Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fridges And Washing Machines Liberated Women, Study Suggests

Date:
March 13, 2009
Source:
University of Montreal
Summary:
The advent of modern appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators had a profound impact on 20th Century society, according to a new study. Plug-in conveniences transformed women's lives and enabled them to enter the workforce.

Modern appliances helped liberate women according to UdeM study.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Montreal

The advent of modern appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators had a profound impact on 20th Century society, according to a new Université de Montréal study. Plug-in conveniences transformed women's lives and enabled them to enter the workforce, says Professor Emanuela Cardia, from the Department of Economics.

Within a short time-span, household technology became accessible to the majority. In the late 1910s, a refrigerator sold for $1,600 and 26 years later such appliances could be purchased for $170. Access to electric stoves, washing machines and vacuum cleaners was also generalized.

"These innovations changed the lives of women," says Professor Cardia. "Although it wasn't a revolution per se, the arrival of this technology in households had an important impact on the workforce and the economy."

Professor Cardia based her research on more than 3,000 censuses conducted between 1940 and 1950, from thousands of American households, across urban and rural areas. "We calculated that women who loaded their stove with coal saved 30 minutes everyday with an electric stove," says Cardia. "The result is that women flooded the workforce. In 1900, five percent of married women had jobs. In 1980, that number jumped to 51 percent."

In 1913, the vacuum cleaner became available, in 1916 it was the washing machine, in 1918 it was the refrigerator, in 1947 the freezer, and in 1973 the microwave was on the market. All of these technologies had an impact on home life, but none had a stronger impact than running water.

"We often forget that running water is a century-old innovation in North America, and it is even more recent in Europe. Of all innovations, it's the one with the most important impact," says Cardia.

In 1890, 25 percent of American households had running water and eight percent had electricity. In 1950, 83 percent had running water and 94% had electricity. According to Cardia, in 1900, a woman spent 58 hours per week on household chores. In 1975, it was 18 hours.

While there have been several studies on the industrial revolution and different aspects of technology, says Cardia, very few investigations have focused on the household revolution. "Yet, women play a very important role in the economy whether they hold a job or work at home."

 The study is entitled, "Household Technology: Was it the Engine of Liberation?"

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Montreal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Montreal. "Fridges And Washing Machines Liberated Women, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090312150735.htm>.
University of Montreal. (2009, March 13). Fridges And Washing Machines Liberated Women, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090312150735.htm
University of Montreal. "Fridges And Washing Machines Liberated Women, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090312150735.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Michigan have designed an app to fight jet lag by adjusting your body's light intake. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

AP (Apr. 10, 2014) — As states slash funding for mental health services, police officers are interacting more than ever with people suffering from schizophrenia and other serious disorders of the mind. The consequences can be deadly. (April 10) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Newsy (Apr. 9, 2014) — A University of Pittsburgh study found pop music that mentions alcohol is linked to higher drinking rates among teens. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins