from the
influence of these disturbing factors and ask ourselves what are the
potential changes in the position of the working woman effected by the
industrial revolution, and what improvement, if any, she might expect to
achieve if those changes could work themselves out more completely than
social reaction and hindrances have yet permitted them to do. Let us, in
short, pass from the consideration of What Is to the contemplation of What
Might Be.

1. _By the use of mechanical power, the need for muscular strength is
diminished, and greater possibilities are opened up to the weaker classes
of workers._--We are accustomed to view this change with disfavour,
because it often takes the form of displacing men's labour and lowering
men's wages. But that is mainly because we see things in terms of
unorganised labour. With proper organisation we should not see women
taking men's work at less than men's wages; we should see both men and
women doing the work to which their special aptitudes are most
appropriate, each paid for their special skill. We should not see women
dragging heavy weights or doing laborious kinds of work which are
dangerous and unsuitable to them; we should see them using their special
gifts and special kinds of skill, and paid accordingly. There is no
reason, save custom and lack of organisation, why a nursery-maid should be
paid less than a coal-miner. He is not one whit more capable of taking her
place than she is of taking his. For generations we have been accustomed
to assume that any girl can be a nursery-maid (which is far from being the
truth), and from force of habit we consider the miner has to be well paid
because his occupation demands a degree of strength and endurance which is
comparatively rare, and also because he has the sense to combine and
unfortunately the nursery-maid so far has not. The factory system is doing
a great deal for women, directly by widening the field of occupation open
to them, and indirectly by heightening the value of special aptitudes,
some of which are peculiar to women. When mechanical power is used,
strength is no longer the prime qualification for work, and the special
powers of the girl-worker come into play.

The factory system, also, by its immensely increased productivity, is
altering the old views of what is profitable, and a new science of social
economics is evolving which would have been unthinkable under the old
regime. In Miss Josephine Goldmark's recent most interesting book,
_Fatigue and Efficiency_, she has gathered together the results of many
experiments made by employers to ascertain the effects of shorter hours.
There is practical unanimity in the results of these experiments.
Obviously there must be a limit to the degree in which shortening hours of
work would increase the output, but no one appears yet to have reached
that limit. In the Factory Inspectors' Report for 1912 many cases are
mentioned where employers have voluntarily reduced hours of work and find
that they, as well as their work-people are benefited by the change. In
one case of a large firm which had formerly worked from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M.
it was arranged to cease at 7, a decrease of a whole hour, which
necessitated engaging extra hands, but at the end of the year it was found
that the annual cost of production was slightly diminished and the output
considerably increased. Others expressed an opinion that 8 to 6.30 was
"quite long enough," and that if these hours were exceeded the work
suffered next morning. The same may be said in regard to other
improvements in working conditions, such as ventilation, cleanliness, the
provision of baths, refectories, medical aid, means of recreation; those
who have taken such measures have found themselves rewarded by increased
output. Even from the commercial standpoint we do not appear to have
nearly exhausted the possibilities of betterment. There can be little
doubt, judging from existing means of information, that if the whole of
the industry of the country were run on shorter hours, higher wages, and
greatly improved hygienic conditions, it would be very much more
productive than it is. From the social point of view such betterment is
greatly needed, especially in the case of the young of both sexes, whose
health is most easily impaired by over-strain, and who are destined to
be the workers, parents, and citizens of the next generation.

2. _Status._--A still more important result of the industrial revolution
is _the changed status of the wage-earner_. Here it appears to me that
women have profited more than men. Broadly speaking, men, whatever their
ultimate gain in wages, lost in status through the industrial revolution.
The prospect of rising to be masters in their own trade, though not
universal, was certainly very much greater under the domestic system of
working with small capital than under the modern system of large
concentrated capital. In this respect women did not lose in anything like
the same proportion as did men, because they had very much less to lose.
The number of women who could rise to be employers on their own account
must have been small. No doubt a larger number lost the prospect of
industrial partnership with their husbands in the joint management of a
small business. But for women wage-earners the industrial revolution does
mean a certain advance in status. The woman-worker in the great industry
sells her work per piece or per hour, not her whole life and personality.
I shall perhaps be told indignantly that the poor woman in a low-class
factory or laundry is as veritable a drudge as the most oppressed serf of
mediaeval times, and I do not attempt to deny it. But we are here
discussing potential changes, not the actual conditions now in force. The
drudgery performed by women under the great industry is of the nature of a
survival, and results from the fact that women can still be got to work in
such ways for very low wages. These conditions are largely the heritage of
the past and can be changed and humanised whenever the women themselves
or society acting collectively makes a sufficiently strong demand.

Nor must it be forgotten that in modern industry women have a further
advantage in being paid their own wages instead of being merely
remunerated collectively in the family, as was often the case formerly.
Modern industry thus holds for the woman-worker the possibility of a more
dignified and self-respecting position than the domestic system of the
near past.

3. _The Possibilities of State Control._--We next note that _the
industrial revolution has led to State control_, and that the Factory Act,
whatever its defects in detail and its inadequacy to meet the situation,
has greatly improved the status of the woman-worker by giving her
_statutory rights against the employer_. This aspect has often been
overlooked by leaders of the women's rights movement, who at one time
tended to regard factory legislation as putting the woman in a childish
and undignified position. But the true inwardness of the Factory Act is
the assertion that workers are _persons_, with rights and needs that are
sufficiently important to override commercial requirements. It has not
only aided the progress of industrial betterment, but it has taught women
that they are of significance and importance to the State, and has brought
them out of the position of mere servility. A great deal more may be
effected in the future when the governing class attain to more enlightened
views of civics and economics, and when the women themselves become
politically and socially conscious of what they want.

4. _Association. The factory system has also made it possible for women to
strengthen their position by association and combination._--Such
association affords women the best opportunity they have ever yet had of
attaining economic independence on honourable conditions. And it is
interesting to note that just as women are now awakening to social
consciousness, and beginning to feel themselves members of a larger whole,
so the Trade Unions are now reaching out to issues broader than the mere
economic struggle, and are beginning to give more attention to social care
for life and health. In the past the Unions have very largely taken what
might be termed a juristic view of their functions. They have been
concerned mainly with wage-questions, with the prevention of fraud through
"truck," oppressive fines and unfair deductions; they have penalised
backwardness in the improvement of machinery. As the management of a
cotton mill concentrates on extorting the last unit of effort from the
workers, so the Unions in the past have very largely concentrated on
securing that the workers at any rate got their share of the results. But
in more recent years the Unions are beginning to see that this, though
good, is not enough. Industrial efficiency may be too dearly bought if it
involves a loss of health, character, or personality, and recent reports
of the cotton Unions show that the officials are increasingly aware of the
seriousness of this matter from the point of view of health. _E.g._, the
heavy rate of sickness among women-workers disclosed by the working of the
Insurance Act has turned the attention of the Weavers' Amalgamation
towards the insanitary conditions in which even now so many operatives do
their work. "Fresh air, which is such an essential to health, is a bad
thing for the cotton industry; what is wanted is damp air, and calico is
more important than men and women. When they are not well they can come on
the Insurance Act. We want to talk less about malingering and more about
insanitary conditions, which is the real cause of excessive claims."[51]
Just as the woman's movement is widening its vision to understand the
needs of labour, so the Unions now are widening theirs to understand the
claims of life and health. The officials are already alive, if
unfortunately the Lancashire parents are not, to the evils of the
half-time system. And the co-operation of women in the active work of the
Union will strengthen this conviction.

_The Future Organisation of Women._--As women come more and more into
conscious citizenship they will, as Professor Pearson prophesied twenty
years ago, demand a more comprehensive policy of social welfare. We may
expect in the future that the care of adolescence and the care of
maternity will be considered more closely than it ever has been; also that
such social provision for maternity as may be made will be linked up with
the working life of women, so that marriage shall not be penalised by
requiring women against their will to leave work when they marry, and on
the other hand, that the home-loving woman of domestic tastes shall not be
forced, as now so often happens, to leave her children and painfully earn
their bread outside her home.

One of the great obstacles in the way of attaining such measures of reform
has been, not only the comparative lack of organisation of women-workers
but the difficulty of adapting existing organisations, devised for the
trade purposes of the workers at a single industrial process, to these
broader social purposes. The majority, as we have seen, in Chapter III.,
leave work on marriage, and the problem results, how to bridge the
"cleft"[52] in the woman's career and give her an abiding interest in
organisation. How, the old-fashioned craft organiser asks with a mild
despair, how is he to organise reckless young people for whom work is a
meanwhile employment, who go and get married and upset all his
calculations? How are women, whose work is temporary, to be given a
permanent interest in their association? For some women, no doubt, their
work _is_ a life-work, but it is most unlikely it will ever be so for the
majority. Mr. Wells's idea, shared with the late William James, of a kind
of conscription of the young people to do socially necessary work for a
few short years has a curious applicability to women. There are certain
distinct stages in a woman's life which the exigencies of the present
commercial society fit very badly. One can foresee a society arranged to
do more justice to human needs and aptitudes in which girls might enter
certain employments as a transition stage in their careers; then marry and
adopt home-making and child-tending as their occupation for a period;
then, when domestic claims slackened off in urgency, devote their
experience and knowledge of life to administrative work, social,
educational, or for public health. Other women with a strong leaning to a
special skilled occupation might prefer to carry it on continuously.
Different types of organisation will be needed for different types of
work. If the craft Union cannot fit all types of male workers, much less
can it fit all women. Trade Unionism as we have known it mostly
presupposed a permanent craft or occupation, and one of the great troubles
of Trade Unions for women is that so many women do not aspire to a
permanent occupation. The "clearing-house" type of Union suggested by Mr.
Cole to accommodate workers who follow an occupation now in one industry,
now in another, might possibly be adapted to meet the needs of women.
Perhaps a time will come when the Unions that include the "woman-worker"
will be linked up with societies like the Women's Labour League or the
Women's Co-operative Guild, whose membership consists mainly of "working
women," that is to say of women of the industrial classes who are not
themselves earners.

These speculations may seem to run ahead of the industrial world we now
know. But all around us the Trade Unions are federating into larger and
larger bodies, and when these great organisations have attained to that
central control and direction they have been feeling after for
generations, they will certainly discover that it is essential for them to
develop a considerable degree of interdependence between the Trade Unions
and consumers' co-operation. Therewith they can hardly fail to grasp the
latent possibilities of the membership of women. The woman is much less an
earner, much more a consumer and spender than is the man; she is more
interested in life than in work, in wealth for use than in wealth for
power. She suffers as a consumer and a spender both when prices go up and
when wages go down. It is difficult to believe that the working classes
will not before long develop some effective organisation to protect
themselves against the exploitation that is accountable, in part at least,
for both processes. Mrs. Billington Greig's masterly study of the
exploitation of the unorganised consumer is a demonstration of the need of
awakening some collective conscience in a specially inert and
inarticulate class, and Miss Margaretta Hicks is making most valuable
experiments in the practical work of organising women as consumers. The
supposed apathy and lack of public spirit in women has been largely due to
the lack of any visible organic connection between their industrial life
as earners and their domestic life as spenders and home-makers. Probably
the future of the organisation of women will depend on the degree in which
this connexion can be made vital and effective.



PART II



CHAPTER VI.

WOMEN'S WAGES IN THE WAGE CENSUS OF 1906.

BY J. J. MALLON.


Until a few years ago no statistics comprehensive in character relating to
women's wages were available. In 1906, however, the Board of Trade took
"census" of the wages and hours of labour of the persons employed in all
the industries of the country, and the result has been a series of volumes
which, though becoming rapidly out-of-date, nevertheless throw much light
on the general level of wages in various trades and occupations.

The enquiry made by the Board of Trade was a voluntary enquiry: that is to
say, it was left to the public spirit and general amiability of the
employer to make a return or not as he pleased. There was no penalty for
failure to furnish information. The response to the Board of Trade efforts
was not, however, unsatisfactory, and returns were forthcoming, roughly
speaking, in respect of nearly half the wage-earners employed in the
different industries. Unfortunately, however, the fact that the
authorities were dependent for their information on the goodwill of the
employers has probably given the statistics a certain bias. The schedules
supplied were somewhat forbidding in appearance, and often troublesome to
fill in, and it may fairly be surmised that it was the good rather than
the bad employers who put themselves to the trouble of complying with the
official request. Hence of all the workers employed in the United Kingdom
it was probably those who were more fortunately placed in regard to whom
we now have statistics. The condition of those working for employers who
thought that the less said about their wages-sheets the better, still
remains obscure. The statistics upon which comments are now offered may
therefore convey a more favourable impression than the facts, if fully
known, would justify, especially when it is remembered that 1906, the year
of the census, was one of good trade. On the other hand, it needs to be
borne in mind that since the enquiry was made, the level of wages in many
trades is known to have been raised.

The Earnings and Hours of Labour Enquiry, as it was officially called, was
directed primarily to ascertaining for each of the principal occupations
in the various trades what were _the usual earnings or wages of a worker
employed for full time in an ordinary week_, the last pay week in
September being the particular week suggested subject to the employer's
view as to its normality.

With a view to supplementing or checking the details of actual earnings in
a particular week, information was also sought with respect to the _total_
wages paid in an ordinary pay week in each month, and also with respect to
the total wages paid in the year. From this last-mentioned body of
information it is possible to deduce some tentative conclusions in regard
to the extent to which the industry suffers from seasonal variations.
This matter will be further considered below. It is, however, mainly the
information in regard to full-time earnings in an ordinary week with which
it is proposed to deal. Statistics, it may safely be assumed, are abhorred
of the general reader; but they are the alphabet of social study and
cannot be dispensed with, and certain tables must now be introduced
showing the relative wage level for women in a number of important
industries. It should be noted that the abstract "woman" who is dealt with
in the statistics is a female person of eighteen years of age or over. She
may be, though is not likely to be, a new recruit or learner. She may, on
the other hand, be very old and infirm, though here again the
probabilities are against it. In all cases, however, she works full time,
which roughly we may regard as being about fifty to fifty-two hours a
week.

The following table shows the average weekly full-time earnings of women
employed in the principal textile industries. In addition to the average,
which may of course be a compound of a great many widely differing
conditions, the proportion or percentage of women whose earnings fall
within certain limits is also shown.[53]

TABLE A

  +-----------------------------------------------------+
  |              |  Percentage numbers of  |            |
  |              | women working full time |            |
  |              | in the last pay-week of |            |
  |              |  September 1906, whose  |            |
  |              | earnings fell within the|            |
  |   Industry.  | undermentioned limits.  |  Average   |
  |              |-------------------------|earnings for|
  |              |Under| 10s. and |15s. and| full time. |
  |              | 10s.|under 15s.| over.  |            |
  |--------------|-----|----------|--------|------------|
  |              |     |          |        |  s.    d.  |
  |All textiles  | 13·3|   38·8   |  47·9  |  15    5   |
  |--------------|-----|----------|--------|------------|
  |Cotton        |  3·0|   20·9   |  76·1  |  18    8   |
  |Hosiery       | 14·5|   44·4   |  41·1  |  14    3   |
  |Wool, worsted | 10·7|   55·6   |  33·7  |  13   10   |
  |Lace          | 18·1|   49·3   |  32·6  |  13    5   |
  |Jute          |  6·2|   66·4   |  27·4  |  13    5   |
  |Silk          | 38·9|   47·8   |  13·3  |  11    2   |
  |Linen         | 41·7|   49·1   |   9·2  |  10    9   |
  +-----------------------------------------------------+

The cotton industry stands out conspicuously as showing a relatively high
level of earnings, and we find in marked contrast to the other trades in
this group that only 3 per cent of the women earned less than 10s. a week.
The results coincide of course with popular impression, it being well
known that the mill lasses of Lancashire are the best paid--probably
because the best organised--large group of women workers in the country.

The woollen and worsted industry, like the cotton, is localised, being
confined mainly to Yorkshire, though the woollen industry of the lowlands
of Scotland is also important. In this trade the results are much less
satisfactory, the average being 13s. 10d., and considerably more than half
the total number employed earning less than 15s. It may be noted, however,
that in one town, Huddersfield, where women and men are engaged largely
on the same work, the average, 17s. 1d., is considerably higher than that
for the United Kingdom.

Hosiery is also strongly localised, the majority of the workpeople being
employed in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and certain neighbouring
parts of Derbyshire. It will be seen that in order of average earnings
this industry stands next to, though a good distance from, cotton, the
average being 14s. 3d. The best-paid centre is Leicester itself, where the
average is 16s. 2d. Even in this relatively highly paid trade, however,
more than half of the women earned less than 15s., and it should be noted
that this result applies to factory workers only. In the hosiery trade a
considerable amount of homework is also carried on, and though statistics
are not at present available, it may safely be assumed that earnings in
the homework section of the trade are less than in the factory section.

At the bottom of the list is the linen industry. The average here is only
10s. 9d.; less than one-tenth of the women employed earned more than 15s.,
while between one-third and one-half earned less than 10s. The industry,
as is well known, is centred mainly in the North of Ireland, but is also
carried on to a considerable extent in Scotland and to a small extent in
England. The figures for Ireland, however, are not markedly lower than
those for the other districts. It is true that for the whole of Ireland
outside Belfast the average is only 9s. 9d., but the figure for Belfast
itself, namely 10s. 10d., coincides with that for England.

The manufacture of jute is carried on almost entirely in the neighbourhood
of Dundee. The average is therefore a local average.

The other industries require no special comment.

The second large group of trades, important from the point of view of
women's employment, is the clothing industry. Although the averages in
this group do not show the extremes of the textile group, the industry is
nevertheless one in which a great variety of skill and remuneration
prevails. The following are the statistics, certain of the smaller trades
such as silk and felt hat-making and leather glove-making being omitted
for the sake of brevity:--

TABLE B

  +-------------------------------------------------------------------+
  |                            |  Percentage numbers of  |            |
  |                            | women working full time |            |
  |                            | in the last pay-week of |            |
  |                            |  September 1906, whose  |            |
  |                            | earnings fell within the|            |
  |      Industry.             | undermentioned limits.  |  Average   |
  |                            |-------------------------|earnings for|
  |                            |Under| 10s. and |15s. and| full time. |
  |                            | 10s.|under 15s.| over.  |            |
  |----------------------------|-----|----------|--------|------------|
  |                            |     |          |        |  s.    d.  |
  | All clothing               | 21·6|   45·1   |  33·3  |  13    6   |
  |----------------------------|-----|----------|--------|------------|
  |Dress, millinery, etc.      |     |          |        |            |
  |  (factory).                | 12·6|   39·5   |  47·9  |  15    5   |
  |Tailoring (bespoke)         | 15·4|   42·4   |  42·2  |  14    2   |
  |Dress, millinery, etc.      |     |          |        |            |
  |  (workshop)                | 28·0|   36·2   |  35·8  |  13   10   |
  |Shirt, blouse,              |     |          |        |            |
  |  underclothing, etc.       | 22·2|   46·0   |  31·8  |  13    4   |
  |Boot and shoe (ready-made)  | 12·4|   58·9   |  28·7  |  13    1   |
  |Tailoring (ready-made)      | 24·0|   46·6   |  29·4  |  12   11   |
  |Laundry (factory)           | 20·5|   52·0   |  27·5  |  12   10   |
  |Corsets (factory)           | 28·8|   48·3   |  22·9  |  12    2   |
  +-------------------------------------------------------------------+

It will be seen that the dress, millinery and mantle-making group is
divided into two according to whether the place of manufacture is a
workshop or factory. For this purpose a workshop means a place where
mechanical power is not used, and a factory a place where such power is
used. The distinction also roughly corresponds to the difference between
ordered or bespoke and ready-made garments, ordered garments being made
principally in workshops, and ready-made garments principally though not
so exclusively in factories. This being the case it may perhaps be
surprising that the average for the workshop section, namely 13s. 10d., is
so appreciably below that for the factory section, namely 15s. 5d., and
the statistics in this respect serve to indicate that the introduction of
mechanical power and other labour-saving devices into industry by no means
implies that from the point of view of wages the workers employed will be
any worse off.

The workshop section of the dress, etc., trade is almost entirely a
woman's trade, the number of men and boys being insignificant. Within the
trade itself a considerable range of earnings exists. Fitters and cutters
form the aristocracy of the profession, but one which is recruited from
the humbler ranks. The average earnings for the United Kingdom of those
who "lived out" amounted to 33s. 5d., and of those who "lived in" 27s. 9d.

The practice of "living in" and being provided with full board and
lodging, or at any rate being provided with partial board, is a feature of
this section of the trade, some 2500 women and girls out of 40,000
included in the returns being noted as receiving payment in kind in
addition to their cash wages.

Another feature of the trade is the relatively large number of apprentices
or learners who received no wages at all, 8·7 per cent of the women and
girls in the dressmaking trade, 43 per cent of the milliners, and 17 per
cent of the mantle-makers being so returned. These, of course, would be
mostly under eighteen years of age, and their inclusion in the statistics
would not affect the average given in the table for women. Considering the
general level of earnings which the statistics disclose, one can only
conjecture that, as in certain men's professions, the existence of a few
well-paid posts exercises an attraction to enter the trade, the strength
of which is out of all proportion to the chance of obtaining one of these
prizes.

Factory dressmaking is at present a relatively small but at the same time
rapidly-growing group. Being confined mainly to the production of
ready-made clothes the process of cutting is capable of being standardised
and systematised in such a way that the degree of skill required is much
less than that looked for in the highly-paid cutter and fitter of the
"made-to-order" workshop. The other processes also tend to conform to a
certain uniform standard of skill. Hence the range of earnings is much
less wide than in the workshop section of the trade, though as before
noted the general level is higher. It should also be observed that while
time-work is the usual method adopted in the workshops, payment by piece
is very common in factories, and the detailed statistics furnished in the
official report make it clear that this method gives the diligent and
rapid worker a distinct advantage. It is worth noting that the group
showing the highest earnings is that of hand or foot machinists on piece
work. In the dress and costume section the average was 16s. 2d., and in
the mantle section 17s. 8d., as compared with 15s. 5d. for all women.
Statistics also indicate that the fluctuations of employment are much less
extreme in the factory than in the workshop section of the trade, and on
the whole, therefore, it is probably not a matter for regret that the
factory-made article is tending to displace that of the workshop. That the
process of displacement is rapid is indicated by the fact that while,
according to returns made in connection with the Factory and Workshop
Acts, the employment of women in dress, millinery and mantle-making
factories increased by 16 per cent between 1904 and 1907, the numbers
employed in workshops diminished by 7 per cent. The change from the one
system to the other does not always imply a change of workers or even of
premises. The introduction of an electric motor to drive some of the
sewing-machines is sufficient to alter the denomination of an
establishment from workshop to factory; though at the same time it is
probable that such an innovation would not take place unless some
alteration in the general method or organisation of work were also
contemplated.

