The Handbook to Lowell, explained the status of girls who worked in the mills of Lowell during the 19th century. The mill girls faced the threat of termination when they failed to comply with the handbook. Once they agreed to work for the Boston Manufacturing Company, they were required to follow the rules set by that company. Francis Cabot Lowell enticed the mill girls to accept the year long contract and many of them extended their contracts and they worked for Lowell for an average of four years. Each Lowell mill girl was offered space in one of the hundreds of boarding houses run by the Boston manufacturing company. Mill girls worked for 70 or more hours per week. When the economy took a downturn and the mills decided to reduce wages by 15%, the girls went on a strike in 1836. But it was not very successful and the girls returned to work for reduced wages. Again in 1845, mills girls organized themselves for a strike to reduce the work hours from 12 to 14 hours to 10 hours per day. Lowell Corporation then came forward to pass a law to reduce the working hours to 11 hours per day. The Lowell mill girls went a long way in reforming working conditions for women all over New England. Their actions and reactions paved the way for rights and dignity of female workers all over the United States.
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