The Industrial Revolution boosted the economy, raised standards of living for many families, and made life easier for some as machines took the place of manual labor. However, the lives of women were profoundly impacted in a way that would leave them powerless and disrespected for generations.
In pre-industrial society, women enjoyed an equal partnership with their husbands, the entire family working together at home. Once the family's own needs were met, the surplus would be sold so that they would have funds to purchase more goods as well as the supplies they needed for the cycle to continue. .
As industrialization grew, families flocked to cities in search of work, and stereotypical gender roles began to be instilled in society's minds. Industrial work for men was seen as being more important than women's domestic duties, and what women did at home wasn't even considered to be "work," although it was an around-the-clock job. Jeanne Deroin excellently demonstrated this point when she described the duties of the average working-class housewife and the way that her husband becomes angry when he arrives home one day to find "that a woman who has nothing to do but take care of her house is incapable of getting up dinner." To society only the husband worked.
In the event that the family needed more money, the wife went to work as well. Working in factories was particularly unfavorable to women. In The Women's History of the World, Rosalind Miles explains how women were forced to work harder than their male co-workers and were paid less than children. She also states that employers contended that women were "more easily induced to undergo severe bodily fatigue than men" and therefore were a "better investment.".
Being paid very little consequently made women dependent on men for financial support, further "proving" their inferiority to their male counterparts. Since women were unable to survive on the low wages they earned, they became enslaved to their marriages.