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Wage Labour


Despite the fact that women's domestic labour was seen as vital to the stability of family and society, it was unpaid. The only time that women usually earned money for their domestic tasks was when they sold the extra products of their labour, such as bread and butter, to the local community, or took in extra work, like laundry. While this money contributed to the family economy, rarely was it the sole source. Rather, the husband in his outside work was expected to earn the majority of the family income. 

If the husband was not able to fully support his family, sometimes wives and daughters had to step outside the bounds of the domestic sphere and get a job that provided a wage. Also, sometimes in between leaving home and getting married young women took a job to financially support themselves and to learn new expertise. For the most part, therefore, women's wage labour was temporary; they worked until their family gained a more financially stable state or until they found a husband who could support them. In many cases also, the early employment opportunities for women were limited and low paying, but with the major events of the mid-20th century women's role in the workforce changed and broadened.




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