The aforementioned research, shows that working-class women were inclined to write, so what are the reasons for their literary absence for so long? In this section, I discuss historical and sociological background, opportunities for the practical and psychological application to writing, and literacy and motivation as determining factors in working-class women's writing.
The most obvious obstacles preventing working-class women from writing are discontinuities and duties - those necessary activities that displace writing for working-class women, such as domestic labour and earning a living. In other words, working-class women have been too preoccupied with housework and the raising of children and did not have the time, the space or energy to write novels:
A novel demands time, both physical and emotional.
The imaginative space has to open sufficiently wide and
stay open to let the work form.
The majority of working-class women could lay no claims
to these conditions.
Historically, while working-class men struggled for recognition, equality, and justice within society, middle-class women were actively fighting against a sexual division of labour that kept them economically dependent on men. And while middle-class women were often decorative and functional appendages to their husbands, working-class women toiled from morning to night with little or no leisure time. They were vital to the survival of their families and the country's economy. Poverty is a terrible handicap to a writer.
The years I should have been writing, my hands and being were
at other (inescapable) tasks…what should take weeks takes me
sometimes months to write; what should take months, takes years.
Many women who were able to write had moved away from the working-class, illustrating the impossibility of combining their creativity with their class position. When women do begin to articulate their class experience through education, politics or writing or some combination of all three, they are perceived as no longer of the working class. It is infuriating that working-class women are most fully of their class when silenced.