"It is worth noting in this respect that the original proletariat was not the blue-collar male working class. It was lower-class women in ancient society. The word “proletariat” comes to us from the Latin word for “offspring”, meaning those who were too poor to serve the state with anything but their wombs. Too deprived to contribute to economic life in any other way, these women produced labour power in the form of children. They had nothing to yield up but the fruit of their bodies. What society demanded from them was not production but reproduction."
Terry Eagleton, Why Marx Was Right