Friday, November 8, 2019

Book Review Breadwinning Daughters Young Women Working in a Depression

Book Review Breadwinning Daughters Young Women Working in a Depression During the 1930s, the Great Depression affected many states leading to major changes in different sectors of their economy. Canada was one of the countries that became a victim of the Great Depression. Owing to this, the issue has attracted the attention of many researchers.Advertising We will write a custom essay sample on Book Review: â€Å"Breadwinning Daughters: Young Women Working in a Depression- Era City, 1929-1939† by Katrina Srigley specifically for you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More The aim of this review is to examine the work of one of such researchers, Katrina Srigley. This paper seeks to analyze her book, Breadwinning Daughters: Young Women Working in a Depression- Era City, 1929-1939 (2010). The Great Depression era affected the live style of young women in Canada. They experienced many changes while trying to adapt to the economic difficulties brought about by the depression. Her book explores the impact that the Great Depression had on young women within Canada. This paper gives a summary and evaluation of the book besides its relevance to the course. The Great Depression era affected the economic stability of the Canadians notably, the young women. During this era, Canada experienced the lowest prices of the commodity that acted as the major source of revenue to the national wealth (Kottman 610). Additionally, the Canadian agricultural sector faced subsequent crop failures due to the drought that occurred between 1933 and 1937. Owing to this economic breakdown, most of the Canadian population became depended on the government in respect of not only their food, but also other basic needs such as clothes, etc. Following the economic hardships, the Canadian population dropped significantly. The birthrates decreased from 13.1 to 9.7 per 1000 people within seven years. The government’s supply of food offered to most of the Canadian population was not enough to satisfy the needs, thus this fact led to inc rease of cases of malnutrition among the nation. However, there were no reported cases of starvation within that period.Advertising Looking for essay on literature languages? Let's see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More According to Rooth and Taylor, the rate of unemployment rose by 27% subjecting most of the families to more hardships during that time (572). However, many people moved from their rural homes to search for better lifestyles in the urban centers. Among those who moved to the Canadian cities were young women. The major reason that made them to move to the cities was the hope to find some job there. They intended to utilize their wages to support their families during the depression era. Research has shown that the number of women who joined the labor force rose to 1.3 million representing one-quarter of the employed people in Canada during that period. The technological advancement played a pivotal role in enhancin g the employment of young women during the Great Depression era. The mechanization of many industries led to the laying-off of many unskilled old men because plants and companies were eager to hire the skilled people, and young women were a major part of them. Another reason that led to the creation of feminine jobs was the increased demand of white-collar jobs. Clerical jobs were the major white-collar professions. Many young women got jobs in this sector. However, the phenomenon of employing women in the major economic sectors appeared to be a new dawn in the Canadian society because before the Great Depression era, women assumed domestic jobs. That era led to the incorporation of women in the Canadian labor market who were seeking promising jobs just as their male counterparts. In her book, Breadwinning Daughters: Young Women Working in a Depression- Era City, 1929-1939, Srigley argues that the Great Depression led to economic concerns not only to the government, but also to the entire Canadian population (2010). She points out that many researchers focused their studies on the male population leaving out their female counterparts. In an attempt to seal the gap that these researchers have created in the Canadian history, Srigley focuses on the lives of young women during the Great Depression era. The book presents the findings of the research she carried out during a period of three years.Advertising We will write a custom essay sample on Book Review: â€Å"Breadwinning Daughters: Young Women Working in a Depression- Era City, 1929-1939† by Katrina Srigley specifically for you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More She interviewed more than eighty women who had been experiencing the hardships of the Great Depression during their youth. She focused on their lives at work places, homes as well as in various places within Toronto. The book closely examines the impact that the Great Depression era had on the young women during the 1930s. Many young women moved into the urban cities where they secured jobs earning minimum wages. The sole purpose for entering the labor force was to give financial support to their families. Srigley also brings to her audience’s attention that young women could not afford jobs with the same stature as their male counterparts could. They only got jobs with low wages with little or no power and privileges. The author argues that within the Canadian labor market in the 1930s, women had a limited choice on the nature of the job they would take. Most of the women ended up in clerical or personal service jobs irrespective of their academic qualifications. The young women faced many challenges during the Great Depression era. One of such challenges was racial discrimination. In her book, she records the encounter of one black woman who despite having achieved one of the best grades in college could not secure a job because of her race. She remained jobless for many years, but suc ceeded to endure it all. Another challenge that most young women faced was discrimination based on social class. The book records that young women from poor families were always discriminated, especially those who depended on the government relief supplies. The author gives an example of the mode of dressing that was appropriate for making public appearances by giving the description as well as the photos of one of her interviewee. The young women in the urban centers were insecure to some extent. The murder of one of such women made the rest of the females to live in constant fear of a similar accident that could happen to them. They also faced gender-based discrimination in that employers gave young women the jobs that the men were not willing to take.Advertising Looking for essay on literature languages? Let's see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More The book also presents the price that the young women had to pay to maintain their jobs. For instance, most of them had delayed marriages while others had to forego marriage to continue supporting their families. The author also notes that young women had to truncate their education to secure as well as maintain their jobs. She explains that truncation of their education increased their vulnerability to jobs with low wages that had no privileges. In her research, Srigley found out that jobs, such as nursing, teaching and clerical works, did not allow women to get married. As a result, most young women chose their career over family life, although it was a