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Women in the
Federal Service
1939-1959




UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1962

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington 25, D.C. - Price 15 cents







Acknowledgments
The Women's Bureau wishes to acknowledge with
appreciation the generous cooperation of the U.S.
Civil Service Commission in making available the data
on which this study is based.
This pamphlet was prepared in the Division of Program Planning, Analysis, and Reports, of which
Stella P. Manor is Chief. It was written by Jean A.
Wells with the statistical assistance of Harriet G.
Ateca and Grace R. Hipp.

Contents
Page

Highlights
Employment trends

iv
1

Job locations

3

Employment standards

4

Grades and salaries

6

Variety of occupational opportunity
Clerical occupations

8
9

Semiprofessional occupations

10

Professional occupations

11

Administrative positions

14

In conclusion

16

Appendix

17




iii

Foreword
"I believe that Federal employment practices should
be a showcase of the feasibility and value of combining
genuine equality of opportunity on the basis of merit
with efficient service to the public."
—President John F. Kennedy.
Women's status in the Federal Service has been a subject of continuing interest to the Women's Bureau. This interest has been manifested by five studies relating to women Federal employees for the
years 1919, 1925, 1938-39, 1947, and 1954. Data available for 1959
are comparable in most instances with the 1954 data and with portions
of the 1938-39 study.
The types of positions which women hold, and the percentages they
comprise of the workers in an occupation, are an index to women's
employment status. Comparisons of current information about these
factors with that available for 1938-39 indicate that women's status in
the Federal Service has improved considerably during the past two
decades. But there is still much room for improvement.
Strong interest in stimulating further progress in the position of
women Federal employees was indicated by the President when he
established the Commission on the Status of Women in December 1961.
He specifically designated the employment policies and practices of
the Federal Government among the various areas in which the Commission is authorized "to review progress and make recommendations
as needed for constructive action."




ESTHER

PETERSON,

Director, Womerfs Bureau.

Highlights

Employment:
The numerical gains of women in the Federal Service have been
particularly noteworthy in recent decades. In 1959, a total of 576,000
women worked for the Federal Government; over four-fifths (476,000)
were employed in white-collar full-time positions. By comparison,
there were fewer than 175,000 women Federal workers in 1939. While
men's employment increased 141 percent between 1939 and 1959,
women's increased 233 percent.

Location:
In recent years, employment opportunities have increased more
rapidly outside the Washington, D.C., area than within. In fact,
between 1939 and 1959, about 90 percent of the increase in women's
employment took place outside Washington. Although 29 percent of
the women employed in Federal Service were working in Washington
in 1939, only 17 percent were working there in 1959.
All Federal agencies employ women, although some have higher
percentages of women workers than others. The distribution of
women among agencies is similar to the distribution of all employees.
Almost half of the women were working for the military establishments in 1959 and another fourth, for three agencies: the Veterans'
Administration, the Post Office Department, and the Health, Education, and Welfare Department.

iv



Occupations:
Women were employed in four-fifths of the 521 major white-collar
occupations listed by the U.S. Civil Service Commission in 1959.
Among every 100 women white-collar workers, there were estimated
to be:
78
8
8
1
5

clerical or related workers
semiprofessional workers
professional workers
administrator
miscellaneous workers (technicians, specialists, etc.)

Since 1938-39, employment opportunities for women have improved
in all types of jobs in the Federal Service. However, the greatest
gains (in terms of numbers or percentages of total workers) have been
made by women in these occupations:
Accountant,
Bacteriologist
Chemist
Draftsman
Economist

Editorial or information
specialist
Legal documents
examiner
Mathematician

Medical technologist
Nurse
Programmer
Statistician
Therapist

Women's status has changed least in these occupations:
Administrator

Doctor

Engineer

Lawyer

Salaries:
The average (mean) salary of women white-collar workers in Federal Service was $4,480 in 1959, as compared with $6,078 a year for
men. Annual salaries in 1959 ranged from $2,960 for grade 1 jobs
to $17,500 for grade 18—as determined under the Classification Act
of 1949, as amended.
The average (median) job grade for women in 1959 was grade 4
($3,755-$4,325) ; this was also the median grade for women in 1954.
For men, the median increased from grade 7 in 1954 to grade 9
($5,985-$6,885) in 1959. Almost 80 percent of the women employed in
1959 were in grades 5 and below; 18 percent, in grades 6 through 9;
2 percent, in grades 10 through 12; and less than 1 percent, in grades
13 and above.




v




Editor's Note: After the current study was completed,
two salary increases were approved by Congress. An
increase averaging 7.5 percent became effective July 1960.
The second was a two-part increase and averaged 9.6 percent for employees covered by the Classification Act and
11.2 percent for postal employees. The first part of the
second increase went into effect in October 1962 and the
remainder is due in January 1964.
Salary rates established by the 1962 legislation follow:
Annual salary rates effective—
October 1962
Grade

1
2
3_
4
5
6
7
8 _ _
9_ __
10. _
11
12
13
14
15__ __
16
17
18_ _

Minimum

$3, 245
3,560
3,820
4,110
4,565
5,035
5,540
_
6,090
_
6,675
7,290
_
8, 045
9, 475
11,150
_ 12, 845
14,565
16,000
18,000
20,000
.

