From the beginning of time, women have worked just like their male counterparts.
Women throughout history have earned significantly less money than men. Where does
this difference in earnings come from? Studying historical trends and modern data can
help clarify where the disparity comes from.
This country was founded on the principals of religious freedom. Religion is a
major part of people’s lives not only in this country but also around the world. The
religious foundation of most Americans is that of Judeo-Christian. The Bible begins with
the story of Adam and Eve. In Chapter One in the book of Genesis, it is stated that God
created human beings, man and woman. The atmosphere changes dramatically in Chapter
Two of Genesis. The age-old idea that women are inferior to men starts here. One of the
most influential books in history changes from man and woman created equally to
women being made from Adam’s rib.
The Bible contains more about women. Eve follows the advise of the snake and
eats fruit from the Tree of Good and Evil. She then tempts Adam into eating the same
fruit. The consequences of these acts will impact humans for days to come. God punishes
Eve by increasing the pain of childbirth. God punishes Adam by making labor of
producing food harder.
The organization of work started with the evolution of man. In the earliest stages
of human development, work was accomplished to provide for the most basic needs of
humans: food. Prehistoric people were largely hunters and gathers.
Like any task that humans perform, work needs to be divided up. The most
obvious division arose from age and especially sex. The oldest members of the tribe
lacked the skills for hunting and the endurance for field labor. Younger members could
only perform simple tasks. Women could not participate in hunting because they were
needed to bore and nurse the children. This is a role women would perform for centuries.
Farming has been at the center of economic history for centuries. Men performed
most of the physical labor of tilling fields and feeding the animals. Women performed
tasks that were equally physically demanding. They grinded grain, carried buckets of
water, and churned milk to make butter.
The Industrial Revolution of the 1700s and early 1800s brought about major
changes in work for both men and women. No longer was the farm the center of
production and family life. The factory became the workplace that people needed to
commute to for employment. The isolation of farm life made moving to cities an
appealing choice for many. At first family members worked as teams in the factory
system. That would soon change.
The long hours and physical demands in the early factory system led to women
being relegated to the household and domestic tasks. The physical demands of working in
the factories were too much for many women. The...