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Female Labour

Female workers were engaged in the making of textile and clothing, cigarettes, rubber boots and shoes, and rattan wares. Many factories made use of the quickness and deftness of young girls’ fingers to do repetitive light work, such as filling cigarette packets, pasting labels and turning or unpicking cotton socks. Before 1929, many factory accidents were found among women who worked with the unguarded machines in the knitting industry. When The Factory (Accidents) Ordinance 1927 was introduced, knitting factories had to install safety guards to moving machines and fewer accidents among women were noted. In 1929, the Industrial Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Ordinance came into force. Women and young persons were no longer allowed, without the permission of the Protector of Labour, to work during the prohibited hours at night. In response, knitting factory owners petitioned the government against the prohibition. The petition was rejected and the prosecutions against factory owners who employed women to work at night increased during rapid industrial expansion in 1937 and 1938.