January 1964
Maximum

Maximum

Minimum

$4, 190
4,505
4,830
5, 370
6,005
6, 565
7,205
7,935
8, 700
9, 495
10,165
11, 995
14, 070
16, 245
17, 925
18,000
20, 000
20,000

$3, 305
3, 620
3, 880
4,215
4,690
5,235
5, 795
6,390
7,030
7,690
8, 410
9,980
11, 725
13, 615
15, 665
16,000
18,000
20,000

$4, 250
4,565
4, 900
5,475
6,130
6, 810
7, 550
8,280
9,100
9,985
10, 650
12, 620
14,805
17, 215
19, 270
18, 000
20,000
20, 000

WOMEN IN THE
FEDERAL SERVICE, 1939-1959

The great increase in the number of women employed by the Federal
Government is probably the most spectacular part of the story concerning women in the Federal service. Their numerical gain is related
largely to the Government's need for more employees to carry out the
increased responsibilities of an expanding economy, as well as to
defense requirements. The 575,990 women working for the Government in 1959 compares with 81,500 women employees in 1923, when
official employment reports were first issued. The employee ratio is
now 1 woman to 3 men; then it was 1 woman to 5 men.
The rise in women's employment has been fairly steady, although
marked fluctuations have occurred during and after periods of
national emergency. By 1939 the number of women in Federal
Service—approximating 173,000—was more than double that of 1923.
In 1939 there was about 1 woman to every 4 men employees. During
World War II, women's employment exceeded a million and the
employee ratio became 2 women for every 3 men. Staff cuts after
the war and the return of veterans caused the number of women
workers to drop to less than half a million in 1947 and to continue




1

at about the same level through 1950. Hostilities in Korea brought
a moderate increase, as the following figures show:
Number of
women
employees

1923
1939
1944
1947
1951
1954

(World War II)
(Return of war veterans)
(Korean hostilities)
(Total)
(White-collar, full-time)
1959 (Total)
(White-collar, full-time)

Ratio of
women
to men

81,500
1
172, 700
1
1,110,500
2
444,200
1
577,500
1
521,900
1
(440,280) (1
1 575, 990
1
1 (476,448)
(1

to
to
to
to
to
to
to
to
to

5
4
3
3
3
3
2)
3
2)

1 The 1959 figures are the only ones listed here which include United States citizens
employed overseas. The numbers of women employed by the Federal Government in
1959 in the United States only were: Total—544,110, and white-collar, full-time—460,355.

The gain in women's employment is indicated in a comparison of
1959 figures with those of 1939—just before World War II. The
number of women workers increased 233 percent over this period
while the number of men increased only 141 percent. This greater
percentage gain for women than for men in the Federal Service is
similar to the" trend among workers outside of Government.

2




The size and scope of Federal activities provide a wide choice of
job locations for Federal employees. Regardless of where they live,
women citizens have numerous opportunities for jobs in the Federal
Service. In recent years, these opportunities have been increasing
more rapidly outside than within the Washington, D.C. area. About
90 percent of the increase in women's employment between 1939 and
1959 took place outside the National Capital. While the number
of women working in the Washington area almost doubled, elsewhere
it more than tripled. Of all women full-time white-collar workers
in the Federal Service (476,448) in 1959, less than one-fifth (80,974)
were in Washington. This fact reflects the continual effort to decentralize Federal operations, with regional and area offices handling
as many local operations as possible.
The widespread locations and variety of Federal operations enable
employees to transfer from one location or agency to another without
loss of seniority or other employee benefits. All Federal agencies
employ women, although some have higher percentages of women
workers than others. For example, in 1959 women comprised less
than 10 percent of all Post Office employees but almost 90 percent of
the employees in the Selective Service System.
Both men and women white-collar workers employed by the Federal Government are very heavily concentrated in a few large agencies.
Almost half of the women were working for the military establishments in 1959 and another fourth for three agencies: the Veterans'
Administration, the Post Office Department, and the Health, Education, and Welfare Department. About one-tenth were in the Treasury, Agriculture, and Interior Departments. The remainder were
distributed among 62 other agencies. (Table 1.)
644046 0 — 6 2




2

3

Standards governing the employment conditions and earnings of
women employed in the Federal Government are based on acts of
Congress or Executive orders of the President. Earnings are determined by the Classification Act of 1949, as amended, which provides
for a uniform system of job grades and salaries. In the executive
departments and in most independent agencies, standards are implemented mostly through programs administered by the Civil Service
Commission—the Government's central personnel agency.
Basic to all other Federal policies is the principle of merit and fitness, by which all citizens are guaranteed equal opportunity to seek
employment through open competitive examination and for appointment to the service without discrimination because of race, creed, sex,
politics, or marital status. Of all Federal Government employees
(2,204,128 in October 1959), over 90 percent are under the Civil Service competitive system. Many of the remaining jobs are in special
agencies which have their own merit systems. A small percentage of
positions in the Federal Government are exempt from the merit system because they are policy-making or confidential in nature.
Women have had equal opportunity with men in seeking Federal
employment since 1919, when almost all entrance examinations were
opened to both men and women. Those who pass the examinations are
"certified" to Federal agencies wishing to fill vacancies. Priority is
given in order of examination grades, except as modified by veterans'
preference points, which may be allowed for the applicant's own military service, or, under certain conditions, to the widows, wives, and
mothers of veterans.
For many years, agencies had the option of specifying sex in their
certification requests, under an interpretation of an 1870 law. However, this option was abolished in 1962, following an opinion by the
Attorney General that the President has the authority to regulate
4