The tailoring trade has many points of contact with the dress and
mantle-making trade which has just been reviewed. It too is divided with
some sharpness into a made-to-order or bespoke, and a ready-made section.
The distinction does not imply perhaps quite so clear a division between
factories and workshops, though in this trade also it may be taken as
broadly true that the bespoke is the workshop and the ready-made is the
factory section. In this connection one interesting point of contrast is
presented by the statistics, for it will be seen that while, as before
noted, the factory section of the dress and mantle-making trade showed a
higher general level of earnings than the workshop section, the reverse is
true of the tailoring trade. This is probably due principally to two
facts. The first is that while the work in the bespoke shop is usually
skilled, it does not necessitate any exceptionally well-paid work such as
that done by cutters and trimmers in the dressmaking establishment. The
cutting and other highly-skilled work is done by men, so that women enter
the trade without the inducement afforded by the chance, however small, of
rising to 35s., £2, or even £3 a week which is offered by the dressmaking
workshop. It is probable, moreover, that the small dress and mantle-making
shop enjoys a certain reputation of "gentility" which is less marked in
the tailoring establishment, and finds its equivalent in higher wages. The
second fact is that the processes of simplification and subdivision which
broadly are the characteristics of factory as distinct from workshop
methods can be carried further in the manufacture of men's suits than in
that of ladies' dresses and costumes, so that the general level of skill
requisite to the factory worker is somewhat lower in the one case than in
the other. We thus find that while the average in tailoring workshops is
14s. 2d. as compared with 13s. 10d. in dressmaking shops, the average in
tailoring factories is 12s. 11d. as compared with 15s. 5d. in dressmaking
factories.

Since the statistics were compiled minimum rates have been fixed under the
Trade Boards Act to apply to the ready-made and wholesale bespoke sections
of the tailoring trade, and there is no doubt that with the minimum rate
of 3-1/4d.[54] an hour, fixed for Great Britain, statistics relating to
the present time would show a marked improvement on those relating to
1906, since a _minimum_ rate of 3-1/4d. probably implies in most cases an
average rate of 3-1/2d. or even 3-3/4d. Moreover, on the testimony of
employers themselves the introduction of a minimum rate has had a
stimulating effect on the trade, bringing about on the part of employers a
vigilance and alacrity to make improvements in organisation, which have
had an effect on the efficiency of the workers and consequently on their
earnings, so that in many cases the Trade Board minimum has become merely
a historical landmark left behind on a road of steady progress.

So far as the 1906 figures are concerned it will be seen that the average
for the United Kingdom in the bespoke section was 14s. 2d. The detailed
statistics show that London was the highest-paid district, with 16s. 2d.,
and Ireland the lowest, with 12s.

As ladies' costume-making has points of contact with men's tailoring, so
the tailoring trade merges almost imperceptibly through various gradations
of linen and cotton jackets, overalls, etc., into the shirt-making trade,
and this again is closely combined, and, indeed, for statistical purposes
forms one group with the manufacture of blouses and underclothing.

The shirt, blouse and underclothing trade has become a factory trade to a
much more marked extent than either dressmaking or tailoring. By tradition
shirt-making is the sweated trade _par excellence_. But, as in many other
instances, tradition has outlived the fact, the statistics showing that
while the average earnings, 13s. 4d., are low absolutely, the trade is
nearer the top than the bottom of the clothing trade list, notwithstanding
the fact that the manufacture of shirts is combined for the purpose of the
statistics with that of articles, such as baby linen, in respect of which
the wages are almost certainly much lower than those for men's shirts. It
should be noted, however, that the wages of home-workers are nowhere
included in the statistics.

The boot and shoe trade, unlike most of the others in the clothing group,
is mainly a man's trade, considerably more than half of the total number
employed being males. Women are employed chiefly as machinists or upper
closers, or as fitters in both cases, being concerned with the manufacture
of the top or upper. The trade is carried on in many centres, the
principal being, perhaps, Leicester, Northampton, Kettering, Bristol,
Norwich, Leeds, and Glasgow. The highest earnings of women are recorded
for Manchester, the average being 17s. 6d., and the lowest for Norwich,
where the average is only 10s. 6d. It is worth noting that the high
average for women in Manchester is combined with a relatively low average
for men, namely, 27s. 8d.

The laundry trade gives employment to a large number of women, the Factory
Returns for 1907 showing that 61,802 were employed in laundries using
mechanical power, and 26,012 in laundries where such power was not used.
For the whole of the United Kingdom the averages for power and for hand
laundries were practically the same, being 12s. 10d. in the one case and
12s. 9d. in the other. In the case of power laundries Ireland is at the
bottom of the list with an average of 10s. 4d., and the best-paid
districts, namely, London, show an average of only 13s. 6d. A recent
attempt to bring the power laundry industry within the scope of the Trade
Boards Act has failed, the employers opposing the Provisional Order mainly
on the ground of certain alleged technical defects of definition.

Of other trades in which women are largely employed the following
selection may be made forming a somewhat miscellaneous group.

TABLE C

  +-------------------------------------------------------------------+
  |                            |  Percentage number of   |            |
  |                            | women working full time |            |
  |                            |  whose earnings in the  |            |
  |                            |    last pay-week of     |            |
  |     Industries.            |   September 1906 fell   |            |
  |                            |        within the       |            |
  |                            | undermentioned limits.  |  Average   |
  |                            |-------------------------|earnings for|
  |                            |Under| 10s. and |15s. and| full time. |
  |                            | 10s.|under 15s.| over.  |            |
  |----------------------------|-----|----------|--------|------------|
  |All paper, printing, etc.,  |     |          |        |  s.    d.  |
  |  trades                    | 26·5|   52·2   |  21·3  |  12    2   |
  |----------------------------|-----|----------|--------|------------|
  |Bookbinding                 | 19·3|   55·4   |  25·3  |  12   10   |
  |Printing                    | 28·0|   49·2   |  22·8  |  12    3   |
  |Cardboard, canvas, etc.,    |     |          |        |            |
  |  box manufacture           | 24·7|   55·1   |  20·2  |  12    3   |
  |Paper stationery manufacture| 30·4|   49·5   |  20·1  |  11   11   |
  |Paper manufacture           | 25·9|   55·8   |  18·3  |  11   11   |
  |----------------------------|-----|----------|--------|------------|
  |All pottery, brick, glass,  |     |          |        |            |
  |  and chemical              | 31·0|   49·7   |  19·3  |  11   10   |
  |----------------------------|-----|----------|--------|------------|
  |Explosives                  | 32·3|   35·0   |  32·7  |  13    1   |
  |Soap and candle             | 24·3|   50·5   |  25·2  |  12    5   |
  |Porcelain, china, and       |     |          |        |            |
  |  earthenware               | 29·0|   50·0   |  21·0  |  11   11   |
  |Brick, tile, pipe, etc.     | 25·7|   64·4   |   9·9  |  11    5   |
  |----------------------------|-----|----------|--------|------------|
  |All food, drink, and tobacco| 37·8|   44·2   |  18·0  |  11    5   |
  |----------------------------|-----|----------|--------|------------|
  |Tobacco, cigar, cigarette,  |     |          |        |            |
  |  and snuff                 | 31·1|   46·0   |  22·9  |  12    0   |
  |Cocoa, chocolate, and sugar |     |          |        |            |
  |  confectionery             | 40·5|   37·2   |  22·3  |  11    9   |
  |Preserved food, jam, pickle,|     |          |        |            |
  |  sauce, etc.               | 44·4|   43·0   |  12·6  |  10   11   |
  |Biscuit making              | 33·6|   53·5   |  12·9  |  10   10   |
  |Aerated water, etc.,        |     |          |        |            |
  |  manufacture and general   |     |          |        |            |
  |  bottling                  | 54·8|   42·7   |   2·5  |   9    7   |
  |----------------------------|-----|----------|--------|------------|
  |Miscellaneous               |  .. |    ..    |   ..   |  12   4    |
  |----------------------------|-----|----------|--------|------------|
  |Umbrella, parasol, and      |     |          |        |            |
  |  stick making              | 10·1|   38·5   |  51·4  |  15   7    |
  |Portmanteau, bag, purse, and|     |          |        |            |
  |  miscellaneous leather     |     |          |        |            |
  |  manufacture               | 20·3|   56·3   |  23·4  |  12   8    |
  |India-rubber, gutta-percha, |     |          |        |            |
  |  etc.                      | 14·7|   68·3   |  17·0  |  12   8    |
  |Saddlery, harness, and whip |     |          |        |            |
  |  manufacture               | 37·5|   55·7   |   6·8  |  10   7    |
  |Brush and broom             | 47·0|   42·5   |  10·5  |  10   6    |
  +-------------------------------------------------------------------+

Of the above trades, cardboard box-making, sugar confectionery,
jam-making, and food preserving come within the scope of the Trade Boards
Act, and for these occupations minimum wages have been fixed. The jam and
food preserving trade showed in 1906 the low average for women of 10s.
11d., 45 per cent of the women employed earning less than 10s. and over 26
per cent less than 9s. for a full week. This trade is also remarkable for
heavy seasonal fluctuations.

By whatever standard the average weekly earnings of women in the trades
which have been noted are judged, the outstanding conclusion is that they
are generally low to a degree which suggests a serious social problem.
Averages of less than 13s. are frequent in all three Tables which have
been presented, and the reader should be again reminded that these
averages are for women over eighteen years of age working a _full_ week.
Girls and also women working short time have been excluded. For the sake
of brevity, details have not been given in many cases of the percentages
of women earning wages between certain stated limits. But it needs to be
recognised that an average suggests wages which are below as well as above
that figure. Generally it may be stated that where an average is given,
from 40 to 50 per cent of the women employed earn wages at less, and in
many cases at very much less than the average.

Various attempts have been made to calculate the minimum sum required by a
woman living independently of relatives to maintain herself in decency and
with a meagre degree of comfort. The estimates point to a sum of from 14s.
6d. to 15s. a week as the minimum requirement, and this assumes that the
worker possesses knowledge, which she has probably in fact had no chance
to acquire, of how best to spend her money and satisfy her wants in the
order not of her own immediate desires, but of their social importance. At
present prices the minimum would be 17s. or 18s.

In the light of this estimate we may note that in the clothing trade
group, for example, 25·9 per cent of those returned earned less than 10s.
per week, and applying this percentage to the total number as shown by the
Factory Returns to have been employed in this particular industry in 1907,
namely, 432,668, we arrive at the conclusion that no fewer than 111,681
women were in receipt of wages which, measured by a not very exacting
standard, were grossly inadequate.

The figures with which we have been dealing are, however, those for a week
of full time. No allowance has been made for sickness or holidays, and
what is more important, short time or slackness.

Almost every trade fluctuates throughout the year, and in many cases this
fluctuation is considerable. For example, in the Dress, Millinery
(workshop) Section the wages paid in the month of August were only 78 per
cent of the monthly average, or, for London alone, 66 per cent. Though
short time in one month is partially offset by overtime in another, there
is but little doubt that in most trades and in most years the balance
comes out on the wrong side, and, properly studied, the Wage Census
volumes reveal the fact that unemployment and short time are important
factors when considering women's wages from the point of view of the
maintenance of decent conditions of living.

In many respects the wages for a full-time week which we have so far been
considering are indeed an artificial figure. High weekly wages in a trade
where there is much slackness may obviously be less than the equivalent of
low wages in a trade where conditions are steadier. If we are to consider
wages in relation to the needs of the worker, therefore, it is the year
rather than the week which should be taken as the unit. For many reasons,
however, earnings _per year_ are extremely difficult to determine, and
nothing more than an approximation is practicable.

Dr. Bowley's[55] method is to compare the full-time weekly wage multiplied
by fifty-two with the total wage bill for the year, divided by the number
employed in the busiest week: that is, the week when it may be assumed
that all persons dependent on the trade will be employed except those who
are prevented by ill-health. Supposing, for example, the total wages bill
in a certain trade were £400,000, and the number of persons employed in
the busiest week were 16,000. The average amount per person per year would
be £25 as compared with, say, £29 : 5s., which represents 52 times an
assumed full-time weekly wage of 11s. 3d. We can thus say in this
supposititious case that the yearly earnings of the workers in fact equal
only 52 × 25/29-1/4, or 44 weeks at the full-time weekly wages.

Owing to certain gaps in the statistical information these results are
subject to certain qualifications of a nature somewhat too technical to
enlarge upon in such a book as this. They may be accepted, however, as
substantially establishing the fact that overtime does not in general
counterbalance short time and slackness, and that in the foregoing review
of earnings on the basis of a full-time week we have been dealing with
figures which are distinctly rosier than the facts warrant.


THE MOVEMENT AND TENDENCIES OF WOMEN'S WAGES

A retrospect of women's wages based on such data as are available confirms
the view that, low as is the present level, the movement is nevertheless
in an upward direction.

In the cotton trade, employing more than half the women in all textile
trades, women's wages have risen continuously throughout the period of
which we have information. Mr. G. H. Wood, F.S.S., who has made the
movement of wages his special study, estimates that taking the general
level of women's wages in 1860 as 100, the level in 1840 would be
expressed by 75 and in 1900 by 160, so that in the period of sixty years
covered by these figures women's rates of wages would appear to have
increased by more than 100 per cent. Though perhaps not so considerable, a
similar movement has occurred in other trades, and it is interesting to
note that in Mr. Wood's view women's wages have risen relatively more than
men's. Unfortunately, however, the statistics which are available, and on
which his conclusion is based, do not include the great clothing and
dressmaking industry which, from the point of view of women's employment,
is so important. An enquiry on the lines of the 1906 Census was indeed
attempted in the year 1886, but the results are meagre. It may be noted,
however, that comparison of the results with those for 1906 tends to show
that in some branches of the clothing trades wages declined. This fall in
the rate of wages, if such a conclusion is justified, is, however,
probably to be regarded as an exception to the general tendency as
exhibited in the cotton and certain other trades.

The occupation of women in many fields of employment with which they are
still principally associated, such as spinning and the making of clothes,
is probably as ancient as the industries themselves. The employment of
women as wage-earners in such work is, however, comparatively recent. As a
member of a family, or as a servant or retainer, woman has worked for
generations in many tasks which formerly were, but now, with the increased
specialisation of industry, have ceased to be, part of the ordinary
routine of domestic activity. From this condition it was an easy
transition to the frequent employment of women to assist in their master's
craft, or in the deliberate production for sale of a surplus of articles
beyond what were required for family needs.

It was probably not until the factory system developed, however, in the
latter half of the eighteenth century, that women were employed to any
considerable extent as wage-earners in industry, and even when they were
so employed there was an intermediate stage in which it was not unusual
for the father or head of the family to appropriate their earnings and
apply them as he pleased. Gaskell lamented the fact that the custom was
creeping in of paying individual wages to women and children, thinking
that it would break family ties. Though it still sometimes happens that
members of a family work together in mills, Gaskell's fears were
undoubtedly justified. Family ties, however, are of many kinds, and it is
probably not correct to assume that the disintegration of the family as a
producing or industrial unit indicates a relaxation of these emotions of
affection, loyalty, and responsibility which spring to mind when the
family is regarded in its social and ethical relationships.

The fact must, moreover, be noted as bearing directly upon the chief
problem of women's wages that although the family as a producing unit is
no longer of considerable importance, as a spending unit it exercises a
fundamental influence on the industrial system. From the point of view of
food, lodging, medicine, and other items of expenditure, a person is more
interested as a rule in the collective income of the family group to which
he belongs than in his own individual contribution. Many mining districts
in which men can earn large wages show a low wage level for women, while
in such a district as Hebden Bridge, where, as the phrase goes, it pays a
man better to have daughters than sons, the opposite condition prevails.
In both cases the wages are influenced, broadly speaking, by the standard
of comfort of the family rather than by that of the individual.

If it were the invariable rule for a worker to belong to a family group,
and if families were uniform as regards the number and sex distribution of
their members, there would be no great cause to regret the influence of
the collective family budget upon wages. But conditions are not uniform,
and in districts or trades in which the wage level is largely affected by
the presence of women whose fathers and brothers are relatively
well-to-do, the position of a woman living alone in lodgings is apt to be
a hard one. Where a father earns enough to maintain his family in
reasonable comfort, the daughters going to work in a factory may be
willing to accept wages no more than sufficient to provide them with
clothes and pocket-money, but quite inadequate to afford their workmate
who is living independently a sufficient livelihood.

These considerations are closely connected with the question whether, in
estimating what is a fair wage for a woman, we should proceed on the basis
of a woman living alone in lodgings, or whether we should admit as a
proper consideration the fact that in many cases the woman would live with
her parents and family, and would have the advantage, if not of assistance
from them, at least of that economy in expenditure which the family group
represents.

Statistics as to the number of women who live independently are difficult
to obtain, and it is doubtful whether such women form the majority of
those employed. It may be granted, however, that in certain districts and
certain trades the proportion is small, and in these cases it might be
asked whether we should not ignore the type which is exceptional and
consider the wages paid on the basis of actual rather than hypothetical
needs. This, it may be argued, is already done in the case of children or
young persons, in connection with whom the question is never asked whether
the wages paid are sufficient to maintain them independently.

The answer appears to be clear, though it brings us up against certain
moral considerations. It may be true that the women in a certain industry
or town, in spite of low wages, are all in fact well nourished and
comfortable, members as they are of families which as families are
well-to-do. Great as may be the respect which kinship deserves, it is
submitted, however, that no normal woman should be compelled by economic
exigencies to live with persons towards whom she has not voluntarily
undertaken responsibilities, and that the freedom which economic
independence implies is a right to which every woman willing to work may
properly lay claim.

Even, therefore, though we dismiss from consideration the great number of
women who have no choice but to live entirely on their own earnings, there
are still grounds on which the position can be maintained that the single
woman living alone with reasonable frugality is the proper test by which,
from the point of view of what is right and desirable, wages should be
measured.

It should be noted, moreover, that the issue is not solely between women
who live alone and women who are partly supported by their families. There
are also the women who have dependents. According to the 1911 population
Census over one-fifth[56] of occupied women were not single, but married
or widowed, and many of these doubtless have children to support. The
Fabian Women's Group enquiry showed that about half the women workers
canvassed had dependents. The Labour Commission of the United States, in
course of investigating the condition of women and child wage-earners,
found that in a group of 300 families 43 per cent of the family income was
contributed by unmarried women over sixteen.[57] Again, Miss Louise
Bosworth, in a study of _The Living Wage of Women Workers_, published in
1911, found that "the girls working for pin-money were negligible
factors." So far from girl workers being mostly supported at home, it
appears that in many cases the earnings of the single daughter or sister
living with her family, small as they are, are an important element in the
family income.

It has been shown in the previous section that even in the relatively
well-paid women's trades there are large numbers of adult women in receipt
of wages which are scarcely compatible with mere physical existence, much
less a decent and comfortable life. Men's wages, even in low-paid trades,
are usually sufficient to enable a man who has not undertaken family
responsibilities--which after all are entirely voluntary--to obtain a
sufficiency of food and warmth. The remuneration of working-class women
are in the majority of cases, however, barely adequate to satisfy this
austere standard. We naturally ask, therefore, why this difference should
exist.

The occupations in which men and women are indifferently employed are
relatively few in number. Even where men and women are employed side by
side in the same trade they are usually engaged on different processes.
The points where overlapping occurs are, however, sufficiently numerous to
enable us to make the generalisation that in those industrial processes in
which both men and women are employed the efficiency or output of the man
is greater than that of the woman worker. In other words, the man is
_worth_ more, and his higher wages are an expression of this fact.

Even where the man's dexterity or skill is no greater than that of the
woman's his wages still tend to be greater. Usually if an employer can get
both men and women workers he is prepared to pay somewhat more to a man
even though the man's output per hour is no greater than that of a woman.
Put bluntly, a male worker is less bother than is a female worker. A
female staff is always to some extent an anxiety and a source of trouble
to an employer in a way that a male staff is not, and to many employers it
has the great defect of being less able to cope with sudden rushes of
work. Men are, after all, made of harder stuff than women, and only in the
grossest cases do we ever give a thought to men being overworked. With
women, however, not only the Factory Act, but also decent feeling requires
an employer to be vigilant to see that undue strain is not placed on them.

The greater remuneration of men in those occupations where both men and
women are employed on the same processes is then due to the fact that the
men are preferred to women, and employers are accordingly willing to pay
more to get them.

Such occupations, however, probably form the exception rather than the
rule, and we have to consider the cases where there is apparently no sex
competition whatever. The nursery-maid wheels the baby's perambulator on
the pavement; the mechanic drives his motor van in the road. They do not
compete for employment in any sense. Generally, indeed, custom has
indicated with a fair degree of preciseness what are men's occupations and
what are women's. Why, then, in distinctively women's occupations should
the wages paid be lower than men's? The answer is not easy, but the key to
the problem is to be found in the broad statement that the field of
employment of women is much more restricted than that of men. Hence the
competition of women for employment reduces their general wage level to a
lower point than that of men, or, as an economist would put it, the
marginal uses of female labour are inferior to those of male labour.

What is needed, therefore, is an enlargement of the sphere in which women
can find employment; not, be it noted, an increase merely in the number of
occupations, but in the _kinds_ of occupations. Pursuit of this end will
no doubt raise questions regarding the displacement of male labour, but it
is fortunate that in many cases woman's claim would be most strenuously
contested in respect of those occupations which are least suited to her,
and which she ought not to enter. The need of discrimination must be
emphasised. An excursion to the black country should convince even the
most ardent feminist that at the present time tasks are permitted to women
which from every point of view--their dirtiness, their arduousness, and
the strain which they impose on certain muscles--are entirely unsuitable.
It would be folly to increase the number of such tasks. Attention should
be directed to those occupations in which womanly characteristics would
have their value, and in which a woman would not be physically at a
disadvantage. It is to be hoped that public sentiment would then be the
ally rather than the enemy of the movement. The displacement of male
typists by female typists, and the larger employment of women in clerical
occupations, and as shop assistants, to say nothing of the introduction of
women officials in the sphere of local and central government, undoubtedly
represent an advance in the right direction. Paradoxical as it may seem,
an effective means of enlarging the field of women's activities might be
found in the awakening of public feeling against employments which are
unsuitable. The process of analysis and comparison which is implied by
criticism of such employments would undoubtedly indicate directions in
which women's work could be utilised more satisfactorily. This is a
consideration of paramount importance in view of the opportunities and
necessities to which the present war has given and will give rise. It is
for those who influence public opinion to see that in the readjustment of
the economic relationship between men and women reasonable discrimination
is exercised.

