Problems of Poverty eBook

John A. Hobson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 234 pages of information about Problems of Poverty.
in the two cases.  The demand for luxuries is essentially capricious and irregular, and this irregularity must always be reflected in the employment of the trades which supply them.  On the other hand, a general rise in the standard of comfort of the workers creates an increased demand of a steady and habitual kind, the new elements of consumption belonging to the order of necessaries or primary comforts become ingrained in the habits of large classes of consumers, and the employment they afford is regular and reliable.  When this simple principle is once clearly grasped by social reformers, it will enable them to see that the only effective remedy for unemployment lies in a general policy of social and economic reform, which aims at placing a larger and larger proportion of the “consuming power” of the community in the hands of those who, having received it as the earnings of their effort, will learn to use it in building up a higher standard of wholesome consumption.

Chapter VIII.

The Industrial Condition of Women-Workers.

Sec. 1.  The Number of Women engaged in Industrial Work.—­The evils of “sweating” press more heavily on women workers than on men.  It is not merely that women as “the weaker sex” suffer more under the same burden, but that their industrial burden is absolutely heavier than that of men.  The causes and the meaning of this demand a special treatment.

The census returns for 1901 showed that out of 4,171,751 females engaged in occupations about 401/2 per cent. were in domestic or other service, 381/2 per cent. in manufactures, 7 per cent. in commerce, chiefly as shop-assistants, 4 per cent. in teaching, 3 per cent. in hotels, boarding-houses, etc., and 7 per cent. in other occupations.

The following table gives the groups of occupations in which more females are employed than males:—­

Occupational Groups Males Females
Sick nurses, midwives, etc. 1,092 67,269
Teaching 61,897 172,873
Domestic service 124,263 1,690,686
Bookbinding:  paper and stationery manufactures 42,644 64,210
Textile manufactures 492,175 663,222
Dress manufactures 336,186 689,956
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1,058,257 3,348,216
All other occupations 9,098,717 823,535
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All occupations 10,156,974 4,171,751

The manufactures in which women have been gaining upon men are the textile and clothing trades in almost all branches, tobacco, printing, stationery, brushes, india-rubber, and foods.

Sec. 2.  Women’s Wages.—­Turning now to women engaged in city industries, let us gauge their industrial condition by the tests of wages, hours of labour, sanitary conditions, regularity of employment

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Problems of Poverty from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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