this matter. The President directed agencies to make appointments
without regard to sex, except in unusual situations where such action
is found justified by the Civil Service Commission on the basis of
objective nondiscriminatory standards. This ruling is expected to
broaden employment opportunities for women in the Civil Service.
The principle of equal pay for equal work in the Federal Service
was first introduced into law in 1870, but was not fully implemented
until the Classification Act of 1923 established a uniform salary
schedule for most types and grades of work performed by white-collar employees. As women were the ones who benefited primarily from
the provisions which set job standards and salaries, the 1923 act has
been called the emancipation act for women in the Federal Service.
Other policies covering Federal employment have special interest for
two particular groups of women: (1) Women on maternity leave have
their employment rights maintained during their absence; and (2)
older women are assured that it is the official policy of the Government
to judge all applicants for examination and hiring on the basis of
qualifications and ability rather than age.
Important to all women is the fact that the Federal Government
provides good working conditions for its employees—generally a 5day, 40-hour workweek, automatic pay raises, liberal vacation and sickleave provisions, compensation for work injuries, and retirement benefits. During the past decade, Federal employees have also been
covered by unemployment insurance and contributory programs for
life and health insurance.




5

Grades and
Salaries

An average annual salary of $4,480 was earned by women whitecollar workers employed by the Federal Government in 1959; the
average for men was $6,078. By comparison, average annual salaries
in 1954 were $3,562 for women and $4,618 for men. Earnings of
Federal workers paid under the Classification Act of 1949, as amended,
are related to job grades, which range from 1 through 18, according to
the difficulty, complexity, and responsibility of the work. In 1959,
grade 1 had an entrance salary of $2,960 and grade 18 a salary of
$17,500.1
The average (median) grade of Government women in 1959 was
grade 4 ($3,755-$4,325); this was also the median grade for women
in 1954. For men, the median increased from grade 7 in 1954 to
grade 9 ($5,985-$6,885) in 1959. These medians refer to white-collar
workers who are covered by the Classification Act of 1949, as amended.
They do not cover postal employees, whose present salaries and positions are established by the Postal Field Service Compensation Act
of 1955, as amended. Top-level women officials (except Members
of Congress) whose salaries exceeded the rate for grade 18 were
included in the survey.
The job grade information available about Federal employees for
October 1959 shows that most women are in grades 1 to 5 and most
men, in grades 6 to 12. (Table 2.) The following summary points
this up very clearly:
Percent
distribution
Grade

1-5
6-12

13 and over.

Salary range1

$2,960- $4,940
$4,490- $9,530
$9, 890-$17, 500

Women

Men

79
20
(2)

28
60
12

1 Excludes longevity increases, which are received after 10 years' service within a specific grade, including
3 years at the top of the grade. Salary ranges in effect the end of 1962 were:. grades 1-5, $3,245-$6,005; grades
6-12, $5,035-$ll,995; and grades 13 and over, $ll,150-$20,0l)0.
2 Fewer than 0.5 percent.
1 In July 1960, salary rates generally were increased 7.5 percent.
In October 1962, a
two-part increase, averaging 9.6 percent for classified workers and 11.2 percent for postal
workers was approved, with part effective in October 1962 and the remainder in January
1964. (See also the salary schedule on page vi.)

6




On the basis of women's representation among total employees,
women made up over two-thirds of all employees in grades 1 through 5.
As the job grade increased, the percentage of women decreased.
Women were 20 percent of all workers in grades 6 to 12, and 2 percent
of those in grades 13 and above. In supergrades 16, 17, and 18 they
were 1 percent of the total.
The differences between men's and women's grades and salaries are
related largely to differences in types of job held and extent of education and training, as well as to preference for men or for women in
certain types of work and length of service. For example, a special
study of employment records revealed that in 1958 the average length
of time in Federal Service was 13.8 years for men and 9.9 years for
women. Employees with less than 5 years of service included 28
percent of the women but only 11 percent of the men. About twothirds of the men and almost half of the women had at least 10 years
of service.
Under the Government policy of "promotion from within," various
programs have been set up to help employees increase their skills and
competence on the job. Numerous women who have shown potentiality for advancement have been selected to participate in these
training programs.




7

Variety of
Occupational
Opportunity

Equally significant with the numerical rise in women's employment
in the Federal Service is the increased variety of jobs women are performing. In 1959 women were employed in four-fifths (420) of the
521 major occupational groups listed by the Civil Service Commission.
Ranging from accounting to zoology, women's activities included research in library and laboratory; examining the validity of various
claims and legal documents; giving advice and assistance to farmers,
businessmen, and consumers; analyzing military information; keeping account of the vast number of transactions connected with Government operations; and studying weather conditions.
Despite this wide range of activity, women in the Federal Service,
like those outside it, are concentrated in a few occupational fields. In
1959, two-thirds of the women white-collar workers were employed
in only 13 major occupations. Only relatively small numbers of
women were engaged in the many other types of work in the Federal
Government. Such work covered primarily specialized jobs in engineering, inspection and investigation, biological sciences, and mechanics. Generally, women are not attracted to some of these fields and
do not secure the necessary training. In others, particularly investigatory and inspection jobs, the work is considered too arduous, hazardous, or unsuitable for women .and the qualifying examinations have
not been opened to them.
Four broad groups of occupations in the Federal Service offer
diversified types of opportunities for women:
(1) Clerical—From the viewpoint of number of job opportunities
available, clerical jobs comprise the most important employment area for women.
(2) Semi-professional—Requiring longer training periods and
more responsibility than most clerical work, these jobs also
offer more advancement opportunities.
(3) Professional—To women with the required education and
experience, these fields are very attractive in terms of variety
of work, salary, prestige, and chances of advancement.
8