The prohibition of the employment of women on unsuitable work, combined
with educational effort which would make women capable of better and more
responsible work, would give women-workers access to many kinds of
employment from which they are practically excluded at present. Much that
is unsatisfactory and regrettable in industrial life is the result of
sheer inertia and drift, and many an employer would find new and cleaner
and more remunerative methods of employing women if stimulated by the law
and encouraged by an ability on the part of the women to respond to new
methods. The principle of the Factory Acts, and of the minimum wage,
requiring a minimum of safety or comfort and of remuneration, should be
reinforced and strengthened not merely for the sake of its face
value--great though it is--but also for the sake of its stimulating effect
on the management of businesses and its consequent tendency to increase
remuneration. At the same time an attempt should be made to encourage in
girls some sense of craftsmanship and loyalty to their callings, so that
their organisation in trade unions or guilds would become possible. With a
few exceptions collective bargaining and the collective maintenance of a
standard of remuneration are, as regards women's employment, merely
sporadic and intermittent. It is the young woman, the irresponsible
immature untrained amateur worker, without an industrial tradition to
guide her, who is the despair of organised labour. The irresponsibility
and indifference to organisation which she displays are, as often as not,
due to the fact that her employment may not afford a decent livelihood,
and that she is forced to look forward to and seek marriage as the only
way out of an impossible life. But it is also true to say that her
inadequate wages are due to her irresponsibility and indifference. There
is inextricable confusion between cause and effect--a vicious circle which
can only be broken by patient methods of training, helped by the initial
impulse of a legal minimum wage and a legally prescribed standard of
general conditions.



CHAPTER VII[58]

THE EFFECTS OF THE WAR ON THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN


_The Shock of War._--The great European War broke out in the summer of
1914.

The shock was felt at once by trade and industry. July ended in scenes of
widespread trouble and dismay. The Stock Exchange closed, and the August
Bank Holiday was prolonged for nearly a week. Many failures occurred, and
there was at first a general lack of confidence and credit. Energetic
measures were promptly taken by the Government to restore a sense of
security, and unemployment among men during the ensuing year was much less
than had been anticipated. Unemployment among women was for a time very
severe. For this unfavourable position of women there are several reasons.

In the first place, any surplus of male labour was met at once by a
corresponding new demand for recruits and the drafting of many hundreds of
thousands of young men into the army, aided by the rush of employment in
Government factories and workshops, served to correct the dislocation of
the male labour market. Women were unfortunate in that the cotton trade,
by far the largest staple industry in which a majority of the employees
are women, was also the trade to suffer the greatest injury by the war.

_The Cotton Trade._--Employment had begun to be slack some time
previously, and the cutting off of the German market was naturally a
considerable blow. Exact statistics are almost impossible to obtain, as
the numbers of looms stopped or working short time varied from week to
week; but figures collected for the week ending October 3 show that
between 58,000 and 59,000 members of the Amalgamated Weavers' Association
were out of work, and over 30,000 were on short time. At Burnley, over
half the looms were stopped; at Preston, over a third. In November, when
things had greatly improved, about 36 per cent of the looms were still
standing idle.

The amount of short time, or "under-employment," was also very
considerable, as is shown by the fact that the reduction in earnings
exceeded the reduction in numbers employed. The following table is taken
from the _Labour Gazette_, December 1914, and shows the state of
employment in the principal centres of the cotton trade. The figures
include men as well as women; but as women predominate in the industry,
they may be considered as a fair index to the women's position.

WEEK ENDING NOVEMBER 28, 1914, COMPARED WITH SAME MONTH IN PREVIOUS YEAR.

  +-------------------------------------------------+
  |                            |Decrease per cent in|
  |      Districts.            | Numbers | Amount of|
  |                            |Employed.| Earnings.|
  |----------------------------|---------|----------|
  |Ashton                      |  17·6   |   26·2   |
  |Stockport, Glossop, and Hyde|  11·6   |   22·0   |
  |Oldham                      |   8·4   |   17·5   |
  |Bolton                      |   2·6   |   13·5   |
  |Bury, Rochdale, etc.        |   7·4   |   17·7   |
  |Manchester                  |   3·3   |   15·5   |
  |Preston and Chorley         |  14·6   |   31·7   |
  |Blackburn, etc.             |  18·0   |   40·9   |
  |Burnley, etc.               |   4·3   |   47·6   |
  |Other Lancashire towns      |  15·4   |   32·0   |
  |Yorkshire towns             |  13·0   |   20·1   |
  |Other districts             |  11·2   |   20·6   |
  |                            |---------|----------|
  |         Total              |  12·1   |   27·1   |
  +-------------------------------------------------+

In all these districts women would be affected much the same as men, and
would be out of work in about the same proportion, but as women form a
majority of the occupation, a much larger number of women were in distress
and were without any resource comparable to that open to the men of
recruiting age. In these circumstances the funds of the Unions suffered a
terrible strain. The workers' organisations were faced with the dilemma
whether to pay stoppage benefit to members with a generous hand, in which
case they ran the risk of depleting their funds and losing the strength
necessary for effective protection of the standard of life; or, on the
other hand, to guard their reserve for the future and leave many of their
members to suffer distress with the inevitable result of loss of health
and efficiency.

As the winter 1914-15 wore onwards unemployment in the cotton trade
gradually became less acute, but for several months the suffering of the
operatives must have been considerable.

_Some other Trades._--In London the position was of course extremely
unlike that of Lancashire, but we again find the women suffering heavily,
and (but for comparatively a few) without the support and assistance of a
union. At the first news of war, dressmakers, actresses, typists,
secretaries, and the followers of small "luxury trades" (toilet
specialities, manicuring, and the like) were thrown out of work in large
numbers. Not only in London, but in the country at large, the following
trades were greatly depressed: dressmaking, millinery, blouse-making,
fancy boot and shoe-making, the umbrella trade, cycle and carriage making,
the jewellery trade, furniture making, china and glass trades. In some
cases the general dislocation was intensified by a shortage of material
due to war: the closing of the Baltic cut off supplies of flax from
Russia, on which our linen trade largely depends. The closing of the North
Sea to fishers stopped the curing of herrings, which normally employs
thousands of women, and both the chemical and confectionery trades
suffered from the stoppage of imports from Germany.

The Board of Trade's Report on the State of Employment in October 1914
gave the reduction of women's employment in London as 10·5 per cent in
September, 7·0 per cent in October. But this estimate was for all
industries taken together, some of which were in a state of "boom" owing
to the war, and it is certain that the occupations referred to above must
have suffered much more heavily than the average. Many girls spent weeks
in the heart-sickening and exhausting search for employment. In November
the dressmaking, mantle-making, and shirt- and collar-making were in a
worse condition than in the previous month, although trade generally had
improved.

_The Woollen and Clothing Trades._--In these trades the war brought a
veritable "tidal-wave" of prosperity. The industrial centres of our Allies
were to a considerable extent in the hands of the enemy; thus, not only
new clothes for our regular troops and reserves, and uniforms for the new
armies that were shortly recruited, but also those for the troops of our
Allies were called for in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The woollen towns
of this district became the busiest places in the world, and orders
overflowed into Scotland and the somewhat decayed but still celebrated
clothing region of the West of England.

The first expedient to cope with the enormous pressure of orders was to
relax the Factory Act. In normal times no overtime is allowed in textile
industries to workers under the operation of the Act (viz. women, girls
under eighteen, boys under eighteen, and children), and employment is
limited to ten hours a day. In view of the tremendous issues involved,
permission was given to employ women and young persons for two hours'
overtime. The results, as it turned out, soon showed, however, that
overtime is bad economy, for the number of accidents increased greatly in
the period of greatest pressure, and averaged one a day in the December
quarter, and the secretary of the Union also reported that the period
during which these very long hours were worked coincided with a
remarkable increase of illness among the operatives involved. Probably
one-third more cases were on the Approved Societies' books during December
than in September and October.[59] Although the women rose most pluckily
to the occasion and did their heavy task cheerfully in the consciousness
of supplying their country's need, it is certain that many were taxed
beyond their strength, and in January 1915 the overtime permitted was
reduced to nine hours weekly. The women, when they complained, complained
not of overwork but of insufficient pay. An increase of 1-1/2d. per hour
during overtime was asked, and considering the strain involved, seems a
far from excessive demand; but the trade is unfortunately much less well
organised than the cotton trade, and female workers--73 per cent of the
whole--could not in most districts enforce this claim. Khaki is more
trying to the operatives than some other kinds of cloth to which they are
better accustomed, and it is more difficult to weave. Even with overtime
work the women did not earn much more than they would working usual hours
on ordinary cloth. The wages paid appear to have been, as so often is the
case with women's work, chaotic. Many employers honourably paid a fair or
recognised price; others took advantage of the weakness of the workers to
pay rates not far from sweating prices. In the clothing trade the
Government was conscientiously paying handsome rates to contractors for
the making of uniforms, but without effectively enforcing the payment of
fair wages to labour by the contractors. Hence even the Trade Board
minimum--a low standard, especially considering the rise of prices--was
successfully evaded by some firms.[60]

_Maladjustment and Readjustment._--The question may well be asked, why
women should suffer unemployment in war-time at all. War produces an
urgent demand for a great deal of the work women are best fitted to do,
such as nursing, the making of clothes and underclothes, the manufacture
of food stuffs and provisions on a large scale, the organisation of
commissariat and hospitals, the collection and overlooking of stores. In
point of fact, the requirements of the troops, as we have seen, provided
increased employment for some women, though probably not for nearly as
many as those who suffered from the shrinkage of ordinary trade at the
beginning of the winter; later on the demand became so great that there
was an actual scarcity of women workers in many trades.

One strange feature of those autumn months of 1914 was that while recruits
were continually to be seen marching in plain clothes, without a uniform,
numbers of London tailors and tailoresses were without employment. Many of
the recruits were also, at first at all events, unprovided with needful
elementary comforts, and amateurs were continually pressed to work at
shirts and knitting for them. Women employed in the manufacture of stuffs
or clothing for the troops or in certain processes of the manufacture of
armaments or appurtenances were overworked, while other women were totally
or partially out of work. The characteristic immobility of labour was
perhaps never more clearly seen.

It may be admitted of course that a wholesale transference of workers from
the area of slump to the area of boom would never be possible all at once.
The machines necessary for special work will not at first be forthcoming
in numbers sufficient to meet a demand suddenly increased in so enormous a
proportion. Then, again, a new demand for labour is usually a demand
predominantly for young workers, and the older women thrown out of work
may find it very difficult to adapt themselves to new requirements. Skill
and practice in the handling of machines are necessary; machines differ
very greatly. A dressmaker cannot, off-hand, be set to make cartridges or
even uniforms. In some branches of industry a high degree of specialised
skill may be a positive disadvantage in acquiring the methods of an allied
but lower skilled trade; _e.g._ it has been found that tailors and
tailoresses who have become expert in the handwork still largely used for
the best "bespoke" work, the aristocracy of the trade, cannot easily adapt
themselves to the modern "team work" tailoring, in which division of
labour and the use of machinery play a considerable part; they may even
impair their own special skill by attempting it.[61] In some processes a
delicate sensitiveness of finger is a first essential for the work, and
the operatives dare not take up any rough work which might impair this
delicacy, their stock-in-trade and capital. Again, the difference of
wage-levels in different industries is a cause of immobility of labour.
Lancashire cotton workers might have adapted themselves without much
difficulty to the processes of the Yorkshire woollen trade, but they could
not have accepted the rates current in an imperfectly organised trade, and
there would have been obvious difficulty in paying imported workers at a
scale higher than those enjoyed by the local operatives.

A good deal of dovetailing, however, can be done to bring the work to the
workers or the workers to the work, and much more could have been done if
the Local Government Board had taken the question of unemployment more
seriously in the years preceding the war. But the local bodies were
uninstructed, and in many cases had little idea of anything better than
doles. In spite of the funds collected, there can be little doubt that
much suffering, especially among women, was neglected and let alone, and
the irregular payment of separation allowances at the beginning of the war
added to the distress.

Voluntary effort, it needs hardly saying, was instantly ready to do its
best to meet the occasion. The Suffrage Societies, in especial, did
splendid work in improvising employment bureaux and relief workrooms for
the sufferers. A special fund and committee were also formed, under the
style of the Central Committee for Women's Employment, to find new
channels of employment for women. This Committee was presided over by the
Queen, and was aided in its labours by specialists highly versed in
industrial conditions, and its efforts for adjustment are full of
interest.

The primary aim of this Committee was to equalise employment in factories
and workshops. The problem was how to achieve the adaptation, as far as
possible, of unemployed firms and workers to new and urgent national
needs. It had been supposed that only certain special firms could make
army clothing, and that the numerous women and girls thrown out of work in
ordinary wholesale tailoring would be unable to do unaccustomed work. A
business adviser of the Committee suggested to the War Office authorities
some simplifications in the make of military greatcoats and uniforms. The
experiment was tried, with the result that many thousand great-coats and
uniforms were made by firms which under the dominance of red tape must
have stopped work. In the shirt-making, also, much unemployment occurred
at first, and the Committee gave information to firms not previously
employed by Government that they could apply for contracts. Carpet-yarn
factories were utilised for the supply of yarn to satisfy the enormous
demand created by the war. Numbers of orders for shirts, socks, and belts
were placed in dressmakers' workrooms, and carried out by women whose
normal occupation had failed them.

Another field of this Committee's work was to stimulate the introduction
of new trades and open new fields of work for women wage-earners. This is
a difficult undertaking at a time when spending power must be much
curtailed, but it may be destined to have good results in happier times,
and in any case any widening of the field of employment for women, any
development of their technical skill, is much to be welcomed.[62]

Besides these deeply interesting attempts at regulating and adjusting the
market for skilled labour, there remains the vast army of the unskilled.
Here we had during the first winter of war the influence of a new idea
working, the perception that something better than relief work, something
infinitely better than charity, was possible. In some of the workrooms
started by voluntary effort orders were obtained for underlinen, toys,
etc. On a small scale there need be no great objection to this if the
educational factor were prominent, but it is necessary to point out that
no real adjustment of the labour market is effected by inducing ladies to
make purchases in a workroom that they might otherwise have made in an
ordinary shop, the employees of those shops probably themselves suffering
from shortage of employment. The workrooms started under the Central
Committee for this class of workers adopted the plan of setting them to
make useful articles, not for sale but for distribution among the poor,
such as layettes for infants and clothing for necessitous mothers, also to
the mending or remodelling of old clothes, the manufacture of cradles from
banana crates, and so forth. In most workrooms a good meal was provided in
the middle of the day, and some of the women were instructed in its
cooking and service.

The leading idea of workrooms on these lines is that temporarily the
workers should be taken off the labour market altogether, that they should
be paid not wages but relief, and that the relief should be robbed of its
degrading associations by being combined with a system of training the
women to do something they could not do before, or at all events to do it
better than before. The requirement of attendance at the workroom (usually
for forty hours weekly) was a guarantee of genuine need. This method of
dealing with the problem of distress is probably as satisfactory as any
that could be devised off-hand, though the workrooms did not escape
criticism on the score of attracting girls away from "normal
employment."[63] This is no doubt possible, the scale of women's wages in
"normal employment" being still unfortunately so low. Ten shillings a week
would not attract workers away from decently paid work done under decent
conditions. The criticisms, however, point to the desirability of such
arrangements being carefully co-ordinated to avoid overlapping, especially
with the technical training provided by the Education Authority.

Although the working of the plan was good as far as it went, it went
unfortunately only a little way. By the first week in November a couple of
dozen centres of employment had been started, and perhaps 1 per cent of
the unemployed women had been provided with work in the workrooms.[64]
There were besides uncounted thousands whose work and wages were reduced
to a mere fraction of what they had previously been. Had the local
authorities been already educated by the Local Government Board to take a
broader view of their responsibilities and more scientific measures in
discharging them, a great deal more of the ground might have been
effectively covered. It is to be hoped that if similar measures are needed
after the war, as seems likely to be the case, the experience of 1914-15
will bear fruit.

_The New Demand for Women's Labour._--With the continuance of war an
unexpected situation gradually shaped itself. The clothing and
accoutrement of the great army that was speedily recruited, as well as
urgently-needed supplies for France, and for Russia, so far as they could
be transported thither, created a huge demand for labour, and by December
the shortage of skilled labour was a serious problem. More especially was
this the case with the munitions group of trades, which became the largest
and busiest of all. With some lack of foresight too many men from these
industries had been allowed to enlist, and eventually some were even
brought back from the front. Thousands of women poured into armament
making; factories have been adapted to meet the new demands; trade union
rules and legislative requirements have been considerably relaxed; women
to a limited extent are replacing men. These are some of the outstanding
features of a situation which is already bewildering in its complexity.

The shortage of skilled workers which has formed and still forms so
serious a difficulty in supplying the army, is due not only to the
enlistment of skilled men, but also to the tendency which the past thirty
years or so have unfortunately shown to be increasing, for the
displacement of the skilled by the unskilled worker. The ignorance of
parents and the attraction of the "blind alley" occupations for the
children of poor homes, where every shilling counts, combined with the
organisation of business primarily for profit and the inadequacy of social
safeguards in this matter, have created a difficult position. The lack of
training and experience is, however, much more general among women than
among men, and has formed a serious obstacle to their employment. The
replacement of men by women in manufacturing industry has thus been less
than might have been expected. Women have to a considerable extent
replaced men in commercial and clerical work, in some occupations in and
about railway stations, also as shop assistants, lift-attendants, etc.
There are even suggestions that the underground railway service of London
might be entirely staffed with women; but up to the time of writing this
has occurred only to a limited extent. There has of course been an
enormous increase in women's employment, but a large part of the war
demand is for goods on the manufacture of which women normally
predominate, as clothing, food-stuffs, etc. Another large part of the
demand is for work on such processes as the filling of shells, and is now
swollen to an unparalleled degree. What has happened has been that
subdivision of processes and grading of labour have been introduced, as
well as mechanical adjustments to facilitate the employment of women. As
usually happens when women are introduced to a new trade or branch of a
trade, the work is more or less changed in character. No doubt the
pressure of war conditions has had the effect that women are now
performing processes that were previously supposed to be beyond their
strength or skill or both, especially in leather, engineering, and the
wool and worsted trades. The line of demarcation between men's and women's
occupations is drawn higher up. But women have not to any great extent
replaced men in the skilled mechanical trades, the immediate and
insurmountable obstacle to such replacement being their lack of skill and
training. In certain trades, however, where women have been given
opportunity and facilities to undertake work involving judgment and skill,
they have, aided by the stimulus of patriotism, shown both intelligence
and initiative, revealed unexpected powers on processes hitherto performed
by men, and done work "of which any mechanic might be proud" (see report
mentioned below; compare the _Engineer_, Aug. 20, 1915).

The lack of training therefore may perhaps explain the very small results
that have so far followed from the appeal to women to register for
war-work, made by the Government in March 1915. As to the origin of this
appeal, little is definitely known. It may have been intended as a
recognition of the efforts and sacrifices already made by women during the
war. It may have been, as some suggest, probably not without foundation,
that the measure was instigated by the Farmers' Union, in the hope of
getting cheap labour on the land instead of raising the wages of men. The
women's organisations were not consulted, and even the Central Committee
on Women's Employment, then anxiously engaged in reviewing and where
possible adjusting the dislocation of women's employment, had, we believe,
no previous notice of the appeal. A very small proportion only of the
women who registered were called upon to work within the next few months;
only three or four thousand out of 80,000. This small result is said to be
due to the fact that only a very small proportion were capable of the
skilled jobs awaiting them.[65] In great part the new demand for labour
has been met by the overflow from other industries, though it has been
supplemented by the addition of voluntary workers of the class usually
termed "unoccupied," that is to say, not working for wages. There are
obvious risks in bringing women from the upper and middle classes into a
labour market the conditions of which are usually much against
working-women; on the other hand, such an arrangement as was made, _e.g._
that amateurs should train so as to replace ordinary working women for the
week-end, seems an admirable device to use the superfluous energies of
the leisured so as to give the workers time for rest and recuperation.

Another problem arising out of the present extension of women's employment
relates to the enormous strain imposed upon the women and the inadequate
pay they have in many cases received. We have touched on this point above
in connection with the wool and worsted trades. Incidentally these
conditions show that the unorganised state of women prevents their taking
full advantage of the labour market even when the position is
strategically in their favour. In some of the processes on which women
have been introduced the skill required is quite considerable, and the
output varies, depending greatly on the worker's health and strength. High
speed cannot be maintained without proper intervals of rest; prolonged
fatigue reduces capacity. The prime conditions for a persistently high
output are a scientific adjustment of hours of work, adequate food,
ventilation, and necessary comforts. These facts in the twentieth century
are not unknown, but in war-time they were practically ignored. Many of
the women on war-work were grievously overworked, and though praised for
their patriotism in working overtime, did not receive wages sufficient to
afford them the extra nourishment and comforts they should have had. In
some cases, especially if doing men's work, they were highly paid; in
others the pay was not only below the standard of a man, but was
inadequate to maintain the physical endurance required. The patriotic
feelings of women-workers were shamefully exploited, and the state of mind
revealed by persons who should have known better was deplorable. In one
case of a prosecution by the Home Office the magistrate refused to
convict, although a girl under eighteen had been employed twenty-four
hours without a break, after which she met with an accident.

Yet another problem arises out of the substitution of women for men. We
have seen reason to suppose that this is taking place less extensively
than is supposed, but it undeniably occurs, and may assume much greater
proportions before the war is over.

Are women who replace men to be paid merely the wages that women of the
same grade of skill usually are paid? In that case they will be
undercutting men, and preparing a position of extreme difficulty after the
war. Or are the women to be paid the same wages as the men they replace?
They certainly should, wherever the work is the same. As we have seen, in
many cases the women do not do exactly the same work as men, and indeed in
the interests of their health and efficiency it is often highly desirable
they should not do quite the same. It may be quite easy, _e.g._, for a
woman to cut off yards of cloth to sell across the counter, but it may
happen that the man she replaces not only did this but also at intervals
handled heavy bales of goods which are beyond her strength. In such cases
as this a rearrangement of work with due regard to relative strength is
desirable, and a rigid equality of wages should not be insisted on.
Organisation of all women-workers employed to replace men is become a more
pressing need than ever, to ensure first that women should not be paid
less than men merely because they are women; second, that women should not
have work thrust upon them that is an injurious strain on their
constitutions; third, that the future interests of the men now serving in
the field should not be disregarded. The point insisted on in Chapter
IV., that women need not only to be enrolled in Unions but to have a voice
in the management and control where they are organised along with men, has
been made plainer than ever. So strongly was this felt at Manchester that
a special committee was formed for the protection of women's interests in
munition work, and for co-operation with the interested trade unions in
any movement towards the organisation of the women. A special campaign for
the organisation of munition workers was initiated and carried on by the
National Federation of Women Workers.

