Female Silk Factory Workers: A Sad History

Ivette Avina, Writer

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In the 1800’s there was a place where women were taken from their homes as young as 14 to work in silk factories. This place is known as Japan and it had a lot of factory work due to the industrial revolution during that time. Women were the more commonly seen people in factory work, especially in silk factories. The factory life itself was hard work. Their age also had a lot to do with the problem and why these times were so difficult. There were many things that were asked of these young ladies and leaving home was just the start.

For starters, these women had to for up to fourteen-hour shifts with only thirty minutes of break in between to eat and use the restroom. They worked every day except for Sunday. They were put through long excruciating hours and at such a young age. The factory life was anything but easy. The job itself consisted of pulling silk threads from silkworm cocoons that were in hot bowls of water in front of them. They also had harrowing work inspections which were conducted by mostly men who were sometimes abusive. These women were exhausted, abused, and alone because they had no family around them and often left to work for several years before getting married. They had to put their entire lives aside just to go to work.
One girl who had worked in a silk factory wrote a song about her time spent there. The way in which she described it was depressing and lonely. This girl had some mixed feelings about her parents because she missed them, but at the same time, she felt like they were only using her because all the money she made was sent to them. The salary was not fair, because the money which they were paid was not fairly given, for women were paid a significant amount less compared to men who often had the same job. Overall their experience in this line of work was terrible, they were mistreated, paid unfairly, and alone.

Overall their experience in this line of work was terrible; they were mistreated, paid unfairly, and alone. It is importance to ensure that this never happens again.