Child Labor



Part of a night shift in an Indiana glass factory, August 1908. Lewis W. Hines (1874-1940). This photograph was taken as part of an assignment for the National Child Labor Committee and the original belongs to the National Child Labor Committee Collection of the Library of Congress. This print (Collection of the Rakow Research Library 92651) was obtained from the Library of Congress.

You can see some intriguing statistics about this kind of work at the Corning Museum of Glass:

“In one glass factory, the average 1912 hourly wage for a male worker was 18 cents, and that of a female worker was 11 cents. They did not perform the same work. The lowest rate for a male was 15 cents and the highest rate for a female was still 11 cents. A 1917 statistic for the same factory shows that the average yearly wage for the lowest pay-rated male was $526, well above the U.S. poverty level at the time.”

The Old Wolf has spoken.

5 responses to “Child Labor

    • Apparently no one, if numbers from the bureau of labor statistics are to be believed. However, the article holds out a shred of hope that the grim tally may spur some action in congress to pass the paycheck fairness act.

  1. It all depends on the work being performed – Some things women are actually faster or better at, and they should be getting a premium. But then sexism gets involved…

    And there’s some “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics!” involved too – Tell me what you want the survey/study to show, and I’ll write one to make sure you get it.

    There’s also the ‘Dedication’ angle – Up till very recently, most women didn’t put in 35 years continuous service, work their way up the pay and benefits ladder, and get a gold watch at retirement like the guys. They got started on a career then took off a year or two to have a child, then went back into the job market – often at the entry level again, or a serious setback. A second child, another employment gap, and another new beginning. Or they worked until they wanted to get serious and stayed home to be a full-time Mother for 20 years, then got a late start – at the bottom again.

    Now that they can remain continuously employed (at least part time at times) and remain a contributing member of the team even from the back bench, those final pay and benefits inequities should start getting erased.

    • Or else they worked for their entire active lives at a small company like a family farm, as my grandmother did. Not so many gold watches or pensions at those! After all, most women throughout history have done more than manage their homes. It’s only in the last 150 years or so that it started to be possible for women to work only in the home, the job that is now referred to as “Oh, she doesn’t work.”

  2. Pingback: Week 12: The 19th Century- Modernity – Reflecting on Late 19th and 20th Century Architecture

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