_The Results the War may have._--It is impossible as yet to estimate what
effects the war will ultimately have in modifying the position of women.
The surplus of women, in itself a source of much social ill, will be
increased; the young girls of to-day have a diminished prospect of
marriage. At the same time the spending power of the community must almost
certainly be curtailed, and apart from military requirements there will be
a less demand for women's work in many occupations. Thus at the very time
that women will need more than ever to be self-dependent, their
opportunities of self-dependence will be narrowed. Another aspect, a more
hopeful one, is that the scarcity of men may improve the position of women
and lead to their being entrusted with posts, not necessarily identical
with those of men, but more responsible and more dignified than those
women have usually filled. Objections of a merely conventional nature are
likely to disappear. It seems also possible that the present shifting of
women's employment out of the luxury trades that ebb and flow according to
fashion and idle caprice, into Government service and trades vitally
necessary to national existence, may remain after the war, only that
women's energies may then, as we hope, be turned once again to save life
rather than destroy it.

There are signs that a deeper and more intimate consciousness of society
as a whole may operate in favour of women. The recruiting campaign, for
instance, may induce certain reflections. Between 1891 and 1900, 781,475
male infants died under a year old in England and Wales alone, making an
average death-rate of 168 per thousand births. If even the very mild
measures for the improvement of sanitation and the care of infants and
nursing mothers that have been adopted in recent years had been customary
twenty years ago, we should have now in England some hundreds of thousands
more lads of recruiting age or approaching it than are actually here, and
many of those who survived the high death-rate of those years would have
escaped damage in early years and be stronger and finer men than they are.
If we now adopted much more generous measures to the same end, we could
probably save some hundreds of thousands more to serve their country in
twenty years' time. And all this would cost an infinitesimal sum in
comparison with what is now being poured forth to make these young men as
strong and fit for the field as possible. The militarists, if they were
consistent, would realise that at the back of the army stands another
army--the army of the poor working women, underfed, overworked, badly
housed, and insufficiently clad. The patriots, if they were more
clear-sighted in regard to their own desires, would spend a great deal
more time and energy in demanding, for the sake of military efficiency,
that the conditions under which the nation's babies are brought into the
world and the mother nursed and nourished should be changed in a quite
revolutionary manner. Some of us may not love this style of argument; the
view of men as "food for powder" and women as mere feeders of the army may
seem an ignoble one. Those who hold such views will, however, have to
consider their implications more closely.

It was a curious coincidence, perhaps even not a wholly fortuitous one
(who can say?), that in the very week preceding our declaration of war,
when Europe was already resounding with the tramp of armed men and the
rumble of artillery wheels, the Local Government Board should have issued
its first memoranda on the subject of Maternity and Child Welfare. These
circulars, addressed to County Councils and Sanitary Authorities,
advocated a considerable extension of the work of Public Health
Departments in the direction of medical advice and treatment for pregnant
and nursing mothers and their infants, and an extensive development of the
system of home-visiting of women and infant children already in existence
in some places. Parliament has already voted a grant to the extent of 50
per cent of the cost in aid of local schemes for Maternity and Child
Welfare. The immediate appeal of the War Relief Fund and the difficulties
of its administration have, no doubt, combined with the inertia
characteristic of many local authorities to efface any very bold
initiative on the more fundamental but less clamant questions raised in
the Local Government Board memorandum. Still, the fact remains that the
needs of the woman and the young child have been at last recognised as
vital, however inadequate the means taken to meet them have so far been.
These needs will be urged by Women's Societies and by labour
organisations, and the war will have the effect of bringing them into
stronger relief as time goes on, and may supply the impetus for a still
more drastic scheme, on the lines advocated by the Women's Co-operative
Guild.[66]

It is now recognised, or is coming to be recognised, that it is not alone
the soldier who serves his country in war; the great part played by
industry in building up the nation's life is equally vital. "Industry and
commerce," writes Mr. Arthur Greenwood, "are not primarily intended as a
field for exploitation and profit, but are essential national services in
as true a sense as the Army and Navy." Such a recognition should have its
effect in raising the woman's position, the special economic weakness of
which is, that her value to the community is greater than any that can be
measured in pounds, shillings, and pence, while nevertheless she, like
others in a competitive society, is compelled to measure herself by
competitive standards. During the war industrial women have been working
day and night to supply military and naval requisites, taking their part
in national defence as truly as if they could themselves aid in
slaughtering the enemy, and not without considerable overstrain and damage
to their own health and strength. Others, again, have spent their time and
strength toiling to make good the deficiencies in Government organisation,
not only for the relief of distress and unemployment, but even for the
needs of recruits themselves. Working women in their homes bear a
disproportionately heavy share of the burden of trouble and anxiety caused
by the rise of prices in the necessaries of life. Vast numbers of women
have offered up their sons and brothers in battle; hundreds of thousands
have lost their employment and been reduced to poverty and distress. The
efforts and sacrifices made by women cannot have passed wholly unnoticed
by the Government, and we may hope that some real development of the
position of woman, especially of the working woman, will follow the
hoped-for settlement of this terrible crisis.

Even the thoughtless sentimentality of the well-to-do leisured woman has
been touched to finer issues. Impelled to "do something" for the soldiers,
she turned instinctively to the traditional or primeval occupations of
women, and wanted to make shirts, etc., with her own hands. She was,
however, here confronted with the new idea that the needs of the
unemployed working woman must be considered. In the autumn it was
suggested those who could afford new clothes should order some to
stimulate employment. In the spring and early summer, on the contrary, the
utmost economy was advocated, capital being scarce. The most irresponsible
class in the community were thus asked to realise themselves as members of
society, to understand that philanthropy was not merely an opportunity for
them to save their own souls, that even their personal expenditure was not
a merely private matter, but that both must be considered in relation to
the needs of the commonweal.[67]

_Constructive Measures._--The experience of the war should certainly lead
to some better-thought-out method of dealing with times of stress and
unemployment than has ever yet been in operation, especially with regard
to women. It would be beyond the scope of this volume to draw up such a
scheme in detail, but some points may be indicated. The need of better
training has become plain. To raise the upper limit of school attendance
is urgent, if education is to be worthy of the name. A better all-round
training at school would give girls more choice of occupation, and would
not leave them so much at the hazard of one particular process or trade.
Develop a girl's intelligence, train her hand and eye, and she will be
helped to master the technical difficulties of whatever occupation she may
wish to follow or work she may need to do. For older girls special
technical and domestic courses may be most valuable, especially if taught
in such a manner as to occupy the mind and increase the capacity, and not
as mere mechanical routine. It was noted during the boom of work for the
army that girls who had been trained in a trade school could adapt
themselves more readily to a new and unaccustomed process than could those
who had only ordinary workshop training. As a further development of the
education question the experience of 1914-15 should lead to the provision
of increased facilities for physical exercise in the open air (and time to
use them) for young people of both sexes. In the first winter of war we
were all amazed at the change effected by a few months' training and fresh
air, at the fine well-set-up young men who had lately been weedy clerks
and pale-faced operatives. It may perhaps dawn upon us after the war that
if the country can afford to satisfy the elementary needs of healthy life
in young men when they stand a good chance of dying for her, it might be
worth while to do something of the same kind for those who are to live for
her and make her future. Perhaps eventually even the physical health and
soundness of girls may be held to justify some provision for exercise in
the open air.

In the second place, the local authorities should at times of stress offer
all the useful employment they possibly can find to women at fair rates of
wages. The more genuine employment a municipal body can find for women in
time of need the better, whether by anticipating work that would normally
be wanted a few months later or by increasing the efficiency of special
services, such as the educational or health services, district nursing,
cleansing and sweeping of schools and other buildings. Why not organise a
grand "spring cleaning" of neglected homes, with domestic help to aid the
overtaxed mothers of families? Special investigation of particular
industrial or sanitary conditions as to which information was needed might
well be carried out at times when educated women of the secretarial and
clerical professions are unemployed.

It is evident that we need a better scheme of Employment Bureaux for
women. There should be a centre of information and a clearing-house where
workers, found superfluous in their previous occupation, could be drafted
into such new ones as they were capable and willing to undertake, and this
might possibly be worked in conjunction with a system of training. The
comparative success of the work hurriedly improvised, and with many
difficulties, by the Central Committee on Women's Employment, is a clear
indication that some similar organisation on a larger scale, say a
National Advisory Council, linked up with the Labour Exchanges and
representative of women's organisations, might be infinitely valuable.

Another constructive movement that seems to be gaining ground is that for
the organisation of women as consumers. At the end of Chapter V., written
early in 1914, I ventured to prophesy that some such form of association
would be needed as a complement to the work of organising industrial
women-workers. In June 1915 a number of women's societies were engaged in
forming an association to take measures to counteract the war scarcity and
increase the supply of food, to extend agricultural and horticultural
training for women, to improve the feeding of children in schools, to
establish cost-price restaurants for the poor, and to urge the Government
to form an Advisory Committee to deal with the whole subject and take
steps to control the rise of prices, such a committee to include
representatives of women householders.[68] Such an association may have
great results, directly in the attainment of the objects set forth,
indirectly in the stimulating of public spirit and a sense of citizenship
among women.

There is, however, little ground for hoping that the war will of itself
lead to social measures of reconstruction or to the development of a
better-organised state, whether in regard to women or in regard to labour
generally. Some can find spiritual comfort and sustenance in the idea that
by fighting German militarism we are destroying tyranny and despotism
among ourselves. On the contrary, it may be that in fighting we are
impelled to use as a weapon and may be giving a new lease of life to
precisely those tendencies, those forces in our own social life which we
are opposing among the Germans for all we are worth. Class domination, the
rule of the strongest, and the idealisation of brute force are not
peculiar to Germany, although unquestionably, as we have been driven to
see, they have there reached an extraordinary exuberance. But the same
tendencies are here, and we may be sure democracy will not come of itself,
merely as a result of the war. War inevitably means for the time the
predominance of man over woman, the predominance of the soldier over the
industrial, the predominance of reaction over democracy. It is significant
that the stress of war was quickly seized as a pretext for suspending the
protection of industrial workers by the State, and for relaxing the
Education Acts which normally interpose some hindrance to the exploitation
of children by the capitalist employer. The clamour for compulsion and the
shameless underpayment of women in some branches of war work are signs of
the same reaction. Yet in the long run the apparently weaker elements of
society are as vitally necessary as the stronger, and to ignore or silence
their needs is to strike at the heart of life. The problems offered by the
great war, gigantic and staggering as they are, are not so different in
kind from, though vaster in degree and more appalling than, the problem of
the industrial revolution itself. Each is a problem of the development of
material civilisation, which has (we know it now too poignantly) far
outdistanced the growth of civilisation on its social and spiritual side.
Each includes the question whether man is to be the master or the slave of
the mechanic powers his own genius has evoked. Neither can ever be solved
without the conscious co-operation of Woman and Labour, failing which we
must for ever fall short of the highest possibilities of our race. "If
Great Britain is to lead the way in promoting a new spirit between the
nations, she needs a new spirit also in the whole range of her corporate
life. For what Britain stands for in the world is, in the long run, what
Britain is, and when thousands are dying for her it is more than ever the
duty of all of us to try to make her worthier of their devotion."[69]

CHANGES IN EMPLOYMENT DURING THE WAR 1914-1915.

  +---------------------------------------------------------------+
  |       I. _Contraction of Employment of Women and Girls.       |
  |                      Board of Trade Figures._                 |
  |---------------------------------------------------------------|
  |       Reduction in Numbers as compared with July 1914.        |
  |---------------------------------------------------------------|
  |   Sept 1914.    |     Oct.     |    Dec.    |   Feb. 1915.    |
  |-----------------|--------------|------------|-----------------|
  |       8·4       |     6·2      |    3·2     |      1·5        |
  |===============================================================|
  |   II. _Cotton Trade. All Work-people, Women predominating._   |
  |---------------------------------------------------------------|
  |       |  Reduction of Employment  |  Reduction of Earnings    |
  |       |per cent of previous year. |per cent of previous year. |
  | 1914. |---------------------------|---------------------------|
  |       | Lancashire and | Burnley. | Lancashire and | Burnley. |
  |       |    Cheshire.   |          |    Cheshire.   |          |
  |-------|----------------|----------|----------------|----------|
  | Aug.  |      42·1      |   46·0   |      60·9      |   70·7   |
  | Oct.  |      18·3      |   32·6   |      37·1      |   57·7   |
  | Dec.  |       9·7      |   19·3   |      20·8      |   38·5   |
  | Feb.  |       6·3      |    9·3   |       9·0      |   11·4   |
  | April |       6·7      |   10·4   |       4·9      |    4·7   |
  | June  |       6·9      |    6·7   |       5·8      |    6·5   |
  |===============================================================|
  |     III. _Percentage Increase or Decrease compared with       |
  |               same Month in Previous Year._                   |
  |---------------------------------------------------------------|
  |                       | Sept. | Nov.  | Jan.  |March. | May.  |
  |                       | 1914. |       | 1915. |       |       |
  |-----------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
  |London Dressmakers,    |       |       |       |       |       |
  |  chiefly West End     | -11·6 | -14·9 | -14·7 | -15·4 | -13·2 |
  |Court ditto            | -17·3 | -33·2 | -37·2 | -28·1 | -23·3 |
  |Mantle, costume, etc., |       |       |       |       |       |
  |  makers               | -15·3 | -7·6  | -11·2 | - 2·5 | + 0·6 |
  |Shirt and collar makers| -11·7 | 11·8  | -10·2 | - 1·5 | - 2·1 |
  +---------------------------------------------------------------+



APPENDIX TO CHAPTERS II. AND IV.

DOCUMENTS AND EXTRACTS ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE POSITION OF WOMEN DURING THE
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.


_Thoughts on the Use of Machines in the Cotton Manufacture._ By a Friend
of the Poor. Manchester Reference Library, 677, 1, B. 12. (Barnes, 1780.)

"What a prodigious difference have our machines made in the gain of the
females of the family! Formerly the chief support of a poor family arose
from the loom. The wife could get comparatively but little on her single
spindle. But for some years a good spinner has been able to get as much as
or more than a weaver. For this reason many weavers have become spinners,
and by this means such quantities of cotton warps, twists, wefts, etc.,
have been poured into the country that our trade has taken a new turn. All
the spinners in the country could not possibly have produced so much as
this, as are now wanted in a small part of our manufacture. If it were
true that a weaver gets less, yet, as his wife gets more, his family does
not suffer. But the fact is that the gains of an industrious family have
been upon the average much greater than they were before these
inventions."

Page 16. "When I look upon our machines, with a regard to the _Poor_, and
as _their friend and well-wisher_, my heart glows with gratitude and
pleasure on their account, in the full hope that, by means of them, our
manufactures will _continue_, and be _extended_ and _improved_, from age
to age. _Perhaps_, e'er long, our manufacture may be _chiefly of cotton_.
_Linen_ may be almost _laid aside_. Suppose, for instance, _common yearn_
could be brought to market, made with _cotton warps_. What a sale might we
expect! _Such goods_ would have the demand of _all the world_. Nor is this
at all unlikely to be the case, in some future time. Already cotton yarn
has been offered to sale, as I am very credibly informed, _almost_, if not
_entirely_, as cheap as linen yarn, of the _same length_. _Germany_ and
_Ireland_ then _have_ reason to be alarmed at our machines. Their yarn
manufactures may suffer severely. But surely this will be the highest
advantage to us, by increasing the quantity of _labour_ amongst ourselves
and keeping so much _money_ at home. _Perhaps_, by new improvements, we
may vie with the _East India_ goods in fineness and beauty. And then--what
a prospect would open upon us! But you say all this is a mere _perhaps_.
It is so. And I only offer it as such. But, I ask, is it more _unlikely_
than our present improvements were, _twenty years ago_? I believe not.
Some tradesmen thought the cotton manufacture at its _highest pitch then_.
It was _then_ but in its infancy. Perhaps it is so yet. Human ingenuity,
when spurred on by proper rewards, _may leave_ whatever has been done
_already_ at a vast distance. We may have goods brought to market,
_cheaper, finer, better_. The necessary consequence of this will be, the
demand _will increase_ and all the world become our _customers_. If we can
_undersell_ all the world, we may have the _custom_ of all the world.
Merchants are alike all the world over. They will go to the _cheapest
market_. What a pleasing thought is this! But in order to do this it is
necessary to _encourage_ our machines, and to keep them as much as
possible to _ourselves_."


Description of Interior of a Cotton Mill, in _A Short Essay for the
Service of the Proprietors of Cotton Mills and the Persons Employed in
Them_. Manchester, 1784. (M/c Library, 28269/4.)

(Quotes instances of jail fever from overcrowding, etc.)

Page 9. "The Cotton Mills are large buildings, but so constructed as to
employ the greatest possible number of persons. That no room may be lost,
the several stories are built as low as possible. Most of the rooms are
crowded with machines, about which it is necessary to employ a
considerable quantity of oil in order to facilitate their motion. From the
nature of the manufacture, a great deal of cotton dust is constantly
flying about, which, adhering to the oil and heated by the friction,
occasions a strange and disagreeable smell. The number of people who work
in the mill must certainly be proportioned to the size of it. In a large
one I am informed there are several hundreds.... The manufacturers, in
many instances, constantly labour day and night.[70] Of course a great
number of candles must be used, and scarce any opportunity for ventilation
afforded. From hence it is evident that there is a considerable effluvia
constantly arising from the bodies of a large number of persons (well or
in a degree indisposed, just as it happens), from the oil and cotton dust,
and from the candles used in the night, without any considerable supply of
fresh air. There are indeed trifling casements, sometimes opened and
sometimes not; but totally insufficient to subserve any valuable
purpose.... What consequences must we expect from so many pernicious
circumstances? What are the consequences which have actually proceeded
from them? As we have already observed, it is well known that there has
been a contagious disorder in a cotton mill in the neighbourhood of
Manchester which has been fatal to many, and infected more.... Most of the
patients that were ill, having been asked where they caught the fever,
either replied that they caught it themselves at the cotton mill or were
infected by others that had. Several were asked what kind of labour they
followed who were first seized with the disorder. They all replied, they
were the people that worked in the cotton mill."


Leicester, 1788. British Museum Tracts, B. 544 (10).

Humble Petition of the Poor Spinners, which on a very moderate calculation
consist of Eighteen Thousand, Five Hundred, employed in the Town and
Country aforesaid,

Sheweth, that the business of _Spinning_, in all its branches, hath ever
been, time out of mind, the peculiar employment of women; insomuch that
every single woman is called in law a _Spinster_; to which employment your
Petitioners have been brought up, and by which they have hitherto earned
their maintenance. That this employment above all others is suited to the
condition and circumstances of the _Female Poor_; inasmuch as not only
single women, but married ones also, can be employed in it consistently
with the necessary cares of their families; for, the business being
carried on in their own houses, they can at any time leave it when the
care of their families requires their attendance, and can re-assume the
work when family duty permits it; nay, they can, in many instances, carry
on their work and perform their domestic duty at the same time;
particularly in the case of attending a sick husband or child, or an aged
parent.

That the children of the poor can also be employed in this occupation more
or less, according to their age and strength, which is not only a great
help to the maintenance of the family, but inures their children to habits
of industry.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is therefore with great concern your Petitioners see that this antient
employment is likely to be taken from them--an employment so consistent
with civil liberty, so full of domestic comfort, and so favourable to a
religious course of life. This we apprehend will be the consequences of so
many spinning mills, now erecting after the model of the cotton mills. The
work of the poor will be done by these engines, and they left without
employment.

The proprietors of the spinning mills do indeed tell your Petitioners that
their children shall be employed after the manner of the children at the
cotton mills. Your Petitioners have enquired what that manner is; and with
grief of heart they find that a vast number of poor children are crowded
together in an unhealthy place, have no time allowed them for recreation
and exercise, are kept to work for ten or twelve hours together, and that
in the night-time as well as by day; hereby they become cripples and
emaciated beyond measure. That no care is taken of their morals, as your
Petitioners can learn; though these very children are the means by which
their masters are raised to wealth and honours too; for we have heard that
a certain great _mill-monger_ is newly _created_ a knight though he was
not _born_ a gentleman.

       *       *       *       *       *

The adventurers are turning their cotton mills into jersey mills, and new
ones are daily erecting; and our masters show what their expectations are
by undervaluing our work and beating down our wages.[71]


1800. Broadsheet, pp. 942, 72, L. 15 (M/c Library).

(This broadsheet records the resolutions carried at a special meeting of
merchants, manufacturers, and cotton spinners held at Manchester, May 2,
1800, to consider proceedings of meetings recently held for the purpose of
getting Parliament to put a duty on exportation of cotton twist.)

Resolved--1. That cotton spinning is a manufacture of the first importance
to this country. That it gives employment to a considerable part of the
national capital and to a very large portion of the poor of this county
and of several other counties, the chief part consisting of women and
children who, by means of this manufacture, are rendered highly useful to
the community at large instead of _being a burthen on it, as they would be
if not employed in cotton mills_ (italics added).


Broadsheet in Manchester Library (n. d.).

(Purports to be by an old weaver, deprecating attacks on machinery.) "If
machinery is destroyed, how are your children to be employed, who now, at
an age in which children in other countries gain nothing, can support
themselves? Yes, and not only this, but can earn as much, or even more,
than a hardworking man in other countries, where there are not these
improvements? It is thus that our poor are enabled to marry early and
support a family, as the children, instead of being a deadweight upon
their parents, can more than do for themselves. So great, indeed, have
been our comforts from the demand for our cheap manufactures and the
plenty of employ, that people have flocked into Lancashire from all parts
of the kingdom by thousands, tens of thousands, aye, and hundreds of
thousands too.

       *       *       *       *       *

"If they (machines) are destroyed, how then are you to find support for
yourselves and your families? Where will your children of seven, eight, or
nine years old find employment and money to contribute to the comforts of
all? Will our barren moors support them?"


From Alfred's _History of the Factory Movement_, vol. i. p. 16.