(4) Administrative—Measured by level of responsibility, remuneration, and prestige, these include some of the most desirable positions, but their number is small and the competition
for them is correspondingly keen.
The employment and salary information collected by the Civil
Service Commission indicates important distinctions in the characteristics of these broad occupational groups.2 (Table 3.)

Clerical Occupations

Almost four-fifths (about 360,000) of the women in Federal Service
were doing clerical and related work in 1959. Twenty years ago their
comparable number approximated 107,000 and 5 years ago it was
375,000. In these earlier periods, clerical workers also represented
about four-fifths of the women in white-collar positions. The increase
in their numbers over 1939 reflects greater defense responsibilities and
other increased functions of the Federal Government.
Within the large group of clerical workers, there is further concentration of women in a few occupations:
Number of women

Occupation

Typist, stenographer, and secretary:
Clerk-typist_ __
Clerk-stenographer
Secretary _
Stock control clerk
Mail and file clerk
Card punch operator..

1959

-

63,
46,
30,
17,
14,
9,

546
269
981
371
760
191

1954

77,
46,
22,
21,
20,
6,

368
349
783
339
946
321

Average salary
1959

$3,
4,
4,
4,
3,
3,

768
060
602
129
966
821

1954

$3,
3,
3,
3,
3,
3,

115
296
741
392
193
160

In 1959, most women clerical workers were employed in grades 3
through 5 ($3,495-$4,940). This grade range was up slightly from
1954, when the majority of clerical women were in grades 2 through 4.
Opportunities for advancement are somewhat limited in the clerical field. Through training while on the job, typists can learn to
perform additional clerical duties in the statistical, accounting, or
editorial field. Typists can also obtain further training and become
stenographers, who in turn can advance to secretarial positions. Directly above many clerical jobs are supervisory, management, or
2 Employment figures given in the discussion of occupational opportunities are confined
to figures for the United States in order to have comparability with data for previous
years.




9

staff-assistant positions, which are relatively limited in number. There
are, however, fairly numerous examples of women who have started
at clerical jobs and have advanced to the middle grades in administrative, supervisory, or technical positions.

About 37,000 jobs filled by women in the Federal Service may be
described as semiprofessional, semiscientific, or semitechnical. Some
of these jobs were first occupied by women during war and emergency
periods when the young men who previously filled them entered
military service.
Among the occupations covered by this group, those with large
numbers of women follow:
Number of women
Occupation
Claims examiner

1

1959
_

__

Medical technician

__

1954

4, 559

__

X, 376

Legal instruments examiner __

1, 3 1 0

Library assistant.

1, 171

_

Cartographic aide

626

Engineering draftsman __

587

Physical science technician.

__

548

As percent of total
employees

Average
salary
1959

1959

1954

4, 3 6 4

45

56

1, 2 6 5
1, 147

51
75

53
74

958
787

70

75

4, 681
4, 2 6 6

16

19

4, 9 5 6

540
521

9

8
22

4, 9 4 5

24

$4, 681

4, 6 1 3

To provide comparability with 1954, the data for 1959 combine 3,470 retirement and old-age insurance
claims examiners ($5,622), 790 general claims examiners ($4,668), and 299 disability and death compensation
claims examiners ($4,852)—totaling 4,559 women.
1

Salaries were generally higher for these jobs than for clerical work.
Women in semiprofessional occupations were typically in grades 3
through 7, for which salaries ranged between $3,495 and $5,880 in 1959.
These jobs generally require shorter periods of specialized formal
training and experience than professional jobs. However, their employment qualifications and responsibilities are usually higher than
those of clerical jobs. Greater opportunities for advancement are also
found in this area. Further job experience becomes progressively
more valuable, and those willing to add to their educational qualifications will find better positions open to them.

10




Professional Occupations

F1

n-mtu
INttl

4

Q
B

The 34,758 women performing professional work for the Federal
Government in the United States during 1959 made up 18 percent
of all Federal professional personnel—a notable gain over 1938-39
when 6,165 women comprised only 8 percent of the overall group.
Much of the 464 percent increase resulted from reclassification of
registered nurses from subprofessional to professional status in 1946.
If nurses were excluded from the 1959 count, the increase in women's
professional employment would amount to 147 percent. Over this
same period the number of professional men increased by only 126
percent.
As professional positions require either a college degree or equivalent job experience and usually cover assignments with greater responsibility, the women employed in them have higher job grades
than semiprofessional workers. Fewer than one-tenth of the professional women in 1959 were in grade 5 (salary range of $4,040$4,940), the entrance grade for most professional occupations. Onehalf were in grades 6 and 7 and one-fifth in grades 8 and 9. An
additional one-fifth had reached grade 11 or higher: 10 percent in
grade 11, 6 percent in grade 12, and 4 percent in grade 13 or higher.
The median of professional women was grade 7 and their average
salary $6,007 a year.
Differences in advancement opportunities for women within each
of the professions can best be described by considering the types of
changes that have taken place during the past 20 years. These changes
indicate that professions employing women in the Federal Service
fall into three broad categories: Those in which women have traditionally been employed, those usually filled by men, and expanding
professions in which women are making significant progress.
(1) Traditional professions for women.—About three-fourths of the
34,758 women in Federal positions requiring professional training are
performing work in which women have long been accepted. These
professional positions have relatively large numbers of women workers
and also, in most cases, high ratios of women to men.
The following professions, in which the data for 1959 and 1954 are
fairly comparable with 1938-39, have employed large numbers of
women for many years:




