Women Wage-Earners eBook

Helen Stuart Campbell
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 208 pages of information about Women Wage-Earners.

For Ireland, though Irish linen, poplins, and woollens are the synonym of excellence, the proportion of women workers in these industries is comparatively small.  In a few counties in the south Irish lace is made, but the women are chiefly agricultural laborers.  Thanks to the efforts of Parnell, in 1885, there was formed “The Association for the Promotion of Irish Industries,” then chiefly destroyed by the “Act of Union” which permitted England to levy protective tariffs on all Irish manufactures.  Statistics on these points are hidden in English Blue-books, and we have no very reliable data as to the number of women and children employed.  The efforts of the Countess of Aberdeen, during the term of her husband as Viceroy of Ireland, and of the Countess of Dunraven on the Dunraven estates in the county of Limerick, have done much to re-establish the lace industry,—­with such success that the work compares favorably with that of some of the French convents.

In Wales, as in the North of England, women and children are employed in the mines, and there is constant evasion of the laws regulating hours, with a wage as inadequate as the work is heavy.  Heavy woollens and corduroy employ a small proportion in their manufacture, wage and hours being the same as those of England.


[26] “The Destruction of Infants,” by Mr. F.W.  Lowndes, M.R.C.S., British Association for the Advancement of Science, Report for 1870, p. 586.

[27] Journal of the Statistical Society, Sept., 1870, vol. xxxiii. pp. 323-326.

[28] Parliamentary Paper, No. 372, July 20, 1871:  Collected Series, vol. vii. p. 606.

[29] Sixth Report of the Medical Officer of the Privy Council, 1863, pp. 454-462.  Parliamentary Paper, 1864, No. 3,416, vol. xxviii.

[30] Labor and Life of the People, vol. i.:  East London.  Edited by Charles Booth, p. 564.



For France the census of 1847 showed a list of 959 women workers in Paris earning sixty centimes a day; 100,000 earning from sixty centimes to three francs, and 626 earning over three francs.  That for 1869 showed 17,203, earning from fifty centimes to one franc twenty-five centimes daily; 11,000 of these workers being furnished lodging, food, and washing.  Of the entire number 88,340 earned from one franc fifty centimes to four francs a day; 767 earned from four francs fifty centimes to ten francs daily, most of the latter class being heads of work rooms or shops.  The rise in wages affected the better orders of worker, but left the sewing-woman’s wage nearly unchanged.  Levasseur[31] tells us that toward the end of the reign of Louis Philippe the wage of a woman varied ordinarily from twelve to twenty-five sous, exceptionally from twenty to forty; that of children being from six to fifteen sous; of men from thirty sous for ordinary laborers, to forty or forty-five for skilled work.

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