A Common Choice For Immigrant Women

885 Words Nov 9th, 2015 4 Pages
By 1915, a large portion of the Jewish population in Russia and Eastern Europe emigrated to the U.S due to the persecution and low standard of living that they endured. In Russia, the Jews lived in segregated villages called “shtetls” and dealt with the heavy anti-semitic testament in the region. This anti-semitism was the reason for the tradition of the pogroms, which were riots consisting of the murder of Jews and the destruction of Jewish property, businesses, and synagogues that took place every year on Passover. As the Jews fled to America and sought work, many of the Jewish women found their professions as seamstresses and workers in garment factories. This was a very common choice for immigrant women because many of them had sewing skills. In these factories, women were made to work in hazardous environments with minimal (if any) safety regulations. Because they were paid based on the number of products that they output, they often got injured in the haste of their work. One garment worker stated, “Sometimes in my haste, I get my finger caught and the needle goes right through it. It goes so quick, though, that it does not hurt much. I bind the finger up with a piece of cotton and go on working…” (274). In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company was engulfed in flames, and the compact arrangement of the sewing machines, lack of emergency plan, and many of the exit doors being locked caused 146 of the workers to die (276). The poor working conditions that…

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