11

Occupation

As percent of total employees

Number of women

1959
19, 5 3 2

1954
19, 128

Librarian

2,077

2,889

365

Teacher

1,773

1,251

1,600

Dietitian

1,042

1,069

966

939

Nurse

Social worker

19S8-39
5,650

1959
97

1954 1938-39
97
97

72
1

20

78
1

60

18

47

95
470

99

55

58

62

The percentage of women is low because the group was composed mainly of training instructors in the
military establishments, most of whom were men.
1

In four of these occupations, more than two-thirds of the women
were in grades 5 through 9 (salary range $4,040-$6,885) in 1959. Most
social workers were in grades 9 through 11 (salary range $5,985$8,230). Less than 1 percent of the women in all five occupations were
in grade 13 or higher. Average salaries of women in these professions, where women customarily predominate, are generally exceeded
by the salaries of women in other professions.
Apart from the professional standing attained by nurses, few
significant changes took place in women's status in these professions
during the period 1939-59. Women continue to fill most of the staff
positions but not the administrative ones. For example, although
most librarians are women, men hold most of the library administration positions.
(2) Professions with few women.—Professions in the Federal Service in which men greatly outnumber women include those of doctor,
lawyer, and engineer. Over the past 20 years, the percentage of
women in these Government positions has changed very little. In
1938-39 women comprised 3 percent of the doctors and 5 percent of
the lawyers in the Federal Service. Their representation in 1959 rose
to 5 percent among doctors, and to 7 percent among laywTers (primarily because adjudicators achieved professional status). The Federal Government employed no women engineers in 1938-39 (according
to the sample survey conducted at that time), and the 238 employed
in 1959 were fewer than 1 percent of the total.
Women's employment and representation in these professions are
shown below:
Number of women
Occupation

As percent of total employees

1959

1954

1938-39

Lawyer

741

747

275

1959
7

7

5

Doctor

520

267

160

5

4

3

Engineer

238

161

p)

1954 1938-39

p)

i Less than 1 percent.

The salaries of women in these professions were exceptionally good,
exceeding the salaries averaged by most other professional women in
the Federal Service. In 1959, over half of the women doctors, over
two-thirds of the women lawyers, and three-fourths of the women en12




gineers were in grades 9 through 12 inclusive. Grade 13 or above included two-fifths of the women doctors and about one-fifth of the
women lawyers and women engineers.
Women's representation in these professions is influenced by the
relatively small numbers of women who secure the necessary training.
However, those who have prepared for these professions include many
Government women who have made outstanding records of achievement. Their job experience indicates that women with the needed
training and suitable aptitudes for these professions will find good
employment opportunities in the Federal Service.
(3) Professions with expanding employment opportunities.—
There are several professions in the Federal Service in which women
have made remarkable progress since 1938-39. All are growing professions in which there has been a long-term demand for more employees. This has coincided with an increase in the numbers of women
interested in and preparing for professional employment. As a result, many women are finding it possible to take advantage of the new
opportunities opening in these fields.
The following professions show increased employment representation of women since 1938-39 :
Number o f women
Occupation i
Accountant and auditor

1959
6,245

1964

As percent of total employees
1938-89

1959

1954 1938-89

3,408

750

26

19

11

Mathematician and s t a t i s t i c i a n 1 , 0 6 1

866

85

24

26

10

Chemist

814

559

50

14

12

3

Economist

348

323

230

15

16

5

Physical scientist

243

256

25

4

4

2

Biological scientist

275

245

130

18

18

4

To provide comparability with 1938-39, the data for 1959 and 1954 cover the following occupational
groups: Accountants and auditors—accounting, tax accounting, fiscal auditing, and transportation rate
auditing. Physical scientists—astronomy, geology, meteorology, and physics. Biological scientists—agronomy, horticulture, botany, and bacteriology.
1

This group of professions offers opportunities for women that are
midway between those of the two previously listed groups. Though
the numbers of women are not exceptionally large, women's representation is fairly significant. Salaries are somewhat below those paid
doctors and lawyers but higher than those of nurses and librarians.
In 1959, the majority of women in these expanding professions were
earning above the $6,007 a year averaged by all professional women
in Government Service—evidence that they were filling responsible
assignments.
The largest number of new professional opportunities opened by the
Federal Government to women in the past 20 years became available
for persons skilled in accounting, auditing, mathematics, and statistics.
The Federal Government's demand for such personnel has increased
with the need for accurate and comprehensive information about both