major source of stress to them. The women who chose other careers did not attract much attention to this fact if it did not present a significant threat to domesticity. Most of the women that Srigley interviewed admitted that truncation of their education as well as foregoing marriage were the most difficult choices they had ever m ade. The idea of employment for young women also opened a world that they would not have experienced to them. For the first time in their life, they were able to make decisions without the influence of their parents or even close relatives. They could go to places that they would not have accessed before, such as public recreational centers and clubs. The author finds out that most of them obtained a lot of satisfaction and joy from the support that they offered to their families. The author reports that one of her interviewees decided to get married leaving her parents to languish in poverty, and this decision made her to live with guilt throughout her life. Young women formed a major part of the Canadian population during the Great Depression era, which is an important aspect of the Canadian history. The book highlights the plight of women in a male dominated society during one of the hardest times in the history of Canada. The use of interviews in data collection makes her piece of work outstanding. It gave her the privilege of obtaining first hand information from the people who had a personal experience of the hardships that women faced during that period. The women had fresh memories of their experience in the Great Depression era thus making them the best source of information for any researcher. Her findings are in line with other research works that have shown that racial discrimination was rampant in the Canadian society during the 1930s.Young women would not have evaded gender-based discrimination because employment of women was a new phenomenon in the Canadian labor force that had to face some objection from members of the society. The choice of Toronto as a centre for the research was a good idea because it was one of the most affected places in Canada during that time, thus giving a good representation of other similar places. Other cities that portrayed a similar trend during the Great Depression era are Hamilton, Tilbury, Ontario and Windsor (W allace 112). The book gives a general representation of the Canadian young women who were victims of the Great Depression. Major changes occurred during the 1930s in Canada. For instance, one can attribute the rapid growth of urban population to the migration of young women to the cities while searching for jobs. Additionally, it highlights the possible decrease of Canadian population towards the end of the 1930s. We can attribute the decrease to the inability of women to get married due to their jobs, which resulted in a low rate of establishing families within the Canadian population. The acceptance of young women in the labor force was also a major change in the Canadian history since prior to the 1930s men were the sole providers for their families. The book outlines most of the reactions of the larger community to the economic constraints that faced the nation during that time. For instance, the government offered support to most families in form of relief supplies. To some ext end it also assisted in eliminating racial discrimination in that it helped black women secure jobs. Men’s reaction to the phenomenon was significant in the lives of women during that time. Most young men were afraid of marrying working class women since they thought they would lose their power in the family. Some men however supported the move by young women to look for jobs especially their fathers. They recognized the contribution of their daughters to the economy and granted them the permission to pursue their careers. Moreover, their employers who were predominantly men offered jobs to the young women and had faith that they would carry out their roles as expected. Being the first lot of Canadian women to get jobs, the young women understood that it would not be easy for them. Their view of life had to change significantly. They had to make decisions about some important aspects such as marriage and their education. They had to choose between their jobs and their educati on as well as between their jobs and marriage. It also called for one to stand by their decisions. The book employs the possible techniques that can enhance the reader’s understanding of the text. Besides giving her text a systematic approach, she uses photos in her work to enable the reader to have the broader picture of her work. However, she did not exploit all the possible reasons that made most young women to truncate their education. Research has shown that, due to the hard economic times in Canada, most parents could no longer afford to support their children’s education that is why they head to terminate their education. In such cases, the need for a job was not the major cause of truncating their education. Moreover, the book does not address the movement of many urban dwellers from the cities to the rural areas in the mid 1930s and the place of young women during that movement. The book is very significant in understanding Canadian business and labor history. It provides important information on one of the hardest moments in the history of the Canadian economy that caused the loss of the nation’s economic power during the 1930s. The author presents one of the acts that helped in reviving Canadian economy from the impact of the Great Depression in the employment of young women during the 1930s. According to Canadian culture, women were supposed to take domestic duties. The author argues that the efforts of young women in earning wages, though new to the society, were instrumental in reviving the nation’s economy. It also provides important information that enhances the understanding of the economic relationship of different aspects in a nation. For instance, the acceptability of women in the Canadian labor force and the struggle that came with it. The Canadian young women had undergone many challenges before the society accepted and appreciated their contribution to the entire society. They had to truncate their education a nd bear the hostilities in a male dominated society. The book shows that once given the opportunity, women were able to prove to the rest of their society that they were able to contribute significantly to the economy of the nation. It seeks to explain the point and the circumstances that forced the Canadian young women to quit their domestic cores and join the labor force. This equips me to have a better understanding of the Canadian business and labor history. Additionally, since the book revolves on the happenings of the Great Depression era, other researchers can use it as reference for their works. It can act as the basis of future works of research on the topic for people who seek to exploit some of the aspects that Srigley does not tackle to be instrumental in enhancing people’s understanding of the subject. Kottman, Richard. â€Å"Herbert Hoover and the Smooth-Hawley Tariff, Canada: A Case  Study.† Journal of American History 62.3 (1975): 609-630. Print. Roo th, Tim and Taylor, Rebecca. â€Å"Exports and Internal Adjustment during the Slump:  The British Market, Australia and Canada during the 1930s.† The Journal of European Economic History 30.3(2001):569-594. Print. Wallace, Iain. A Geography of Canadian Economy. Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.

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