When the first factories were erected, it was soon discovered that there
was in the minds of the parents a strong repugnance to the employment thus
provided for children: the native domestic labourers, being then able
amply to provide for their children, rejected the tempting offers of the
mill-owners, the parents preferring to rear their children in their own
homes, and to train them to their own handicrafts. For a long period it
was by the working people themselves considered to be disgraceful to any
father who allowed his child to enter the factory--nay, in the homely
words of that day, as will be remembered by the old men of the present
age, "that parent made himself the town's talk"--and the unfortunate girl
so given up by her parents in after life found the door of household
employment closed against her--"Because she had been a factory girl." It
was not until the condition of portions of the working class had been
reduced that it became the custom with working men to eke out the means of
their subsistence by sending their children to the mills. Until that sad
and calamitous custom prevailed, the factories in England were worked by
"stranger-children," gathered together from the workhouse.

Under the operation of the factories' apprentice system parish apprentices
were sent, without remorse or enquiry, from the workhouses in England, to
be "used up" as the "cheapest raw material in the market." This inhuman
conduct was systematically practised; the mill-owners communicated with
the overseer of the poor, and when the demand and supply had been arranged
to the satisfaction of both the contracting parties, a day was fixed for
the examination of "the little children" to be inspected by the
mill-owner, or his agent, previous to which the authorities of the
workhouse had filled the minds of their wards with the notion that by
entering the mills they would become ladies and gentlemen.... It sometimes
happened that traffickers contracted with the overseers, removing their
juvenile victims to Manchester, or other towns, on their arrival; if not
previously assigned, they were deposited sometimes in dark cellars, where
the merchant dealing in them brought his customers; the mill-owners, by
the light of lanthorns, being enabled to examine the children, their limbs
and stature having undergone the necessary scrutiny, the bargain was
struck, and the poor innocents were conveyed to the mills. The general
treatment of those apprentices depended entirely on the will of their
masters; in very many instances their labour was limited only by
exhaustion after many modes of torture had been unavailingly applied to
force continued action; their food was stinted, coarse, and unwholesome.
In "brisk times" the beds (such as they were) were never cool, the mills
were worked night and day, and as soon as one set of children rose for
labour the other set retired for rest. We dare not trust ourselves to
write all we know on this subject, much less all we feel.... The moral
nature of the traffic between parish authorities and the buyers of pauper
children, may be judged from the fact that in some cases one idiot was
accepted with twenty sane children.... In stench, in heated rooms, amid
the constant whirling of a thousand wheels, have little fingers and little
feet been kept in ceaseless action, forced into unnatural activity by
blows from the heavy hands and feet of the merciless overlooker, and the
infliction of bodily pain by instruments of punishment invented by the
sharpened ingenuity of insatiable selfishness.... Some of the helpless
victims ... nightly prayed that death would come to their relief; weary of
prayer, some there were who deliberately accomplished their own
destruction. The annals of Litten Mill afford an instance of this kind.
"Palfrey the smith had the task of riveting irons upon any of the
apprentices whom the master ordered, and these were much like the irons
usually put upon felons. Even young women, if suspected of intending to
run away, had irons riveted upon their ankles, and reaching by long links
and rings up to the hips, and in these they were compelled to walk to and
from the mill and to sleep. Robert Blincoe asserts that he has known many
girls served in this manner. A handsome-looking girl, about the age of
twenty years, who came from the neighbourhood of Cromford, whose name was
Phoebe Day, being driven to desperation by ill-treatment, took the
opportunity one dinner-time, when she was alone and supposed no one saw
her, to take off her shoes and throw herself into the dam at the end of
the bridge, next the apprentice-house. Some one passing along and seeing a
pair of shoes stopped. The poor girl had sunk once, and just as she rose
above the water he seized her by the hair.... She was nearly gone, and it
was with some difficulty her life was saved. When Mr. Needham heard of
this, and being afraid the example might be contagious, he ordered James
Durant, a journeyman spinner, who had been apprenticed there, to take her
away to her relations at Cromford, and thus she escaped."


The Factory System. _Enquiry into the State of the Manufacturing
Population._ London, 1831.

Page 12. "As a second cause of the unhealthiness of manufacturing towns we
place the severe and unremitting labour. Cotton factories (which are the
best in this particular) begin to work at half-past five or six in the
morning and cease at half-past seven or eight at night. An interval of
half an hour or forty minutes is allowed for breakfast, an hour for
dinner, and generally half an hour for tea, leaving about twelve hours a
day clear labour. The work of spinners and stretchers (men) is among the
most laborious that exist, and is exceeded, perhaps, by that of mowing
alone, and few mowers, we believe, think of continuing their labour for
twelve hours without intermission.... The labour of the other classes of
hands employed in factories, as carders, rovers, piecers, and weavers,
consists not so much in their actual manual exertion, which is very
moderate, as in the constant attention which they are required to keep up
and the intolerable fatigue of standing for so great a length of time. We
know that incessant walking for twenty-four hours was considered one of
the most intolerable tortures to which witches in former times were
subjected, for the purpose of compelling them to own their guilt, and that
few of them could hold out for twelve; and the fatigue of standing for
twelve hours, without being permitted to lean or sit down, must be
scarcely less extreme. Accordingly, some sink under it, and many more have
their constitutions permanently weakened and undermined.

"III. The third cause we shall assign is perhaps even more efficient than
the last. The air in almost all factories is more or less unwholesome.
Many of the rooms are obliged to be kept at a certain temperature (say 65
degrees Fahrenheit) for the purpose of manufacture, and from the speed of
the machinery, the general want of direct communication with the external
atmosphere, and from artificial heat, they often exceed the
temperature.... But in addition to mere heat, the rooms are often
ill-ventilated, the air is filled with the effluvia of oil, and with
emanations from the uncleanly persons of a large number of individuals;
and, from the want of free ventilation, the air is very imperfectly
oxygenated and has occasionally a most overpowering smell.[72] In a word,
the hands employed in these large manufactories breathe foul air for
twelve hours out of the twenty-four, and we know that few things have so
specific and injurious an action on the digestive organs as the inhalation
of impure air, and this fact alone would be almost sufficient to account
for the prevalence of stomachic complaints in districts where
manufactories abound.

"The small particles of cotton and dust with which the air in most rooms
of factories is impregnated not infrequently lay the foundation of
distressing and fatal diseases. When inhaled, they are a source of great
pulmonary irritation, which, if it continues long, induces a species of
chronic bronchitis, which, not rarely, degenerates into tubercular
consumption....

"IV. The fourth cause of the ill-health which prevails among the
manufacturing population may be traced to the injurious influence which
the weakened and vitiated constitution of the women has upon their
children.[73] They are often employed in factories some years after their
marriage, and during this pregnancy, and up to the very period of their
confinement, which all who have attended to the physiology of the subject
know must send their offspring into the world with a debilitated and
unhealthy frame which the circumstances of their infancy are
ill-calculated to remove; and hence, when these children begin to work
themselves they are prepared at once to succumb to the evil influences by
which they are surrounded."

At page 27. "We hope we shall not greatly offend the prejudices either of
political economists or practical tradesmen when we state our firm
conviction, that a reduction in the hours of labour is _most important_ to
the health of the manufacturing population, _and absolutely necessary_ to
any general and material amelioration in their moral and intellectual
condition.... It will be urged in opposition that all legislative
interference in commercial concerns is, _prima facie_, objectionable, and
involves the admission of a dangerous and impolitic principle. That
legislative interference is in itself an evil we deeply feel and readily
admit; but it is an evil like many others which necessity and policy may
justify, and which humanity and justice may imperiously demand.
Legislative interference is objectionable only where it is injudicious or
uncalled for. It will also be objected, and with more sound reason, that a
reduction of the hours of labour would cause a corresponding reduction in
the quantity produced, and consequently in the wages of the workmen; and
would also diminish our power of competing with other manufacturing
nations in foreign market, and thus, by permanently injuring our trade,
would be productive of greater evils to the labouring classes than those
we are endeavouring to remove. This objection, though very reasonable, we
think is considerably overstated. That 'a reduction of the hours of labour
would cause a _corresponding_ reduction in the quantity produced' we
entirely deny. What _would_ be the actual loss consequent upon a reduction
of the hours it is impossible to state with any certainty, but it is
probable that if factories were to work ten hours instead of twelve the
loss in the quantity produced would not be one-sixth, but only about
one-twelfth, and in Mule Spinning perhaps scarcely even so much. We
_know_ that in some cases when the mills only worked four days in the
week, they have often produced five days' quantity, and the men earned
five days' wages. That this would be the case to a considerable extent
every one must be aware; as all men will be able to work much harder for
ten hours than they can for twelve. The objection above mentioned we
consider to be much over-stated; and we are convinced that the _loss_
incurred would only amount to a _part_ of the reduction. And we think that
_all_ loss to the masters might be prevented, and the necessity of a
_real_ reduction of wages obviated, were all duties on raw materials, and
those taxes which greatly raise the price of provisions, abolished by the
legislature. It is principally the shackles and drawbacks to which the
Cotton Manufacture is subjected which renders it so difficult, and as some
think so impracticable, to adopt a measure without which all extensive and
general Plans for improving and regenerating our manufacturing poor must
approach the limits of impossibility. At present (in the cotton trade at
least, which is already restricted by law) the hours of work generally
extend from half-past five or six in the morning till half-past seven or
eight at night, with about two hours' intermission, making in all about
twelve hours of clear labour. This we would reduce to _ten_ hours (if such
a measure should be rendered practicable and safe by a removal of all
taxes on manufactures and provisions); and we again express our
conviction, after regarding the subject in every possible point of view,
that till this measure is adopted all plans and exertions for ameliorating
the moral and domestic condition of the manufacturing labourer can only
obtain a very partial and temporary sphere of operation. We say this with
confidence, because in every project of the kind which we have been
enabled to form, in every attempt for this purpose which our personal
acquaintance and habitual intercourse with the people could suggest, we
have been met and defeated by the long hours (absorbing in fact the whole
of the efficient day) which the operative is compelled to remain at his
employment. When he returns home at night, the sensorial power is worn
out with intense fatigue; he has no energy left to exert in any useful
object, or any domestic duty; he is fit only for sleep or sensual
indulgence, the only alternatives of employment which his leisure knows;
he has no moral elasticity to enable him to resist the seductions of
appetite or sloth, no heart for regulating his household, superintending
his family concerns, or enforcing economy in his domestic arrangements; no
power or capability of exertion to rise above his circumstances or better
his condition. He has no time to be wise, no leisure to be good; he is
sunken, debilitated, depressed, emasculated, unnerved for effort,
incapable of virtue, unfit for everything but the regular, hopeless,
desponding, degrading variety of laborious vegetation or shameless
intemperance. Relieve him in this particular, shorten his hours of labour,
and he will find himself possessed of sufficient leisure to make it an
object with him to spend that leisure well; he will not be so thoroughly
enervated with his day's employment; he will not feel so imperious a
necessity for stimulating liquors; he will examine more closely, and
regulate more carefully, his domestic arrangements, and what is more than
all, he will become a soil which the religious philanthropist may have
some chance of labouring with advantage. We do not say that a reduction in
the hours of labour would do everything; but we are sure that little can
be done without it."


Arthur Arnold. _Cotton Famine._ 1864.

(Describing factory work.) Page 56. "In these days of automaton machinery
there are many moments in every hour when the varied and immense
production of a cotton factory would continue though 95 per cent of the
hands were suddenly withdrawn. The work is exciting but not laborious. It
quickens the eye and the action of the brain to watch a thousand threads,
being obliged to dart upon and repair any that break, lest even a single
spindle should be idle; and it strengthens the brain to do this with
bodily labour which is exercising but not exhausting. It polishes the
mental faculties to work in continued contact with hundreds of others, in
a discipline necessarily so severe and regular as that of a cotton
factory. The bodily system becomes feverishly quickened by thus working in
a high and moist temperature. Even the rattle of the machinery contributes
to preserve the brain of the operative from that emptiness which so
fatally contracts its power."


THE SURAT WEAVER'S SONG

From Edwin Waugh's _Factory Folk_, p. 238. By Samuel Laycock.

  Confound it! aw ne'er wur so woven afore;
  My back's welly broken, mi fingers are sore;
  Aw've bin stannin' an' workin' among this Surat
  Till aw'm very neer gettin' as blint as a bat.

  Aw wish aw wur fur eneagh off, eawt o' th' road,
  For o' weaving this rubbitch aw'm gettin' reet sto'd;
  Aw've nowt i' this world to lie deawn on but straw,
  For aw've nobbut eight shillen' this fortnit to draw.

  Oh dear! if yon Yankees could nobbut just see
  Heaw they're clemmin' an' starvin' poor weavers like me,
  Aw think they'd soon settle their bother an' strive
  To send us some cotton to keep us alive.
  There's theawsan's o' folk, jist i' th' best o' their days,
  Wi' traces of want plainly sin i' their face;
  An' a future afore 'em as dreary as dark,
  For when th' cotton gets done we's be o' eawt o' wark.

  We've bin patient an' quiet as long as we con;
  Th' bits of things we had by us are welly o' gone;
  Mi clogs an' mi shoon are both gitten worn eawt,
  An mi halliday cloaths are o' gawn "up th' speawt"!
  Mony a toime i' mi days aw've sin things lookin' feaw
  But never as awkard as what they are neaw;
  If there is'nt some help for us factory folk soon,
  Aw'm sure 'at we's o' be knock'd reet eawt o' tune.


Darwen Weavers. Report, March 1911, _The Driving Evil_.

During the last few months we have experienced a decided improvement in
the demand for cotton goods, and which has naturally provided fuller
employment for those employed in the weaving branch. We regret, however,
to state that this improvement has brought with it that curse of our
industry--the driving evil. We still have a number of employers who resort
to any artifice in order to exact the last ounce of effort out of their
work-people. Very little regard appears to be paid to the possibility that
the health of the operatives may be endangered by the process; nor is much
consideration given to the difficulties that they have to contend with in
the shape of inferior material in the loom and the higher standard of
quality demanded in the warehouse. Indeed the only thing that seems to be
of any importance is the average, and woe be to the unlucky individuals
whose earnings fall below it. The weak and the strong are set in
competition one with another, with the inevitable result that the weaker
or less efficient work-people resort to such practices as working during
the meal-hour, etc., in their efforts to keep up the unequal race, whilst
on the top of all is the dread of what may happen after making up time.
When the earnings of an overlooker's set fall below the amount required by
the management, pressure is brought to bear on the over-looker, and in
turn they (_sic_) are expected to put more pressure on the weaver to
increase the output. The methods of speeding-up the weaver are varied.
Sometimes a hint is conveyed by a distinctive mark on their wage-tickets,
in other cases the weavers are spoken to about their earnings, not always
in the best manner or in the choicest language. This is far from being an
ideal state of things for young persons or persons of a sensitive nature
to be employed in, and has in the past been responsible for some of the
tragedies that are a blot on the record of the cotton industry. We think
it is high time that a number of employers should give this matter their
careful consideration, and look upon their work-people as human beings
and not as mere machines to be worked at the utmost speed. We hope that an
early improvement will be made at some of the local concerns, otherwise
there is every probability of serious trouble.


EXTRACTS FROM REPORTS OF THE PRINCIPAL LADY INSPECTOR OF FACTORIES, AND
SOME OF HER COLLEAGUES, ILLUSTRATING THE PRESENT POSITION OF THE WOMAN
WORKER.[74]

1. _Women and Girls show more Courage in voicing their Needs._

While we can see a great number and variety of deplorable contraventions
of the actual requirements and spirit of the law and an amount of
apparently preventable suffering and overstrain and injury to life, limb,
and health that is grievous to dwell upon (except for action in the way of
removal), we can see also, most clearly, signs of improvement and the
promise of much more. The promise lies in the fact that the movement to
secure better conditions is not confined to any one class or group. The
women and girls at last begin to press their claims for a better life than
the one they have, not only by increasing appeals to Inspectors to put the
law in motion, but also by criticism of the limitations of the law and by
signs of fresh courage in organising and voicing their needs to the
employers. Employers are initiating reforms not only as outstanding
individuals and firms, but are beginning to do so at last by associated
action and effort. Without these two responsive sides of the movement the
best efforts of social reformers and legislators would end but poorly. As
strikingly illustrating the need of betterment, I would point not only to
the instances of excessively long hours inside and outside the factories,
insanitary conditions; lack of seats, mess-rooms; accidents and unfenced
machinery; employment of young workers in operating and clothing dangerous
machines; in excessively heavy weight carrying, but behind, and through,
and over all, to the undermining influence for the real health of the
nation in the grinding methods of payment and deductions from payment of
women and girls. Even of industrial poisoning Miss Whitlock says: "Poverty
with its attendant worry and lack of nourishment appeared to be a
predisposing cause in many cases, and the youth of many of the workers
affected was noticeable," and when a woman heavily laden and worn asks,
"Is it right I should have to do this kind of work and only have 8s. a
week?" the Inspector can only listen and report. The sinister instances of
use of homework after the legal factory day to reduce piece rates, of new
deductions covering cost of employers' contributions under the Insurance
Act, of old-standing large non-payments for work done to punish small
unpunctualities in arrival at the factory, and of fine added to entire
loss of a hardly-earned week's wage for alleged damage, are only
outstanding illustrations of an extensive pressure on women's wages that
prevents them from developing their full natural vitality. In every
direction the testimony of the Inspectors to the value of the spirit of
the industrial girl or woman is the same. Of a girl of seventeen,
partially scalped, Miss Martindale says: "Her pluck and bravery were
noteworthy, in fact these qualities show themselves in a remarkable degree
in working girls when they meet a severe physical shock"; of another,
whose hand had to be amputated after vain attempts to save it, she says
that the girl mastered her disappointment, and in two or three days after
the operation began to practise writing with her left hand, and in a month
had become almost as proficient in writing as with the right hand. The
value they attach to inspection is obvious from what follows in this
report, and is shrewdly summed up in a remark overheard by a Senior Lady
Inspector in a northern mill: "Yon's a Lady Inspector, nay, but it's time
we had one."

2. _A Factory Worker's Letter._

_Miss Slocock._--The complaints outside the Acts received during the year
have been interesting, and they often indicate in a remarkable way the
workers' needs and the omissions of present legislation. Irish workers
express themselves graphically and exceedingly well in writing, and the
following letter is a typical one: "Dear Madam, I am sure you will think
it presumption on the part of a factory worker to write to you however as
pen and paper refuses nothing I venture to write you this annonamos
letter. When you come to inspect a factory, does it ever strike you to
look around and see if any of these weary women and girls have a seat to
sit down on. I am a winder myself I have worked in a great many factories
for the last 30 years one looks on their workshop just like their home why
should we be denied a seat I suppose you think our work very light so it
is we have no extra heavy lifts we have mettle cups that I suppose they
would be 2 lb. weight or more we are pushing these up continually the
whole thing is tedious just look around you and you will see some winders
have not so much as a lean for their backs. I hope Dear Lady you see to
this. You would never think of putting a servant to work in a kitchen
without a chair in it, she would not stick it, the winders are an
uncomplaining lot if you asked them would they like to be provided with
seats they would smile and say they were all right, it would look to them
like making complaints behind backs but don't ask us but think about us
and do something for us and our children will rise up and call you
blessed. I hold that rest is essential to Good Health."

3. _Lighting._

_Principal._--An increasing number of complaints is received with regard
to defective natural lighting and badly adjusted or otherwise defective
artificial lighting. The Inspectors do what they can to secure
improvements, though, as the matter is outside the Factory Act, in
general no contravention notice or other official action is as yet
practicable. Two bad cases concerning women compositors in different parts
of the kingdom are specially reported; in both artificial lighting was
required during the greater part of the day, and in only one of these
instances is a remedy being supplied by removal to better premises. In the
other case, when the women learned that lighting is still outside the
Factory Act so far as their case is concerned, they exclaimed to the
Senior Lady Inspector, Miss Squire, "but this is the most important thing
of all to us."

_Miss Squire._--Badly adjusted light which hurts the eyes was found in
boot factories, where out of nine visited in one town four had the
sewing-machine rooms provided with ordinary fish-tail burners on a jointed
bracket at every machine--these, unshaded, were on a level with the
workers' eyes and close to the face. The girls complained that the light
was poor and had a smarting effect upon the eyes. The adaptation of
artificial lighting to the requirements of the work receives in general
very little attention, but I find that a desire for some guidance in the
matter is growing among employers and managers. One difficulty is that of
procuring any shade for the large metal filament electric lamps now so
largely used. The glare of these in the eyes of machine operatives in all
classes of factories is a troublesome accompaniment of the work, and one
finds much makeshift screening by workers where such individual effort is
permitted.

4. _Sanitary Accommodation._

_Principal._--It is impossible to modify in any general way the adverse
description of the existing state of matters as regards actual provision
of sanitary conveniences for women and girls in factory industries which I
found it necessary to give in last Annual Report, and to that statement I
must refer again and again until there is real and complete reform. The
women Inspectors have nearly doubled their efforts to raise the standard
somewhat in factories, and notices about them to local sanitary
authorities have risen from 538 in 1912 to 1029 in 1913, in addition to
146 notices with regard to workshops. Direct contravention notices to
occupiers numbered 249, while complaints from workers numbered 170, some
of them being very strong in regard to the unsuitability of the
conveniences provided. The one important area in which a decided
improvement is reported is the potteries area, where members of this
branch have been steadily at work for many years, but on the whole the
Midlands and the Lancashire Divisions have still most work to be done in
this direction, for in the former Miss Martindale reports that 381 of the
notices to sanitary authorities touched this one matter, and in the latter
Miss Tracey reports similarly 308 notices.

_Miss Tracey._--The outstanding defect of all others in this north-west
division is the sanitary accommodation provided for women. It is
impossible to describe in a public paper how low the standard has been and
still is, in many places, where in other respects the conditions are not
only not noticeably bad, but are quite good.... Absence of doors and
screens, uncleanliness and insanitary conditions can all be remedied by
the sanitary authority, and in the large towns at any rate notices of
these matters have received prompt attention, but there still remains the
question of unsuitability of position. Many examples might be given. In a
waterproof factory four or five girls were employed in an "overflow"
workroom of a larger factory, and worked in an upper room; in the lower
room about a dozen men and youths were at work. To reach the sanitary
convenience it is necessary for the girls to walk across the men's room
and through a narrow space between rows of machines at which the men are
sitting, and the wall at the far end of which the sanitary convenience is
situated.... There is no doubt that glass panels in doors, commoner still,
no doors, no bolts, no provision for privacy is all calculated to "prevent
waste of time," and it is a pathetic comment on employment that there
should be this improper supervision and control of decent and respectable
women. That they do sometimes stay longer than is actually necessary in
these places is of course a fact well known to me, but to my thinking it
only shows how great the strain is on women and girls that they should
desire rest so obtained. When one thinks of the perpetual striving, the
work which must never slacken, the noise which never ceases and of the
legs which are weary with constant standing, of the heads which ache,
because the noise is so great no voice can be heard above the din, one can
understand that to sit on the floor for a few moments' talk, as I have
often seen, is a rest which under even such horrid circumstances is better
than nothing. Proper conveniences and the supervision of a nice woman
would do away with all the drawbacks which employers foresee in complying
with the standard laid down in the Order of the Secretary of State so long
ago as 1903.