13

governmental and nongovernmental activities. It is especially noteworthy that the number of women doing professional work in mathematics and statistics expanded more than twelvefold between 1938-39
and 1959 and raised women's representation from 10 to 24 percent of
the professional staff. Average salaries earned by these women in 1959
were: Statisticians—$7,764; mathematicians—$6,962; and accountants—$6,497.
Among Government economists, the largest group of social scientists in Federal Service, women's representation increased from 5 to
15 percent in 20 years. In the three largest branches of economics,
covering almost three-fourths of the women economists, average salaries for women were: Business economists—$7,631; labor economists—
$8,369; and international trade and development economists—$9,339.
In other social science positions with relatively large numbers of professional women, average salaries were: Foreign affairs analysts—
$7,177; military intelligence research workers—$7,379; psychologists—$8,091 ; and historians—$7,239.
While women's advance within the natural science fields has
not been uniform, their net gain since 1938-39 has been from 4 to 10
percent of Government scientists. The progress of women chemists
has been particularly impressive: Their number has increased*sixteenfold and their percentage from 3 to 14 percent of all Federal
chemists. Women's representation among professional scientists in
1959 ranged from 3 percent of the physicists to 28 percent of the bacteriologists. Their average salaries in 1959 were: Physicists—$8,185;
bacteriologists—$6,678; and chemists—$6,687.
As employment opportunities in these professions will increase with
an expanding economy, women's future accomplishments will depend
largely on women themselves. With appropriate training and experience, they can be expected to gain in numbers and status.

The area of Government administration includes positions which
carry the highest level of responsibility and confer great prestige on
the women who achieve them. Minimum classification for most administrative or executive positions is grade 13, for which the entrance
salary was $9,890 in 1959. Among the 1,617 women reported at grade
13 or above in that year, 1,013 women were primarily professional
employees, although some of their work may have included admin-

14




istrative duties. In the remaining group, many women exercised
great authority and influence in determining high-level policy or in
administering major programs of the Federal Government. Eighteen
of the women, in grades 16 and above, were top administrators or
experts in highly specialized fields.
Highest-ranking woman in the executive branch of the Federal
Government at the time of the 1959 study was the Under Secretary
of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. At the same
time, other women were holding responsible positions as agency
heads or as members of commissions and boards, helping to determine
Government policy. They included the Treasurer of the United
States, Director of the Passport Office, Chairman of the Subversive
Activities Control Board, a Foreign Claims Settlement Commissioner,
a Civil Service Commissioner, an Assistant Commissioner of the
U.S. Patent Office, Director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Chief of the Children's Bureau, Director of the Bureau of Public
Assistance, Economic Adviser to the Secretary of Labor, and Assistant to the Secretary of Labor.
Other important positions held by women included Chief Judge
of a Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge of the U.S. District Court for
the District of Columbia, Judge of the U.S. Customs Court, Associate
Press Secretary at the White House, Assistant Surgeon General, and
Director of the Institute of Home Economics.
Some women served as advisers to executives, while others were
directors or deputy directors of agencies or divisions within an agency
and were responsible for carrying out major Government programs.
Areas in which women were serving as administrators covered many
fields of Government operation, including public health, social welfare, training and education, economic and statistical studies, consumer services, personnel, and budgeting.
The three administrative fields with the largest numbers of women
in grade 13 or over in 1959 were general administration, personnel
administration, and social administration (of such programs as social
security, child welfare, public assistance, and vocational rehabilitation). The best opportunities for women were in social administration, where women were almost half of the administrative personnel.
Other areas with significant numbers of women serving as high-level
administrators were public health administration, and budget
administration.
The future may offer women greater opportunities in Federal
administrative positions. As Government operations become increasingly complex, there is need for high-caliber persons to shoulder the
heavy responsibilities. Women who are able to satisfy training and
experience requirements should find their services in demand.




15

In Conclusion

Women who have gained recognition in Government offer some
words of advice for women workers who want to advance their careers:
"Once a woman has found where her interests and abilities lie* she should
get the best training and experience possible," declared one woman executive.
She continued, "After that she should see to it that she is able to utilize her
work skills properly."
"Take advantage of the shortage fields," recommended a woman personnel
officer. "The physical sciences and engineering are crying for trained personnel. Here are the places women can advance most quickly if they are
qualified."
"Consider engineering among your possible choices for a career," added a
woman engineer.
"Few women realize how interesting and satisfying
a career in professional engineering can be."
"Many women who do not have confidence in their ability to get another
job fail to obtain varied employment experience and thereby thwart their
chances for advancement," warned a woman administrator who in the past
had seen many women workers drift into a blind alley. "Even though
a woman finds a specialization of great value, she should not forget
that breadth of experience and training can enhance her employability
immeasurably."

To young women seeking employment, strong encouragement to
enter Federal Service is offered by many women Government officials
who have developed successful careers. Most of all, they emphasize
the satisfaction of using their training and talents in the interests
of their fellow citizens.

16




APPENDIX
TABLE 1.—White-Collar Employment

in the Federal

October SI, 1959

Government,

by

Agency,

Women
Agency

Total
employees

Number

As per- Percent
in D.C.
cent of
total emarea
ployees
17

TOTAL

1,459,226

476,448

33

Executive branch L.

