What role did women play in Britain during the Industrial Revolution?

Last updated: 15/11/2023
What role did women play in Britain during the Industrial Revolution?
Main Subject
Key stage
Industry and Empire c. 1750-1900: Industrial Revolution
Includes answers
Resource type
Complete lesson
Concepts and methods

A varied and thought-provoking worksheet on the role of British women in the Industrial Revolution with enough material for a complete lesson.

Students start by playing keyword bingo, identifying the terms from the definitions, then analyse an image of women and children working in a 19th-century match factory.

They read a text about the changes in the lives of working-class women because of the Industrial Revolution and decide whether they think lives got better or worse.

Finally, students read snippets about four significant female figures from the period of the Industrial Revolution:

  • Lady Mary Whortley Montagu
  • Henrietta Vansittart
  • Anna Maria Garthwaite
  • Ada Lovelace.

Using a writing frame to help them, they write a short paragraph about which figure was the most significant and why.

The paragraph about Henrietta Vansittart: 

Vansittart developed her father’s inventions and became a famous female engineer. Her work included a propeller that was used on many large ships, including those used by the British Navy.

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