5. _Fire Escapes._

_Miss Tracey._--In one factory I visited to see an escape recently put up
at the instance of the local authority, and I found quite a good iron
staircase and platform. This was reached by a window which had been made
to open in such a way that it completely blocked the staircase and gave
but a tiny space even on the platform, and the aid of the local officer
was again invoked. Miss Stevenson reports that in the newer cotton mills a
proper outside iron staircase with a handrail is to be found, but the
construction of the older fire escapes shows a great lack of common sense.
In the first place, the narrow, almost perpendicular ladder without a
handrail is peculiarly unsuited for the use of women. The openings from
the platform to the ladders are exceedingly small, and the exit window is
generally 3 to 4 feet above the floor level, no steps or footholds being
provided. To increase the difficulty the exit window is sometimes made to
swing out across the platform, cutting off access to the downward ladder.
In two cases the ladder, and in one case a horizontal iron pipe also, ran
right across the window, rendering egress impossible except to the
slender. In both cases the next window was free from obstruction.

_Miss Taylor._--Sometimes as many as 100 persons are employed on each
floor of a high building, so that if the outside staircase had to be used
those in the upper floors would, as they descended, meet the occupants of
the lower floors crowding on to the landings. I have never been to a
factory where they had such a fire drill as might obviate the possibility
of overcrowding on these escapes. The women flatly, and I think, rightly,
decline to attempt the descent, on the plea that they do not wish to incur
the danger of it until it is absolutely necessary. I have sometimes been
told by the managers of the factories that they themselves would never
reach the bottom safely if they attempted to go down. Such escapes are to
be found on quite 50 per cent of the cotton mills in Lancashire, and as
they were put up on the authority of the sanitary authority it is
difficult to get rid of them, but one cannot help thinking that there may
be very serious loss of life if the circumstances of a fire should be such
that the workers were obliged to resort to these outside escapes.

6. _Lead Poisoning._

_Miss Tracey._--I spent many days in visiting the cases which had been
certified, and in visiting other cases of illness which were not directly
certified, as due to lead. I visited these workers at their homes and
found them in different stages of illness and convalescence. Their pluck
will always remain fixed in my mind; although many of them were unable to
put into words the sufferings they had gone through, yet not one of them
but was eagerly wishing to be well enough to go back to work. When, as is
so common now, women are accused of malingering, I often wish that
complainants would accompany me on my investigation of cases of accident
or poisoning at the workers' homes, for I know that, like me, these people
would return in a humbled frame of mind, recognising courage and
endurance under circumstances which would break many of us. Without these
home visits it would have been impossible to gauge the extent and severity
of the outbreak of illness.

7. _Hours of Work and Overtime._

_Miss Tracey._--Often we receive complaint of the burden of the long
twelve hours' day, and the strain it is to start work at 6 A.M. A
well-known man in a Lancashire town was telling me only the other day
about how he would wake in the morning to the clatter of the girls' and
women's clogs as they went past his house at half-past five in the dark on
their way to the mills. He had exceptional opportunity of judging of the
effect of the long day's work, and he told me how bonny children known to
him lost their colour and their youthful energy in the hard drudgery of
this daily toil. How the girls would fall asleep at their work, and how
they grew worn and old before their time. We see it for ourselves, and the
women tell us about it. Sometimes one feels that one dare not contemplate
too closely the life of our working women, it is such a grave reproach. I
went to a woman's house to investigate what appeared a simple, almost
commonplace, accident. She was a middle-aged, single woman, living alone.
Six weeks before my visit she had fainted at her work, and in falling (she
was a hand gas ironer) she had pulled the iron on her hand, that and the
metal tube had severely burnt both arm and hand. She was quite
incapacitated. She told me she left home at 5.15, walked 2-1/2 miles to
the factory, stood the whole day at her work, and at 6, sometimes later,
started to walk home again, and then had to prepare her meal, mend and do
her housework. This case is only typical of thousands of women workers.
She got her 7s. 6d. insurance money, and that was all. She made no effort
to enlist my sympathy, but just stated the facts quite simply. Her case is
not so bad as many, for in addition to their own needs, a married woman or
a widow with children has also to see to the needs of the family, meals,
washing and mending, and the hundred and one other duties that are
required to keep a home going.

In Scotland Miss Vines says that the largest proportion of complaints
relates to excessive hours of employment, while on investigation they are
found sometimes to be within the legal limits, and "there is no doubt that
the working of the full permissible period of employment does sometimes
entail an intolerable strain on the workers."

_Miss Meiklejohn._--There has again been in West London a marked decrease
in the overtime reported this year. The opinion seems to be that
systematic overtime in the season does not really help forward the work,
and that the extension should be used, as was intended, in an emergency
only. There is a tendency to shorten the ordinary working hours, as well
as to work as little overtime as possible.

8. _Employment of Women before and after Childbirth._

There can be little doubt that provision of maternity benefit under the
Insurance Act has materially lightened the burden of compliance with the
limit of women for four weeks after childbirth before they may return to
industrial employment. Complaints of breach of s. 61 have dropped to eight
in 1913, and complaints (outside the scope of the section) of employment
just before confinement have dropped to one. Even in Dundee, where this
evil of heavy employment of child-bearing women has been probably the
worst in the kingdom, an improvement of the situation is seen.

_Miss Vines._--I visited a group of twelve jute-mill working mothers
within a month after their confinement and found that only one of them had
returned to work, nine of the mothers were married and experiencing the
good effects of the Insurance Act benefit. The unmarried women were, of
course, getting less benefit, and were not so well off; one of them worked
as a jute spinner in a jute mill till 6 P.M. on the night her baby was
born.

9. _Truck Act._

_Principal._--The illustrations sent me of the mass of work done in 1913
under the modern part of the law relating to truck are too numerous to be
reproduced here. Typical instances must be selected from different
industrial centres for the main points of (_a_) disciplinary fines, (_b_)
deductions or payments for damage, short weight, etc., (_c_) deductions or
payments for power, materials or anything supplied in relation to labour
of the worker; abuses of the "bonus" system may be connected with (_a_) or
(_b_). The main features of these illustrations are the poverty of the
workers, the rigidity and poverty of mind that controls workers by such
methods, and the need for fresh and living ideas to sweep away all these
defective, obsolete ways of control.

_Disciplinary Fines._

_Miss Tracey._--I had a long struggle with the occupier of a large laundry
in Lancashire over fines for coming late. The work started at 6, and it
was said that only three minutes (supposed to be five), were allowed as
grace. The weekly wages were phenomenally small, but no work was demanded
on Saturdays unless under exceptional circumstances. If a girl came to the
laundry after the gate was closed (three minutes after 6 A.M.), she was
shut out till after breakfast, a fine was inflicted for late attendance,
and if this happened more than once, one-sixth of the total wage was
deducted for Saturday, although no work was required. I found these fines
to amount to as much as 1s. 8d. out of a wage of 4s. 6d., and other sums
in proportion. This iniquitous custom had been followed for twenty years,
and I was assured that it was a case of "adjustment of wages" and did not
come under the Truck Act. However, my view eventually prevailed; certain
sums were repaid and the whole system done away with, without bringing the
case into Court. In other respects, the laundry was a good one, and no
work on Saturday is an arrangement that is of great benefit to young and
old workers alike. The plan now adopted is that a girl consistently
unpunctual during the week will be required to come in on Saturday morning
to do a few hours' work--this plan has worked so well that no one, when I
last visited, had been in the laundry on Saturday at all.

_Miss Slocock._--(1) Two girls, aged respectively eighteen and nineteen,
employed as cutters, were fined £2 : 14s. and 11s. 2d. for cutting some
handkerchiefs badly and damaging the cloth. The deductions were made at
the rate of 1s. per week, and at the time of my visit, each worker had
already had 10s. 6d. deducted from her wages. Proceedings were considered,
but the employer, directly his attention was drawn to the matter, refunded
5s. 6d. to one worker and agreed not to make any further deduction from
the other, so that one girl paid 5s. for damage amounting to 11s. 2d. and
the other 10s. 6d. for damage amounting to £2 : 14s. These amounts, 11s.
2d. and £2 : 14s. represented exactly the whole loss to the firm caused by
the damaged work, and the employer thought that he was acting legally so
long as the deductions did not exceed that amount. The fact that the Truck
Act specifically draws attention to this limitation is constantly brought
to my notice, and used as an excuse for putting the whole cost of any
damage on the workers. The average gross weekly wage earned by these
workers for the eleven weeks during which deductions were being made was
8s. 1d. and 10s. 10-1/2d. respectively.

(2) Two workers employed as shirt machinists were told they would both be
fined 5s. for spoiling two shirts each by mixing the cloth. The difference
in the cloth was so slight that I could hardly distinguish it in daylight,
and the workers had machined the shirts by artificial light. The contract
under which these deductions were made provided that the cost price of the
material damaged should not be exceeded; the firm admitted that the cost
price of the material was not more than 1s. 6d. each shirt, and a fine of
2s. 6d. from each worker (1s. 3d. for each shirt) was ultimately imposed.

_Miss Escreet._--Many instances of deductions for damage have touched the
borderland where non-payment of wages for work done badly approximates to
a deduction of payment in respect of bad work. Action in such cases is
very difficult--when sums like 5s. 5d. and 3s. are deducted from wages of
10s. 7d. and 13s. 4d. in a weaving shed and metal factory respectively,
there is no question that the workers look rightly for the protection of
the Truck Acts, which were surely framed to control this very kind of
arbitrary handling of hardly earned wage. Enquiry into these cases
invariably brings to light other considerations than the mere fact of
damaged work. Some managers find it difficult to realise that bad work is
bound to be a feature attendant on pressure for great output, especially
if the workers are inexperienced and ill-taught, or if the piece-work
rates are so low that the workers cannot afford to use care, and are
obliged to trust to luck and a lenient "passer."

10. _Lenience of Magistrates to Employer._

_Principal._--We have to occasionally reckon with Benches who consider a
few shillings' penalty, or even 1d. penalty, sufficient punishment for
excessive overtime employment of girls, or with others who are reluctant
to convict, or punish with more than cost of proceedings, law-breaking
employers who are shown to have been thoroughly instructed in the law they
have neglected to obey. It is in my belief an open question whether the
tender treatment of the Probation of Offenders Act was ever designed to
apply to the case of fully responsible adults officially supplied by
abstracts with the knowledge and understanding of an industrial code which
is intended to protect the weakest workers.


(_A Leaflet issued from a Trade Union Office_)

  -------- & DISTRICT WEAVERS, WINDERS,
  WARPERS & REELERS' ASSOCIATION.

  (Branch of the Amalgamated Weavers' Association)
  OFFICES: TEXTILE HALL, --------.

  WINDERS AND THE BARBER KNOTTER.[75]
  A Few Facts for Non-Union Winders.

Have you ever considered what it costs you through not joining your Trade
Union?

Study the following facts:

Many winders have five per cent. deducted each week from their wages for
using the "Barber" Knotter.

Five per cent. on 15s. per week is 9d.

9d. per week is £1 17s. 6d. for every 50 weeks you work. If you work with
one of these knotters for three years your employer has been paid =more=
than the original cost; but they continue to stop the five per cent. and
the knotter still belongs to the employer. If you work at a mill ten years
and pay five per cent. all the time you cannot take the knotter with you
when you leave.

Think about it. You pay for it three or four times over, but it doesn't
belong to you. =Oh, no!=

We ask you to pay =5d.= to your Trade Union so that we can =stop your
employer from keeping 9d. out of your wages=.

If you would rather pay 9d. to your employers than 5d. to your Trade Union
you have =LESS SENSE= than we thought you had.

"But," you say, "we can earn more money with a knotter." Quite true, but
you are paid on "=production=," so if you get more money it is only
because you turn more work off, and in turning more work off your

Employers get a Greater Production

but they make =YOU= pay for it.

The knotter enables you to piece up at a quicker rate; this saves time. It
enables you to make smaller knots, thus making better work. The two
combined makes

Quantity and Quality.

The employers get =both= and make you pay for it.

We say to you that it is no part of your duty to pay for improved
machinery. If it is beneficial to the employers to improve any part of any
machine they'll do it without consulting you, but we hold that if by doing
this they get a greater and better production then they ought to =ADVANCE=
your wages and not deduct five per cent. from them.

Think! Think! Think!

View the matter over in your own minds.

Reason the matter from your own point of view.

If you are satisfied with the present system, well, =DON'T GRUMBLE=.

If you're not, =What are you going to do to stop it?= Have you a remedy?
If so, what is it?

If you haven't, =WE HAVE!=

Organisation is the only solution!

Trade Unionism will solve the problem for you, but

  You'll have to pay and not pout!
       "    "    act   "    shout!

Pay 5d. and keep the 9d.! Fight and don't Funk.

DON'T HESITATE--AGITATE!

If you have eyes--SEE! If you have ears--HEAR!

JOIN THE UNION!

Bring your grievances to the Officials!

But join--Delay is Dangerous--Join at once!

--------, Secretary.



APPENDIX TO CHAPTER VII.


RESOLUTIONS SUBMITTED BY THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN WORKERS TO THE
TRADE UNION CONGRESS, 1915.

"(_a_) That all women who register for war service should immediately join
the appropriate trade union in the trade for which they are volunteering
service, and that membership of such organisation should be the condition
of their employment for war service, and that those trade unions which
exclude women be urged to admit women as members.

"(_b_) That where a woman is doing the same work as a man she should
receive the same rate of pay, and that the principle of equal pay for
equal work should be rigidly maintained."


MANCHESTER AND DISTRICT WOMEN'S WAR INTERESTS COMMITTEE.

The Committee was formed as a result of the Joint action of the Women's
Emergency Corps and the Manchester and District Federation of Women's
Suffrage Societies. Representatives were invited from the Women's
organisations ... and the trade unions interested in women in munition
works. The Gasworkers and the Workers' Union also asked for representation
and were accepted.

The Committee carried through an investigation of women in munition works,
and discovered that 12s. to 15s. was the standard wage, which was lower
than the standard, or usual women's rates in the district, which were
about £1.

It was therefore proposed that the Committee work for a minimum wage for
women in munition works, and the programme, of which a copy is enclosed,
was drawn up. This was presented to the Trade Union section of the
Lancashire No. 1 Armaments Output Committee and received their hearty
support.

The Amalgamated Society of Engineers recognised the National Federation of
Women Workers as the organisation to take in women munition workers, and
the local secretaries were instructed to co-operate with this body
wherever a branch exists. There being no branch in the Manchester area the
Amalgamated Society of Engineers recognised the Women's War Interests
Committee as the representative women's organisation. Great help has been
given to the Committee by their officials.

The Committee does not itself undertake to organise the women, but passed
a resolution to the effect that it would co-operate with any movement
towards organisation of the women which is undertaken as a result of joint
agreement with the interested trade unions.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following proposals have been agreed upon by the Committee for the
employment of women in ammunition works, to form the basis of
representations to the Ministry of Munitions:--

_Wages._--That a guaranteed minimum of £1 per week of 48 hours should be
paid to every adult woman worker (over 18 years) employed on munitions.
Piecework rates, irrespective of class of labour employed, should remain
unaltered.

_Hours._--That a three-shift system of 8 hours is preferable to continuous
overtime for women. No woman should be employed on night work for more
than two weeks out of six.

_Conditions._--That ample canteen provision be provided, this to be
obligatory where night work is in operation.



AUTHORITIES.


CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.

PEARSON, KARL. Woman as Witch, in the Chances of Death, vol. ii.; and Sex
Relations in Germany, in the Ethic of Freethought, p. 402.

MASON, OTIS. In the American Antiquarian, Jan. 1889, p. 6.

ELLIS, HAVELOCK. Man and Woman. Fourth Edition. Introduction and chap.
xiv.

RECLUS, E. Primitive Folk, pp. 57-8. Contemporary Science Series. 1891.

FRAZER, J. G. The Magic Art, ii. 204.

MAN, E. H. Journal of the Anthropological Institute. August 1893.

SERVANTS IN HUSBANDRY.

THOROLD, ROGERS. History of Agriculture and Prices, i. pp. 273-274, and
iv. 495. Compare Bland, Brown, and Tawney, English Economic History, p.
347, for approximation between men's and women's wages.

EDEN, SIR FREDERICK. State of the Poor, iii. lxxxix.

TEXTILES: WOOL AND LINEN.

SCHMOLLER. Strassbürger Tücher- und Weberzunft, p. 354.

Archaeologia. Vol. xxxvii. pp. 91 and 93; vol. x. Plates XX., XXI., and
XXII.

ANDREWS. Old English Manor, p. 272.

DELONEY. Jack of Newbury, p. 59.

WRIGHT, T. Womankind of Western Europe, pp. 59, 177-8.

AUBREY. History of Wiltshire. Quoted in Archaeologia xxxvii. p. 95.

WARDEN, A. The Linen Trade. Longman, 1867. (2nd ed.), pp. 355-6.

ROCK, D. Textile Fabrics, p. 11. 1876.

ECKENSTEIN, LINA. Women under Monasticism.

Ancren Riwle. Reprinted in the King's Classics, p. 317.

BÜCHER. Industrial Evolution. Translated by S. M. Wickett, pp. 265-7.

JAMES, JOHN. History of Worsted, p. 289.

Victoria County History. Yorkshire, ii. p. 43.

WRIGHT, T. Homes of Other Days, p. 434.

CHAUCER. Wife of Bath's Prologue.

BEARD, C. Industrial Revolution, p. 25.

FITZHERBERT. Book of Husbandry. 1574. Edited by Skeat, par. 146.

TEMPLE, SIR W. Quoted in Cunningham's Growth of Industry and Commerce,
Modern Times, p. 370. (Ed. 1907.)

Shuttleworth Accounts, Chetham Society, vol. xlvi. p. 1002.

MARKHAM, G. The English Housewife, pp. 167, 172. (Ed. 1637.)

WEAVING AND SPINNING AS A WOMAN'S TRADE.

ABRAM, A. Social England in the Fifteenth Century, pp. 133-4.

Ancient Book of the Weavers' Company. (Facsimile in the British Museum
Library.)

FOX AND TAYLOR. Weavers' Gild of Bristol, p. 38.

UNWIN, G. Industrial Organisation in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth
Centuries, p. 229.

LAMBERT. Two Thousand Years of Gild Life, pp. 206-10.

THOMSON, D. The Weaver's Craft, p. 22.

Records of the City of Norwich, ii. p. 378.

For Rates of Pay to Weavers, etc., see a volume of tracts in the British
Museum Library, numbered 1851, c. 101.

Howard Accounts. Published by the Roxburgh Club, vol. li.

MARKHAM, G. The English Housewife, pp. 174-5. (Ed. 1637.)

DUNLOP AND DENMAN. English Apprenticeship and Child Labour, chap. ix.

DEVELOPMENT OF CAPITALISTIC INDUSTRY.

UNWIN, G. In the Victoria County History, Suffolk, ii. pp. 258-9.

BAINES, E. History of Cotton Manufacture, p. 91.

GREEN, MRS. ALICE. Town Life in the Fifteenth Century, ii. p. 100.

Ordinances of Worcester. Edited by Toulmin Smith. Early English Text
Society.

HAMILTON. History of Quarter Sessions, pp. 164, 273.

LEONARD. Early English Poor Relief.

ASHLEY, W. J. English Economic History, Part II., chapter on the Woollen
Industry.

YOUNG, ARTHUR. Northern Tour, vol. i. p. 137. Second edition. 1770.

YOUNG, ARTHUR. Tour in East of England, ii. pp. 75, 81.

WARNER, TOWNSEND. In Traill's Social England, vol. v. p. 149.

MANTOUX. La Révolution industrielle, p. 36.

BONWICK. Romance of the Wool Trade, p. 435.

Lancashire Worthies, i. p. 307.

WEBER, MARIANNE. Ehefrau und Mutter, Tübingen, 1907, p. 252.

SILK.

CAMPBELL, W. Materials for History of the Reign of Henry VII., pp. 13, 15,
168, 170, etc.

Victoria County History, Derby, ii. p. 372.

OTHER INDUSTRIES.

TRAILL. Social England, vol. i. p. 658.

LAPSLEY, G. T. "Account Roll of a Fifteenth-Century Ironmaster," in the
English Historical Review, vol. xiv., July 1899, p. 51.

Victoria County History. Derbyshire, pp. 328-9, 332, 343.

Some Account of Mines. British Museum, 444, a 49, p. 62.

GALLOWAY. Annals of Coal Mining, pp. 91, 232, 234, 354 _passim_.

Case of Sir H. Mackworth. British Museum, 522, m. 12 (2).

Case of the Mine Adventurers in the same volume, No. 26.

YOUNG, ARTHUR. Northern Tour, vol. ii. pp. 189, 254-5. Second Edition.
1770.

YOUNG, ARTHUR. Six Weeks' Tour, pp. 150, 109. 1768.


CHAPTER II.

THE COTTON INDUSTRY.

BAINES, EDWARD. History of the Cotton Manufacture, 1836, pp. 97, 100, 115,
116 n., 446.

GUEST. History of the Cotton Manufacture.

RADCLIFFE, W. Origin of the New System of Manufacture, 1828, p. 59, etc.

GASKELL, P. Manufacturing Population of England, 1833, pp. 42, 43, 60.

BEARD, C. A. The Industrial Revolution.

MANTOUX. La Révolution industrielle, pp. 208-11.

ELLISON, T. The Cotton Trade of Great Britain, 1886.

LAW, ALICE. Social and Economic History, in the Victoria County History,
Lancashire, vol. ii. p. 327.

CHAPMAN, S. J. The Lancashire Cotton Industry.

CUNNINGHAM, W. Growth of English Industry and Commerce, Modern Times, p.
654. (Ed. 1907.)

THE DECAY OF HANDSPINNING.

EDEN, SIR FREDERICK. State of the Poor, vol. iii. pp. 768, 821, 847.

THE HANDLOOM WEAVER'S WIFE.

GASKELL, P. Manufacturing Population, p. 40.

MANTOUX. La Révolution industrielle, pp. 442-3.

Report of Committee on Ribbon-Weavers, 1818, vol. ix. p. 124.

Report on Handloom Weavers, 1834, vol. x. Evidence of Brennan.

THE FACTORY.

TUCKETT, J. D. History of the Labouring Population, pp. 208-9.

