chapter  1
Suffer the Working Day: Women’s Work and Endangered Health
Pages 31

Despite a relative absence of professionally based knowledge about occupational disease and ill-health, the fact that work did make women sick was recognized and documented. There was as Beatrice Webb described it ‘the same dismal refrain’, about earnings, hours of work and sanitary conditions.1 There seemed to be little that mitigated the litany of wrongs of the industrial system and its consequences in this case for women. In this chapter some of these aspects, which exemplified the possible health consequences for women within the labour market, will be examined. First, a brief analysis of women’s pay is followed by a more detailed examination of three aspects of working conditions —hours, sanitary conditions and issues about ventilation and temperature. The chapter concludes with examples of the exercise of male power over women.