1,445,930

470,850

33

16

Office of the President..
Departments

2, 488
1,222, 724

1,134
386,016

46
32

52
16

Agriculture
Commerce.
Defense:
Air Force.
Army
Navy
Office of Secretary of Defense..
Health, Education, and Welfare...
Interior
Justice
Labor
Post Office
State
Treasury
Independent agencies

68, 919
23,040

17, 286
6,863

25
30

27
65

150,170
205,526
130,969
1,689
52,479
36, 583
28,195
5,712
433,390
18,445
67,607
220, 718

78,577
95,166
59, 209
928
29,089
10,896
9,055
2, 757
40, 913
6,997
28, 275
83, 705

52
46
45
55
55
30
32
48
9
38
42
38

6
13
19
96
26
21
44
62
2
54
16
16

Atomic Energy Commission
Canal Zone Government
Civil Aeronautics Board
Civil Service Commission
Farm Credit Administration
Federal Aviation Agency
Federal Communications Commission
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Federal Home Loan Bank Board
Federal Power Commission
Federal Trade Commission..
General Services Administration
Housing and Home Finance Agency
Information Agency.
Interstate Commerce Commission
National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
National Labor Relations Board
National Science Foundation
Panama Canal Company
Railroad Retirement Board
Securities and Exchange Commission
Selective Service System
Small Business Administration
Smithsonian Institution
Tennessee Valley Authority
Veterans Administration
Other independent agencies
Judicial branch

6, 526
1,143
710
3, 527
777
31,080
1,220
1,217
945
804
719
12, 620
10, 790
3, 613
2,261
5, 685
1,475
446
1,151
2,237
917
4,147
2,092
871
5,403
115,895
2,447
4, 587

2,256
525
305
1,759
249
3,910
480
312
217
236
287
4, 592
4,642
1,327
812
1,458
636
261
380
1,140
292
3, 710
1,011
235
1,235
50,502
936
2,071

35
46
43
50
32
13
39
26
23
29
40
36
43
37
36
26
43
59
33
51
32
89
48
27
23
44
38
45

33

8,708

3,527

41

89

5,018
1,194
2,399
97

1,757
653
1,094
23

35
55
46
24

79
98
100
100

Legislative branch 3_.
General Accounting Office...
Government Printing Office..
Library of Congress
Other

(2)

95
54
24
28
80
47
65
86
84
36
34
78
75
18
37
100
1
1
64
3
25
96
4
75
15

1 Covers all white-collar employees of the executive branch, except those in the Central Intelligence
Agency, National Security Agency, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
2 Fewer than 0.5 percent.
3 Covers 5 out of 6 agencies; excluded are Members and employees of the Congress.

Source: U.S. Civil Service Commission.




17

TABLE

2.—White-Collar Employments in the Federal
Grade, October SI, 1959

Government,

Women
Grade
Number
TOTAL
Grade specif led 2
GS-1
GS-2
GS-3
GS-4
GS-5
GS-6
GS-7
GS-8
GS-9
GS-10
GS-11
GS-12
GS-13
GS-14
GS-15
GS-16
GS-17
GS-18

946
23,652
119,276
114,921
68,199
25,248
30,021
5,496
13,825
1,494
5,974
2,634
1,158
351
90
9
7
2

Men

Percent
distribution

476,448
413,303

by Sex and

As percent
of all
employees

Number

32.7
42.5

.2
5.7
28.9
27.8
16.5
6.1
7.3
1.3
3.3
.4
1.4
.6
.3
.1

(3)
(3)
3
(3)
()

982,778
560,103

26.5
56.7
71.9
71.8
61.3
52.2
32.5
21.5
13.7
10.6
7.3
4.4
2.9
2.0
1.1
.8
1.4
1.1

100.0

2,625
18,057
46, 528
45,170
43,084
23,135
62, 425
20,113
86,942
12, 571
75,960
57, 594
38,185
17,563
8,416
1,058
496
181

Percent
distribution
100.0

(3)

.5
3.2
8.3
8.1
7.7
4.1
11.1
3.6
15. 5
2.2
13.6
10.3
6.8
3.1
1.5
.2
.1

1 Includes women and men employed by the Federal Government both inside and outside the United
States.
2 Excludes positions primarily in the following agencies: Post Office, Canal Zone Government, Panama
Canal Company, Tennessee Valley Authority, part of the Veterans' Administration, and virtually all of the
judicial branch of the Government.
3 Fewer than 0.05 percent.

Source: U.S. Civil Service Commission.
TABLE 3.—Occupational Distribution

of

Women

White-Collar

Workers

Federal Government, United States, October 31, 1959

Number As percent
of women 2 of total
employees

Occupational series 1

Bacteriology.
Medical biology technician
Other
Business and industry




Average
annual
salary3
$4,480

..
.