AIKIN, J. Country Round Manchester, pp. 167, 192.

URE. Philosophy of Manufactures, pp. 312-3.

GASKELL, P. Manufacturing Population of England, chap. i.

TAYLOR, W. COOKE. Factories and the Factory System, 1844, pp. 1, 45-6.

FIELDEN, J. Curse of the Factory System, 1836, p. 43.

Assistant Poor Law Commissioners. Report on Employment of Women and
Children in Agriculture, p. 25. Parliamentary Papers, 1843, xii.

GASKELL, MRS. Mary Barton.

THE WOMAN WAGE-EARNER.

Report on Artizans and Machinery. Parliamentary Papers, 1824, vol. v.
Evidence of Dunlop and Holdsworth, compare evidence of M'Dougal and
William Smith.

Report on Manufactures and Commerce. Parliamentary Papers, 1833, vol. vi.
p. 323.

Report on Combinations of Workmen. Parliamentary Papers, 1838, viii. q.
3527-31.

Report on Handloom Weavers, 1840, vol. xxiii. p. 307.

GASKELL, P. Artizans and Machinery, pp. 143, 331.

GASKELL, P. Manufacturing Population of England, pp. 186-8.

Report on Employment of Children in Factories. Parliamentary Papers, 1834,
xix. p. 297.

SCHULTZE-GÄVERNITZ. The Cotton Trade in England and on the Continent.
Translated by O. S. Hall. 1895.

THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IN NON-TEXTILE TRADES.

Children's Employment Commission. 1843. Reports on Birmingham District.

Children's Employment Commission. Parliamentary Papers. 1864, vol. xxii.;
Third Report, p. x.

TIMMINS, S. Resources of Birmingham and the Hardware District. 1866.

Labour Commission. Reports on Employment of Women, by Miss Orme, Miss
Collet, Miss Abraham, and Miss Irwin. Parliamentary Papers, 1893-94, vol.
xxxvii.

British Association, 1902-1903. Reports to the Economic Section by the
Committee on the Legal Regulation of Women's Labour.


CHAPTER IV.

WOMEN IN UNIONS.

Report on Combination Laws. Parliamentary Papers, 1825, vol. iv.
Appendices 6, 10, 16.

Board of Trade. Seventeenth Report on Trade Unions, 1912.

Board of Trade. Sixteenth Labour Abstract, 1915.

Articles of the Manchester Small Ware Weavers, printed at Manchester,
1756. (Manchester Library.)

WEBB, SIDNEY AND BEATRICE. History of Trade Unionism, pp. 104-5, 121-3,
etc.

CHAPMAN, S. J. History of the Lancashire Cotton Industry, pp. 213-5, etc.

Report on Standard Piece Rates of Wages in the U.K. Parliamentary Papers,
1900, vol. lxxxii.

Reports of the Women's Trade Union League, 1874 to present time. (34
Mecklenburgh Square.)

Women in the Printing Trades. Edited by J. Ramsay MacDonald. 1904.

Report by Miss Busbey on Women's Unions in Great Britain. Bulletin of the
Labour Department, U.S.A. No. 83.

Labour Commission. Evidence of Mrs. Hicks and Miss James. Parliamentary
Papers, 1892, vol. xxxv.

Reports of the National Federation of Women Workers. (34 Mecklenburgh
Square.)

Also reports of trade union and other societies and information given
privately.

_America._--History of Women in Trade Unions. Vol x. of Report on Women
and Child Wage-Earners in the U.S.

Admission to American Trade Unions. By F. Wolfe, Ph.D. Johns Hopkins
University Studies, 1912.

Women in Trade Unions in San Francisco. L. R. Matthews University of
California Publications in Economics, vol. iii 1913.

Making Both Ends Meet. Clark and Wyatt. New York: Macmillan, 1911. Chaps.
ii. and v.

The World of Labour. G. D. H. Cole. Bell, 1913. Chap. v.

Report on Strike of Textile Workers in Lawrence, Mass., in 1912.
Washington: Government Printing Office, 1912.


CHAPTER IVA.

WOMEN IN UNIONS (_continued_).

_Germany._--BRAUN, LILY. Die Frauenfrage, 1901.

GNAUCK-KÜHNE, ELISABETH. Die Arbeiterinnenfrage. M. Gladbach, 1905.

SANDERS, W. STEPHEN. Industrial Organisation in Germany. Special
supplement to the _New Statesman_, October 18, 1913.

The Organisation of Women Workers in Germany. Special Report to the
International Women's Trade Union League of America. Submitted by the
Women Workers' Secretariat of the General Commission of Trade Unions of
Germany. Berlin, 1913.

ERDMANN, A. Church and Trade Unions in Germany. Published by the General
Commission of Trade Unions in Germany. Berlin, 1913.


CHAPTER VII.

EFFECTS OF THE WAR ON WOMEN'S EMPLOYMENT.

Reports of the Board of Trade on the State of Employment in the United
Kingdom in October and December 1914, and February 1915.

Interim Report of the Central Committee on Employment of Women.

The Labour Gazette.

Labour in War-Time. By G. D. H. Cole. Bell, 1915.

Report on Outlets for Labour after the War by a Committee appointed by
Section F of the British Association. Manchester Meeting. 1915.

Articles in the _New Statesman_, _Common Cause_, _Englishwoman_, _Economic
Journal_, etc.



INDEX


  Abbott, Edith, 151

  Abram, Annie, 13

  Accidents, 59, 125, 129

  Accounts of Hen. VII., 27
    of seventeenth century, 15
    Shuttleworth, 11

  Accrington, 96

  Adam and Eve, 6

  Adaptation of industry in war-time, 248

  Administration of the Factory Act, 53, 181-2, 243, 255, 282-93

  Adolescence, care of, 206

  Aftalion, 72

  Agricultural population, report on, 51

  Aikin, 43, 50

  Aldhelm, 7

  Alfred, King, 5

  Amalgamated Society of Clothiers, 116

  Amalgamation, the, 112

  America, 60
    Women's Unions in, _section_, 141

  Ammunition workers' strike, 130-31

  Anaemia, 188

  _Ancren Riwle_, 8

  Andrews, 7

  Anglo-Saxon industry, 5, 7

  Anthropology, 2

  Anti-Combination Act, repeal of, 92

  Anti-Socialist Law, 155

  Anti-Sweating League, 125, 133

  Apathy of the governing class, 52

  Apathy of women, 104-7, 113, 115, 209

  Apprentices, factory, 273

  Apprenticeship, _section_, 15

  Architects, the first, 2

  Arkwright, 33, 35, 36, 47

  Artizans and Machinery, Select Committee on, 53

  Ashley, afterwards Shaftesbury, Lord, 185

  Asses, machines worked by, 43

  Assistance in craft industries by women and girls, 16

  Association, _section_, 205

  _Athenaeum_, 52 _n._

  Attacks on the factory system, 49-51

  Attraction of the family, 83

  Aubrey, 7


  Backwardness of the Factory Act, 184

  Bad conditions in factories, 135, 181, 273, 286

  Bagley, Sarah, 142

  Baines, E., 38, 44

  Bamford, 24

  Barber knotter, the, 294

  Barry, Leonora, 145

  Beam, the, 98

  Beamers, 126

  Beaming, 107

  Bebel, 156

  Berchta, 2

  Berlin, 158, 159

  Bermondsey, 135

  Besant, Mrs., 128

  Betterment, 202

  Bill to raise wages, 1593, 20

  Bilston, 136

  Birmingham, 43, 62, 136
    trades, 29

  Bishopsgate, workhouse in, 21

  Black, Clementina, 122, 128

  Blackburn, 33, 96, 111, 112, 113
    society, 99

  Black Death, 4

  Bondfield, Margaret, 259 _n._

  Bonwick, 23

  Bookbinders, Society of, 120

  Boot and shoe trade, 63-4
    Unions, 116, 150

  Boston, 151

  Bosworth, Louise, 234

  Bourgeois women's movement, 162, 163

  Bowley, A. L., 228

  Bradford, 116
    Bradford Dale, 25

  Brass work, 66
    polishing, 191

  Braun, Frau Lily, 69, 161-4, 175

  Brighton, 122

  Bristol, 14, 29, 63, 64, 65, 224
    Weavers' Gild of, 22

  Britain, Great, what she stands for, 265

  British Association, 64

  Bücher, 9

  Bureau of Labour, enquiry by, 149

  Burnley weavers, 102

  Burslem, 29

  Butler, Elizabeth, 61

  Butler, Josephine, 199

  Button-making, 29


  Cadbury, E., 195 _n._

  Capitalist employer, the, 185-6

  Card-room operatives, 59, _section_, 113, 126, 168

  Carpenters' Company, 17

  Carrying loads, 65, 66

  Cartwright, 35, 42

  Catholic Unions, 161, 164

  Causes of lack of organisation, 115, 139, 151

  Census, Chap. III.

  Central Commission of German Trade Unions, 156

  Central Committee on Women's Employment, 247

  Central Strike Fund, 103

  Centralisation needed, 173

  Chain-makers, 131
    Board, first determination of, 132

  Changes effected by industrial revolution, _section_, 178

  Chapman, Sydney J., 92

  Charles II., 26

  Chaucer, 10

  Chemicals, 63

  Child labour in factories, 272
    report on, 57

  Childbirth, employment after, 290

  Children and machines, 43, 272
    exploitation of, 264

  Children's clothes, 65
    Employment Commission, 62, 63

  Chorley weavers, 96, 103

  Christian Trade Unions, 160

  Churchill, Winston, 20

  Cigar trade, 117, 118

  Citizenship for women, 190, 196

  Civil conditions, statistics of, 79

  Clarke, Allen, 45

  Class differences and class solidarity, 174
    interest, 166
    selfishness, 186

  Cleft, the, 207

  Clothing trades, 64
    Unions, 116
    wages in, 218

  Clothworkers, 14

  Clubs for working women, 166

  Coal-mining, women in, 29

  Cole, G. D. H., 174, 208

  Collectors, 105

  Collet, Clara, 80, 170

  Combination among rich clothiers, 17, 18
    of Workers, Committee on, 94

  Committees of Weavers' Union, 108, 176

  Competing Unions, 172, 173

  Competition between men and women, 66
    for employment, 169

  Complexity of weavers' lists, 99

  Compositors, 116, 117

  Compositors' Union, 117

  Comradeship among women, 190

  Confectioners' Union, 130

  Confectionery works, 67

  Constructive measures, _section_, 260

  Consumers, women as, 208, 263

  Consumers' co-operation, 208

  Co-operation with bourgeois movement to be avoided, 163

  Co-operative Guild, Women's, 208

  Copper works, 29

  Cop-winding, 107

  Core-making, 64, 146

  Corporate action, 175
    women untrained for, 165

  Cotton, bad, 101, 114

  _Cotton Factory Times_, 145 _n._

  Cotton trade, 31 _et seq._, _section_, 240, 268-82

  Cotton weavers, _section_, 96, 168, 173
    male, 60

  Cotton-weaving, 58

  Courtney, Janet, 263 _n._

  Coventry, 64
    ribbon trade, 41

  Cracker factory, strike in, 148

  Cradley, 133-4, 136

  Cradley Heath chain-makers, 131

  Craft Unions, 149, 158, 207-8

  Cunningham, W., D.D., 38

  _Curse of the Factory System_, 47

  Cycle industry, 64


  Darwen and Ramsbottom, 96

  Death-rates, 77
    of male infants, 257

  Deaths of women in mine explosions, 29

  Decay of hand-spinning, _section_, 39

  Decline of domestic manufacture, 35

  Decrease of employment in wartime, statistics of, 241, 266

  Deductions, 292

  Deficiencies, educational, 169

  Defoe, Daniel, 24

  Delays in labour legislation, causes of, 186

  Deloney, 6

  Dependents on women-workers, 145-6, 233-4

  Derby, 27, 95

  Derbyshire, 29, 97

  _Detroit Free Press_, 145

  Development of capitalistic industry, _section_, 17

  Development of women's employment, 61

  Devon, 51

  Devotion and self-sacrifice of women, 165

  Difficulties in organising women, 115, 139, 151, 154, 164, 169

  _Digby Mysteries_, 6

  Dismissal without notice, 125

  Disproportion of women, 77

  Distaff, the, Chap. I., _section_
    Textiles, 5

  Divergent views on factory system, 45

  Division among the weavers, 97

  Dock and General Workers' Union, 126

  Dock Strike, 128

  Doherty, 55

  Domestic workers, statistics of, 84, 86
    little organisation among, 168

  Dorset, 51

  Dover, New Hampshire, strikes at, 141

  Drawers, 126

  Dressmakers, little organisation among, 168

  Dressmaking, 64, 65, 87, 118
    factory, _d.-m._, 72, 220

  Drudgery a survival, 203-4

  Dundee, 115

  Dunlop, Jocelyn, 15, 16

  Dust-extractor, 59

  Dust in rope-works, 129


  Early civilisation, 1-3

  Early factories, conditions in, 50, 52, 181

  Early manufactures, characteristics of, 47

  Earning power of women, 71-2

  Earnings and Hours Enquiry, 214

  Earnings in 1770, 33
    of women, Chap. VI.
      insufficient for health, 229

  East End workers, 128

  East Lancashire Amalgamated Society, 96

  East London, 130

  East Meon, Church of, 6

  Economic Independence, 80

  Economic Section of British Association, 64, 253 _n._

  Economic self-dependence, 81

  Eden, Sir F., 39

  Edmonton, ammunition workers at, 130-31

  Education by Trade Unions, 159

  Educational deficiencies, 169

  Edward VI., 21

  Effects, moral, of Trade Unions among women, 153

  Effects of the War on the employment of women, Chap. VII.

  Egotistic refinement, 198

  Eight-hour Leagues, 143

  Elements of Statistics, 228

  Elizabeth, 19

  Employers oppose Unionism, 151

  Engineering, 64

  Enlightenment of women, 194

  Ephemeral character of Women's Unions, 150

  Equal chance, an, 145

  Equal pay for equal work, 144, 152, 172, 255

  Equal rates of pay for women, 93

  Equality of opportunity, 196

  Erdmann, Dr., 167

  Essex, 25 _n._

  Exclusion of women, _section_, 189
    from local governing bodies, 198

  Exeter, Justices of, 20

  Expansion of trade, 18

  Experience in sorting wool, 21


  Fachverein der Mäntelnäherinnen, 155

  Factory, the, _section_, 43

  Factory Act, the first, 185
    of 1833, 45, 181
    of 1844, 1847, 1850, 1864, 1867, 1878, 1901, 182
    prejudice against the, 120
    what it has done, _section_, 181

  Factory system, beginning of, 21, 22
    disliked, 42

  Fall of prices in weaving, 26, 37, 39

  Fall River, strike at, 143-4

  Family, attraction of the, 83
    women working in the, 178

  Fatigue, 202

  Federation of Trade Unions, 208
    American, 145, 146, 152

  Felkin, 25

  Female Industrial Association, 142

  Female Membership of Trade Unions, 177

  Feminist movement, 175

  Ferrier, Dr., 52

  Fielden, John, 45, 47

  File cutlery, 64

  Fines, unfair, 100-102, 127-8

  Finishing goods, 67

  Fire-escapes, 287

  Five hours' spell, 183

  Flax, 10, 11, 242
    industry, strike in the, 138

  Fly-shuttle, invention of, 33

  Folklore ceremonies, 1

  Food trades, 63

  Frame-work knitting, _section_, 25

  Free Unions, German, 156, 160

  Freedom of employment, unrestricted, 193

  Frigga's Distaff or Rock, 5

  Fruit-picking, 65

  Fuegians, 2

  Future organisation of women, _section_, 206


  Garment workers, 150

  Gaskell, Mrs., 74

  Gaskell, P., 38 _n._, 45, 47, 48, 56, 231

  Gas-Workers' and General Labourers' Union, 140, 174 _n._

  General Federation of Trade Unions, 140

  _Gentlemen's Magazine_, 39

  German Statistical Year-Book, 157

  Germany, Women's Unions in, _section_, 154

  Girls untrained, 16

  Girl-workers, 73

  Glasgow, 94, 122, 224
    spinners, 93

  Glossop, 27

  Gloucester, 30

  Gloucestershire, 18

  Gnauck-Kühne, Elizabeth, 157, 164-166, 207 _n._

  Goldmark, Josephine, 202

  Governing class, 52, 179, 181

  Graham, 54

  Grand General Union, 93

  Grand National Union, 95

  Grant, P., 45

  Greenwood, Arthur, 189

  Greig, Mrs. Billington, 209

  Grey or Franciscan Friars, 6

  Guest, 32

  Guild, Women's Co-operative, 176-177


  Habit of association, lack of, 106

  Half-pay apprentices, 41

  Halifax, 39

  Hamilton, A., 20

  Hammond, J. L. and B, 180 _n._

  Hand-loom Weavers, Committee on, 42

  Hand-loom weaver's wife, _section_, 40

  Hand-wheels thrown aside, 34

  Hargreaves, J., 33, 42

  Haslam, J., 191, 192, 193

  Hat and cap workers, 150

  Healds, 98

  Hebden Bridge, 231

  Henley, Walter of, 10

  Henry VII., accounts of, 27

  _Henry VIII._, 19

  Hicks, Mrs. Amie, 128, 129, 130

  Hicks, Margaretta, 209

  Hirsch-Duncker Unions, 161

  Holda or Holla, 2

  Hollow-ware workers, strike of, 136-138

  Home, work in the, 44

  Home Workers' Union, 160

  Horrocks, 36

  Hostility of employers to Unions, 139, 151, 169

  Hotel servants and waitresses, 168

  Houldsworth, 93

  Hours of work, 183-4, 277, 289

  Housewife preparing wool, 11, 14-15
    position of the, 165

  Housing in towns, 50

  Huddersfield, 115

  Hull, 14, 15

  Husbandry, servants in, _section_, 3

  Hutchins, B. L., 197 _n._, 207 _n._

  Hyde, 93


  Ideals of Victorian era, 198-9

  Ignorance of domestic work, 51

  Importation of silk, 26

  Improvements in working conditions, 190, 202

  Increase of women in metal trades, 63

  Increase of women-workers in Germany, 155

  Industrial change, effects of, 42
    revolution, Chap. II.

  Industrial Workers of the World, 148

  "Industry in bonds," 49

  Inequality of wages, 123

  Influence of Unions on conditions, 153

  Injury from prolonged standing, 186, 187

  Insanitary conditions in confectioners' workrooms, 130

  Inspection of factories impossible for women, 197

  Inspectors, factory, 181
    women appointed as, 182

  Instability of status, 152

  Insurance Act, 103, 108, 116, 126, 131, 176, 188, 205

  Interdenominational Unions, 161

  Interests, interlocking of, 173

  "Interkonfessionelle" Unions, 164

  International Association for Labour Legislation, 125

  International Typographical Union, 143

  International Workers' Congress, 123

  Inventions, 43

  Ipswich, 65
    Christ's Hospital at, 21

  Ireland, 224

  Irons on apprentices, 274

  Ironworks, a fifteenth-century, 29

  Isolation of women, 164-5


  Jacquard's loom, 42

  Jam-making, 135

  James, Clara, 128, 130

  James, John, 25 _n._

  James, William, 207

  Jones, Lloyd, 106


  Kaffirs, 2

  Kamtchatdals, 2

  Kay, 33

  Kendal, 39

  Kettering, 224

  King, Mr., 120

  Knights of Labour, 144, 145

  Knitting-machine, 25

  _Korrespondenzblatt_, 158


  Labour, an important factor in production, 136

  Labour Commission, 61, 63, 129, 170, 197, 198

  Labour League, Women's, 177, 208

  Labour legislation, weakness of and delays in, 186

  Labour movement, 127

  Labourers, Statute of, 4

  Lacquering, 63

  Lancashire, 61, 74, 96, 97, 102
    cotton spinners of, 93

  Lapsley, 29

  Lassalle, 158

  Laundresses, Union of, 122

  Laundry Workers' International Union, 147

  Law, Alice, 36

  Lawrence, Mass., 149

  Lead mines, women in, 29
    poisoning, 288

  Lee, inventor of knitting-machine, 25

  Leeds, 23, 39, 116, 224

  Leicester, 92, 224

  Leland's _Itinerary_, 21

  Lenience of Magistrate, 293

  Levant Company, 32

  Lighting of work-places, 184, 284

  Linen and jute, 115, 242

  List prices, 99, 100, 114

  Liverpool, 173

  Locked in factory, 129-30

  Lombe, John, 27

  London, 126, 242
    milliners, 168
    Trades Council, 128

  London weavers, 13, 14
    Women's Trades Council, 123

  Loom, the, 5

  Low wages of women, consolation for, 57

  Lowell, Female Labour Reform Association at, 142
    strikes at, 141
    Union, 142

  Lye, 136, 137

  Lytton, Lady Constance, 200


  Macarthur, Mary, xv, 131

  Macclesfield, 28

  MacDonald, J. R., 195 _n._

  Machine work, 66

  Machinery and skill, 68-9
    and women's employment, 69-70

  Mackworth, Sir H., 29

  Maladjustment and Readjustment, _section_, 245

  Male Weavers' Union, 143-4

  Malingering, xv, 188

  Malmesbury Abbey, 21-2

  Manchester, 31, 32, 47, 50, 55, 93, 126, 173, 176, 224
    societies, 126-7
    spinners, 92
    Women's Trade Union Council, 139
    Women's War Interests Committee, 256, 296

  Mantoux, 23, 41

  Manufactures and Commerce, Select Committee on, 54

  Markham, Gervase, 14

  Marriage, _section_, 78
    and organisation, 151
    decreasing prospect of, 196, 256
    prospect of, its effects on young men and women, 151, 169-70

  Married women's work, 89-91

  Marx, Karl, 49

  Mary, Queen, 21

  Match factories, 47
    workers, 183
    makers' Union, 128

  Match-girls' strike, 127-8

  Material progress, 51, 265

  Maternity benefit, 103, 259 _n._
    and child welfare, 258
    care of, 206

  Matheson, M. C., 195 _n._

  Matthews, Miss, 153

  Mechanical power, 200-201
    progress, 43

  Mellor, 33

  Men and women, division of work between, 53
    numbers of, in cotton spinning, 55
    organised together, 166, 168

