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Women in the workplace

Women in the Workplace


A (very) brief history!

Throughout the history of women working in Britain, the workplace has dramatically evolved. Before the Industrial revolution it was mainly the men who worked on farms or became skilled craftsmen such as Bronze Smiths, Blacksmiths, Carpenters, Leather workers and potters. Women who were married to craftsmen often learned their husband’s trade and would carry it on in the event of their husband’s death.


With the introduction of the Industrial Revolution, women then started to work in factories, where they would often work long hours alongside children in tough conditions. In the coal mining industry, a law stated that women were banned from working underground and could work no more than 10 hours a day in the factories…


In the 10th century, many women return to domestic work, with many working as domestic servants, sewing shirts for men, or making shoes, and as many families were poor they needed a second wage to supplement their husbands income.


Fast forward to the 20th century and it had become more acceptable for a married woman to work at least part time (except during the war), and new technology made it easier for women to do paid work, manufacturing was on the decrease and service industries grew creating more opportunities for women.


Jump forward into today’s world and there are now more women in the work place than ever before, and women are gaining more and more recognition for their achievements in industry. With women in politics, and positions of power, many industries that were once male dominated are now realising that women in the workplace are not only a positive step for equality, but it is an important step in business growth.


Women still have a way to go before they are seen as equals in the workplace in some sectors of industry, and pay is still a negotiable point for many women who fight for equal pay to men who do the same work, but overall positive progress is being made, and this Women’s Day we must celebrate our achievements and keep fighting for equality!


Working Mum’s

With the introduction of shared parental leave, families have more choice and control to work flexible hours. For lower income families, an increase in tax credits and support with free children’s nursery hours per day, supports women in finding themselves, and being able to achieve their career goals.


Lots of women struggle with feelings of guilt about having a career when they have young children, and often worry about not spending enough quality time at home with their children, but balance is important, and remember that men have those same feelings too! There are many positive points to being a working mum, apart from the obvious wage that helps, working women are setting positive examples for their children by teaching them responsibilities and achievement.


Sexual Harassment

Luckily most employers care about their employee’s wellbeing and will take vital steps to make sure the workplace is welcoming and safe.


Unfortunately, this is still an issue that occurs and not only to women, so raising awareness and not hiding it away is a priority in stamping this out. Sexual harassment can make you feel small, undermined, threatened and powerless and can have serious professional, financial and psychological impacts on that person’s life, which is why it is vitally important to go to your employer or work buddy if you feel uncomfortable in any situation.

Your employer has a key role in tackling and preventing sexual harassment in your workplace.



Overall Thoughts!

Whatever your gender, we must all do what work we feel is best for us. Whether that is working full time, part time, freelancing, ad hoc days, or staying home as a full time parent… (that’s still a lot of hard work!). The choice is ours and we must be proud of who we are and the choices we’ve made. We are all human and all therefore equal!