  Metal trades, increase of women's employment in, 63

  Metal-cutting, 66

  Middle-class women's movement, _section_, 195

  _Mines_, an _Account of_, 29

  Minimum, principle of the, 237-8
    requirements, 227

  Monopoly of trade in clothing, 18

  Moral atmosphere of factories, 50
    effects of Unionism, 153

  Mortality, 76, 77

  Movement of women's wages, _section_, 229

  Mule-spinning, 191-2

  Mundella, A. J., 250 _n._

  Munitions work, 251-2


  National Federation of Women Workers, 131, 133, _section_, 140, 296

  _Nature of Woman_, 2

  Neath, 29

  Needlewomen, 154

  Nelson and District Weavers' Association, 101 _n._

  New demand for women's labour, _section_, 250

  New England cotton mills, 142

  New spirit among women, _section_, 199

  New Unionism, 127, 149, 174

  New York, 141, 142

  Nightingale, Florence, 199, 200

  Non-textile trades, 28-30
    industrial revolution in, _section_, 61

  Nordverein der Berliner Arbeiterinnen, 155

  Northampton, 224

  N.E. Lancashire Amalgamated Society, 96

  Norwich, 23, 224


  Oakeshott, G., 118 _n._

  Oastler, Thomas, 185

  Occupational statistics, 81-8

  Oldham, 95
    and district, 96

  Opposition of landowners to Liberals, 46
    to factory legislation, 121-3
    to women's employment, 42, 43, 93, 94

  Oppression by employers, 19

  Ordinances of Worcester, 18

  Organisation, early efforts at, _section_, 92
    in different trades, 171
    of German Unions, 157-60
    of women, need for, 107, 255
    of women, together with men, 172
    of young persons, difficulty of, 113

  Outlook, the, _section_, 167

  Overcrowding in towns, 52

  Overstrain, 110
    in cotton industry, 59, 281, 287

  Overtime, 184, 289

  Owen, Robert, 44, 47, 53, 95, 106


  Padiham, 96, 113

  Paper and stationery, 63

  Paper-sorting or overlooking, 67, 168

  Paris, 123

  Paterson, Emma, 119-22

  Pay-stewards, 176

  Pearson, Karl, 1, 206

  Peel, the elder, 53

  Peel's Committee (1816), 41

  Pen trade, 63

  Percival, Dr. Thomas, 52, 185

  Personality in Union officials, 174

  Petition against importation of silk, 26, 27
    of weavers, 17

  Philanthropy, 163, 166

  Phosphorus, white, prohibition of, 183

  Phossy jaw, 183

  Picks, 98

  Pictet, 5

  Piece rates, 97-102

  Piecers to replace spinners, 54
    women as, 192

  Piers Plowman, 8

  Pin manufacture, 30

  Pittsburgh, U.S.A., 61

  Plague, the, 4

  Plated ware trade, 30

  Policy, a coherent, 173

  Polish women weavers, strike of, 149

  Polynesians, 2

  Poor Law, its effect on wages, 21
    of Elizabeth, 32

  Possibilities of modern industry, 204
    of State control, _section_, 204

  Potential changes of the industrial revolution, _section_, 200

  Potteries, 29

  Potters, 146

  Power sewing-machine, 63

  Power-loom, 35
    introduction of the, 55

  Premature employment, effects of, 62

  Preparing material, 65

  Present position of the woman worker, _section_, 183

  Press-work, 66

  Preston, 96

  Primitive industries, 2, 3

  Printing, 66, 116

  Professional women, scope for, 263 _n._

  Professions for women, 80

  Prohibition to combine, 80
    of women's employment, 14

  Proportion of women in Unions, 147

  Prosperity of spinners, 38

  Protective and Provident League, 119-24

  Psychological difficulties in organising women, 164

  Public spirit, lack of, 170


  Queen, the, 247


  Radcliffe Society, 96

  Radcliffe, William, 33

  Rag-cutting, 65

  Ramsay, Isle of Man, 93

  Reaction in war-time, 264

  Reciprocal movement between spinners and weavers, 40

  Reed, 97

  Reeling, 107

  Reforms started by industrial employers, 53

  Registrar-General, 75, 76

  Relative wages of men and women, 231-6

  Replacement of men by women, 55-56, 252, 255

  Results the War may have, _section_, 256

  Richards, factory inspector, 49

  Rights and privileges of women, 105

  Ring-room doffers, 113

  Ring-spinners, 114

  Ring-winders, 111

  Ring-winding, 107

  Roberts, Lewis, 32

  Rock, Maria, 5

  Rogers, Thorold, 4, 5

  Rope-makers, 129


  Sadler, M. T., 185

  St. Crispin, Daughters of, 142, 144

  San Francisco, 147, 153

  Sanitary conditions in non-textile trades, 62

  Sanitation in town and country, 50, 51

  Schreiner, Olive, 69

  Schultze-Gävernitz, 44, 157

  Screw manufactories, 62

  Seamstresses, 146

  Segregation of women from affairs, 109

  Sewing women, 143

  Shaftesbury, Lord, 185, 186

  Shakespeare quoted, 19, 25 _n._

  Shann, G., 195 _n._

  Sheffield, 64
    plated ware trade, 30

  Shifting of industrial processes, 44

  Shirt-making, 223

  Shock of War, _section_, 239

  Shop Assistants' Union, 140, 176

  Shortage of women's labour, 245

  Shorter hours, effects of, 202
    movement for, 109-10

  Shuttleworth Accounts, 11

  Shyness of women, 109

  Sick benefit, 119, 131, 188

  Sick visitors, 108, 176

  Sickness Benefit Claims, Committee on, xv

  Silk, _section_, 26

  Simcox, Edith, 123

  Sisterhood, the, 92, 271 _n._

  Slater, G., 180 _n._

  Small-ware weavers, 92

  Snowden, Keighley, 136 _n._

  Soap, 63

  "Social and Economic History," 36

  Social Democratic Party, 156

  _Social England_, 29

  Social influences, 163, 166, 170

  Social strata in the factory, 67

  Socialism and women, 163-4

  Solidarity between men and women, 196

  Sorting clothes in laundries, 65

  Southey, 50

  "Spear-half," 5

  Speeding up, 58-9, 110, 281

  Spell of work, 183

  "Spindle-half," 5

  Spinning, a family occupation, 24
    by young women, 9
    for the unemployed, 21
    jennies, 34, 42
    machine invented by Hargreaves, 33
    parties, 9

  Squire, Miss Rose, 184

  Stages in the woman's career, 207

  Standard of life in Lancashire, 60, 105, 107, 187
    of immigrants, 142

  Standing, effects of persistent, 186, 275

  Statistics of domestic workers, 84, 86
    of German women in Unions, 167
    of textile workers, 87
    of unemployment in war-time, 241, 266
    of wages, Chap. VI.
    of women in Unions, 177
    of women's life and employment, Chap. III.

  Statutory rights of workers, 186, 204

  Stay-making, 65

  Steam laundry workers, 147

  Steam power, introduction of, 35

  Stockport, 36, 108, 113
    strike at, 96

  Strain of modern industry, _section_, 186
    of work, 184, 281

  Strike-breakers, 93

  Strikes, _see various industries_
    in 1911, 135

  Struggle of the crafts, 19

  Stumpe, 21

  Suffolk clothiers, petition of, 18

  Surats, 101, 280

  Surplus of women, _section_, 75

  Survival of previous standards and conditions, _section_, 179

  Swabia, 2

  Syndicalism, 197


  Tailoresses, increase of, 87
    Union of, 122

  Tailoring, 64, 221

  Tailors, Amalgamated Society of, 122

  Tapestry, 8

  Tayler, Dr. L., 2

  Taylor, Cooke, the elder, 48, 49, 52 _n._

  Temple, Sir William, 11

  Textile work, as adjunct to farming, 24, 33
    societies, 126
    workers, 150
    workers, statistics of, 87
    workers, wages of, 216

  Textiles, _section_, 5

  Theodore, St., 8

  Thüringen, 2

  _Times_, the, 127, 128

  Timidity of social legislation, 185

  Timmins, S., 63

  Tobacco, 63
    workers in, 127

  Toynbee Hall, 127

  Tracey, Anna, 188

  Trade Boards Act, 1909, 20, 116, 126, 131, 132, 138, 183, 224, 226, 245

  Trade Union Congress, 119, 120, 122, 123

  Traill's _Social England_, 29

  Transformation of some womanly trades, 61-2

  _Treasure of Traffike_, 32

  Truck Act, 184-5, 290
    in Germany, 155

  Twisters, 126

  Typographical Societies, 116


  Umbrella Sewers' Union, 142

  Underclothing, 65

  Underground, women working, 194

  Unemployment and short time, 228

  Unemployment among women in war-time, 240-43

  Unions, women in, Chaps. IV. and IV.A

  U.S.A., Labour Commission of, 234

  Unorganised trades, 102, 126

  Unorganised workers, movement among, _section_, 127, 256

  Unsuitable work, 194, 236

  Unwin, Professor, 14, 18, 19, 22

  Upholsterers, 146

  Ure, 44, 47


  Variety of conditions, 46, 47

  Ventilation, 276

  Verein zur Vertretung der Interessen der Arbeiterinnen, 155

  Victimisation, 96, 97, 105, 139, 169


  Wage census, 1906, Chap. VI.

  Wage contract, 73

  Wages in seventeenth century, 20
    in miscellaneous trades, 225-6
    of women, Chap. VI.
    raised in low-class industries, 135

  Wagner, R., quoted, 31

  War, effects of, on employment of women, Chap. VII.

  War, the, results it may have, _section_, 256

  Warden, 7

  Warehouse work, 67

  Warner, Townsend, 23

  Warping, 112

  Watch-making, 64

  Water-power, 18

  Weavers' Amalgamation, 97, 103, 205

  Weavers become clothiers, 17
    become wage-earners, 17

  Weavers' Committees, 104-7, 108
    Company, 13
    Gild, 13
    secretaries, 101-2, 104, 106
    Union, 96, 111, 126

  Weavers in Scotland, General Association of, 92
    of Edinburgh, 14

  Weaving as a woman's trade, _section_, 12

  Weaving, operation of, 97-8

  Webb's _History of Trade Unionism_, 93 _n._

  Weft, 98

  Wells, H. G., 207

  West Riding Fancy Union, 92

  What is and what might be, 200

  What the Factory Act has done, _section_, 181

  Wider views of Union officials, 205

  Widows, employment of, 90-91
    carry on husbands' business, 17

  Wigan, 108

  Wilson, Mrs. C. M., 23 _n._

  Wiltshire, 21, 51

  Winders, 111, 126, 294

  _Winter's Tale_, 6

  Winterton, 29

  Witch, the, 1

  Woman wage-earner, _section_, 53, and Chap. VI.

  "Women and the Trades," 61

  Women bakers, carders, brewers, spinners, workers of wool, etc., 13
    bookbinders, 123
    chain-makers, 134

  Women exempt from craft restriction, 12

  Women, an important factor in industry, 21
    as individual earners, 25
    as subordinate helpers, 178

  Women Factory Inspectors, xiv, 109, 182, 183, 282-93
    appointment of, opposed, 197
    reinforcement of, needed, xvi

  Women in an inferior position, 16
    in industrial transition, 19
    in the great industry, 203

  Women only, Unions of, 118, 162, 171-2

  Women weavers displacing men, 13

  Women's employment, Central Committee on, 247

  Women's movement and the labour movement, 199

  Women's Rights Party in Germany, 154

  Women's secretariat in German Commission of Trade Unions, 158

  Women's Trade Union League, 118, _section_, 119, 175

  Women's Trade Union League in America, 153

  Women's wages, Chap. VI.

  Wood, G. H., 229

  Wool and worsted, 115

  Wool, _section textiles_, 5

  Woollen and clothing trades, _section_, 243

  Work done by women, three classes of, 65

  Work done for wages outside the home, 22, 23

  Workers' Educational Association, 74

  Workers' Union, 140

  Workrooms for unemployed women, 249

  Workshop and factory, wages in, compared, 219

  _Worsted, History of_, 25 _n._

  Wright, Thomas, 7, 9

  Wyatt, Paul, 33


  Yarn, demand for, 32, 248

  York, 23

  Yorkshire, 18, 97
    women, 115

  Young, Arthur, 23, 29


  Zimmern, A. E., 265 _n._


THE END


_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.



FOOTNOTES:

[1] _I.e._ Cots or cottages.

[2] Departmental Committee on Sickness Benefit Claims, Evidence 40446,
Bondfield.

[3] _Ibid._ 40462, Bondfield.

[4] 37 Edw. III. c. 6, quoted in Cunningham's _Growth of Industry and
Commerce_, I. 353 _n._ (5th ed.).

[5] See a volume of tracts at the British Museum numbered 1851, c. 10.

[6] S.P. Dom. Eliz. 1593, vol. 244. Reprinted in _English Economic
History_, Bland, Brown and Tanney, p. 336.

[7] Cf. a report of a workhouse in 1701 (catalogued as 816. m. 15. 48 in
the Brit. Mus. Library), where ten poor women were employed to teach the
children to spin.

[8] _Tour in East of England_, vol. ii. pp. 75, 81. I am indebted to Mrs.
C. M. Wilson for drawing my attention to these passages and for suggesting
the remarks immediately following.

[9] Defoe in his _Plan of English Commerce_ says that after the great
plague in France and the peace in Spain the run for goods was so great in
England, and the prices so high that poor women in Essex could earn 1s. or
1s. 6d. a day by spinning, and the farmers could hardly get dairymaids.
This was, however, only for a time; demand slackened, and the spinners
were reduced to misery.

[10] James, _History of Worsted_, p. 289. This pleasant custom may remind
us of lines in Shakespeare's _Twelfth Night_, i. 4:

  "The spinsters and the knitters in the sun
  And the free maids that weave their thread with bones."

[11] Philip Gaskell, who was, however, so prejudiced against the factory
system that his views must be taken with caution, says that the wives of
manufacturers who had risen from poverty to affluence were "an epitome of
everything that is odious in manners," their only redeeming point being a
profuse hospitality, which however, Grant attributes to "a sense of
vain-glory."--_Manufacturing Population_, p. 60.

[12] _Growth of English Industry and Commerce_, _Modern Times_, p. 654
(ed. 1907).

[13] _History of Cotton Manufacture_, p. 446.

[14] Factory Inspector's Report dated August 1835, quoted in Fielden's
_Curse of the Factory System_, 1836, p. 43.

[15] _Country round Manchester_, p. 192. Compare Mrs. Gaskell's
descriptions in _Mary Barton_, fifty years later, for a very similar
account.

[16] _Athenaeum_, August 20 (probably 1842), quoted in W. C. Taylor,
_Factories and the Factory System_, pp. 3, 4, London, 1842.

[17] L. Braun, _Die Frauenfrage_, p. 209. Cf. E. Gnauck-Kühne, _Die
Arbeiterinnenfrage_ 23.

[18] _Woman and Labour_, p. 50.

[19] Registrar-General's Report for 1912, p. xxxvii.

[20] "Prospects of Marriage for Women," by Clara Collet, _Nineteenth
Century_, April 1892, reprinted in _Educated Working Women_, P. S. King,
1902.

[21] The servant-keeping class often shows a tendency to regard social
questions mainly from the point of view of maintaining the supply of
domestic servants.

[22] See Appendix, p. 270.

[23] Webb, _History of Trade Unionism_, pp. 104-5.

[24] _Parliamentary Papers_, 1838, viii. _qq._ 360, 1341-2.

[25] "Select Committee on Manufactures," _Parliamentary Papers_, 1833,
vol. vi. p. 323, _q._ 5412-3.

[26] _Rules of the Nelson and District Power-Loom Weavers' Association_,
1904, p. 13, "Advice to Members, etc."

[27] Report of N.C. Amalgamation, June 1906.

[28] Evidence is not unanimous on this point.

[29] Report of S.E. Lancashire Provincial Association, Dec. 1912.

[30] See _Women in the Printing Trade_ (edited by J. R. MacDonald) for an
excellent study of the whole circumstances and conditions of the trade.

[31] G. Oakeshott, "Women in the Cigar Trade in London," in the _Economic
Journal_, 1900, p. 562.

[32] Second Report of the W.T.U.L.

[33] In Mr. Keighley Snowden's words, from which this account is taken
(_Daily Citizen_, 12, xi. 1912): "If foreign competition at last threatens
us, it is in consequence of this heartless folly."

[34] Space does not permit us to give a full account of the efforts for
co-operative action for social purposes made by working women at this
period, or of the interesting study of social conditions made by Leonora
Barry, the investigator of women's work under the Knights of Labour. See
Report on Women's Unions, Chapter IVA.

[35] Quoted in the _Cotton Factory Times_, September 18, 1885.

[36] Report of the Strike of Textile Workers in Lawrence, Mass., p. 63.

[37] This chapter was written before the outbreak of war.

[38] It is a curious reflection on the tardiness of our Government
statistical work, that figures for German Trade Unions are here actually
accessible for a more recent date than those of English Unions. [Written
early in 1914.]

[39] A. Erdmann, _Church and Trade Union in Germany_, 1913.

[40] Report of Gas-workers' and General Labourers' Association, March
1897.

[41] This chapter was written before the outbreak of war.

[42] Many worthy folk to this day even show by the use of the phrase
"_giving_ employment" that they suppose themselves to be conferring a
benefit on persons who work for them, irrespective of wages paid, and it
is unlikely that our ancestors were more enlightened on this point than
ourselves.

[43] G. Slater, _English Peasantry and the Enclosure of Common Fields_,
Constable, 1907, p. 266. Compare Hammond, J. L. and B, _The Village
Labourer_, chap. v.

[44] See, _e.g._, the cases mentioned in the Factory Inspectors' Report
for 1912, p. 142, and compare the case reported by Miss Vines in the
Report for 1913, p. 97. In a Christmas-card factory the women were being
employed two days a week from 8 to 8, three days a week from 8 A.M. to 10
P.M., and Saturdays 8 to 4. "The whole staff of workers and foremen looked
absolutely worn out."

[45] _School Child in Industry_, by A. Greenwood, p. 7. Workers'
Educational Association, Manchester, price 1d.

[46] See the _Englishwoman_ for June 1914.

[47] The work of a "big piecer" is practically identical with that of a
spinner, only that responsibility rests with the latter.

[48] See Cadbury Matheson and Shann, _Women's Work and Wages_, p. 212;
Macdonald, _Women in the Printing Trades_, p. 53.

[49] See in Chapter IVA. pp. 162-3. Frau Lily Braun's views on the
subject.

[50] See an article by the present writer in the _Englishwoman_, April
1911.

[51] Northern Counties Amalgamation of Weavers, etc. Report for July 1913.

[52] I owe the suggestion of a "cleft" (_Spalte_) in the woman-worker's
career to Madame E. Gnauck-Kühne, who developed it in her book, _Die
deutsche Frau_. Compare "Statistics of Women's Life and Employment,"
_Journal of the Statistical Society_, 1909.

[53] Earnings and Hours Enquiry: Textile Industries, Cd. 4545, 1909;
Clothing Trades, Cd. 4844, 1909.

[54] Raised to 3-1/2d. on 19th July 1915.

[55] _Elements of Statistics_, 2nd edition, pp. 37, 38, and 39.

[56] 1,091,202 out of a total of 4,830,734.

[57] _Women's Industrial News_, July 1912, p. 56; compare _The War, Women
and Unemployment_, published by the Fabian Society.

[58] This chapter was prepared during the first year and the early part of
the second year of war. It is necessarily incomplete, as war is still
raging; but it is hoped that a brief summary of the position of
women-workers in war time, and of the expedients adopted to ease and
improve it, may not be without interest.

[59] Article by G. H. Carter, _Economic Journal_, March 1915; see also
Notes in the _Women's Trades Union League Review_, January 1915.

[60] Article by Jas. Haslam, _Englishwoman_, March 1915, and information
given privately.

[61] See article by C. Black in the _Common Cause_, February 12, 1915.

[62] _Westminster Gazette_, October 16, 1914.

[63] See a letter by Mr. A. J. Mundella, L.C.C., in the _School Child_ for
December 1914.

[64] _New Statesman_, November 7, 1914.

[65] _Report on Outlets for Labour after the War_, British Association,
Section F., Manchester, 1915.

[66] See _The National Care of Maternity_, by Margaret Bondfield,
published by the Women's Co-operative Guild. The proposals include the
administration of Maternity Benefit by the Public Health authorities in
lieu of the approved societies, the raising of maternity benefit to £5,
and other changes.

[67] B. Kirkman Gray, _History of Philanthropy_.

[68] _Daily News and Leader_, June 24, 1915. It may be remarked here
parenthetically, though not strictly germane to the subject, that not only
the local authorities, but the Departments, even the War Office itself,
might utilise the services of professional women more freely than they do,
with great advantage to themselves. Women have among other things a very
sharp eye for the detection of fraud and corruption. It was to the
initiative and energy of one woman that the greatest improvements in the
organisation of the Army Hospital Service in the nineteenth century were
due. It is admitted that no change in the administration of the Factory
Department has been so fruitful for good as the appointment of women
factory inspectors. Why, then, are not professional women called in to aid
in the organisation of commissariat, the inspection of clothing stores,
the "housekeeping" of the Army, especially in the case of the needs of raw
recruits? Incalculable waste, diversified here and there by actual lack of
food, is reported from the camps. The help of expert women might here be
of enormous value, and not only avoid waste, but ensure the provision of
more wholesome food and more comfortable clothing. Some valuable hints on
this subject are to be derived from an article by Mrs. Janet Courtney in
the _Fortnightly Review_, February 1915, "The War and Women's Employment."

[69] _The War and Democracy._ Introduction by A. E. Zimmern, p. 14.
London, 1914.

[70] It should be observed that the first proprietors of some cotton
mills, alarmed by the consequences of obliging their servants to work
incessantly, have shut up their mills in the night.

[71] A certain manufacturer of worsted threatened a sister of ours, whom
he employed, that he would send all his jersey to be spun at the mill; and
further insulted her with the pretended superiority of that work. She
having more spirit than discretion, stirred up the sisterhood, and they
stirred up all the men they could influence (not a few) to go and destroy
the mills erected in and near Leicester, and this is the origin of the
late riots there.

[72] It is, however, important to mention that cotton mills are materially
improved of late years in most of these particulars, and that in some
mills they exist in a much less degree than others, which shows them not
to be essential and inherent.

[73] It is a curious circumstance, and one which amply merits attentive
consideration, that the fecundity of females employed in manufactories
seems to be considerably diminished by their occupation and habits; for
not only are their families generally smaller than those of agricultural
labourers, but their children are born at more distant intervals. Thus the
average interval which elapses between the birth of each child in the
former case is two years and one month, as we have found upon minute
enquiry, while, in country districts, we believe, it seldom exceeds
eighteen months. The causes of these facts we have at present no space to
enlarge upon.

[74] The extracts are slightly compressed in transcription.

[75] The barber knotter is a small appliance worn on the hand to assist
the work of winding.



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