_

-

48

4,620

1,006
6,065
9,796
724
1,276
2,496
221
8,109
291
3,337
474
4,743
439
3,419
4,046
15
1,351

6
72
72
56
28
75
26
60
3
78
58
70
28
84
77
11
4

6,497
4,722
4,307
4,126
6,501
4,372
5,328
4,593
7,130
4,281
4,498
4.869
3,943
4,451
4,426

256
375
720
3,500

-

32

46,457

Accounting
Accounting technician
Accounts maintenance clerical
Benefit-payment roll
Budget administration
Cash processing
Fiscal auditing
General accounting clerical and administrative
Internal revenue agent
Military pay
Pay-roll
Tax accounting
Time and leave
Time leave and pay-roll
Voucher examining
Other .
Biological sciences

18

the

460,355

TOTAL WOMEN
Accounting and budget

Contact and procurement
Production specialist—
Other
Copyright, patent, and trade-mark
See footnotes at end of table.

in

28
32
4
10

6,678
4,244

2,198
214
1,088
55

24
2
6
4

5,808
5,686

5,746

5,768

7,957

TABLE

3.—Occupational Distribution of Women White-Collar Workers in the
Federal Government, United States, October 31, 1959—Continued
Number
of women 2

Education

—

Adjudicating
Contact representative
Disability and death compensation claims examining.
Docket clerk
General attorney
General claims examining
Legal clerical and administrative
Legal instruments examining
Retirement and old-age insurance claims examining..
Other
Library and archives
Librarian
Library assistant
Other

5,513
3,989

29
2
9

4,441
4,716
4,945

W

Average
annual
salary 3

5,253

14

5,266

531
309
283,082

Illustrating
Other
General administrative, clerical, and office services
Addressing equipment operating
Administrative assistant officer
Bookkeeping machine operating
Calculating machine operating
Card punch operation
Clerk-correspondence
Clerk-dictating machine transcriber
Clerk-postal distribution
Clerk-postal window
Clerk-stenographer and reporter
Clerk-typist
Cold-type composing machine
Communications relay equipment operating
Digital computer programming
Digital computer systems operation
General clerical and administrative
Information receptionist
Mail and file
Management analysis
Office service management and supervision
Postal workers, miscellaneous
Postmaster and assistant postmaster
Rural carrier
Secretary
Stenographic or typing unit supervisor
Tabulating equipment operation
Tabulating machine operation.
Telephone operating
Teletypist
Other
Inspection and grading
Investigation
Legal and kindred

$5,515

20
57
12
2

292
353
587
283
840

Cartographic drafting
Engineering aid and technician
Engineering drafting
Other
Fine and applied arts...

20

1,773
237
146
1,515

-

Education and vocational training
Instruction
Other
Engineering

As percent
of total
employees

2,156

Occupational series 1

26
8
38

5,285

313
1,724
87*
473
9,191
1,394
5,215
9, 798
3,065
46,269
63,546
311
228
483
262
51,963
525
14, 760
2,015
649
7,491
15,064
937
30,981
661
1,625
3,139
6,445
1,883
1,795
219
281
10,840

47
27
95
91
97
80
96
7
16
98
93
93
33
20
25
59
82
56
19
41
29
37
3
99
94
45
42
98
63
1
2
1
33

3,626
5,957
3,897
3,826
3,821
4,413
3,913
4,816
4,815
4,060
3,768
3,850
4,436
6,219
4,956
4,491
4,025
3,966
6,344
5,329
4,264
3,882
5,272
4,602
4,409
4,460
3,999
3,937
4,294

242
896
299
276
423
790
410
1,310
3,470
2,724
3,451

12
38
31
75
5
42
67
75
48
35
63

6,793
4,352
4,852
4,436
8,974
4,668
4,891
4,681
5,622

2,077
1,171
203

72
70
23

6,307
4,266

4,194

4,881
5,982
5, 362

5,576

See footnotes at end of table.




19

TABLE

3.—Occupational Distribution of Women White-Collar Workers in the
Federal Government, United States, October 31, 1959—Continued
Number
of women 2

Mathematics and statistics
M athematics
Mathematics aid
Statistics
Statistical clerical and administrative
Statistical coding
Other
Mechanic.
Medical, hospital, dental, and public health..

-

.

Dental assistant
Dietitian
Medical aid
.
Medical officer
Medical radiology technician
Medical technician
.
Medical technologist
Nurse
Nursing assistant
Occupational therapist
Physical therapist
Other
Personnel administration and industrial relations...
Appointment and status change
Military personnel clerical
...
Personnel administration
Personnel clerical
Placement
Position-classification
Qualification rating
Other.—
Physical sciences

.

..

-

Cartographic aid
Chemistry—
Meteorology technician
Physical science technician.
Other
Social science, psychology, and welfare

—

Foreign affairs
Military intelligence analysis
Military intelligence research
Recreation...
Social work
Welfare work
Other
Supply

See footnotes at end of table.

20




94
80
29
84
55
33
58
21

626
814
281
548
599
3,709

16
14
12
24
5
27
18

216

219
530
966
485
1,058
33,449

General supply
Printing and publications
Purchasing
Sales stores operation
Stock control clerical
Storekeeping clerical
Supply cataloging
Supply commodity requirements, distribution and management.
Supply item identification
Other
Trades, crafts, and labor
Transportation
Freight rate
General transportation
Passenger traffic
Shipment
Transportation rate auditing
Other

95
95
41
5
19
51
72
97
27
85
53
20
52

1,734
3,733
2,082
2, 973
792
760
262
734
2,868

-

27
75
21
79
77
44
1
44

1,114
1,042
550
520
248
1,376
345
19,532
9,216
465
330
1,488
13,070

-

60

578
325
483
5,619
1,027
236
163
36,226

235

.

As percent
of total
employees

8,268

Occupational series 1

-

3, 525
561
4,782
1,098
17,371
318
1,122

4,279
250
143
1
4,090
1,134
647
1,017
546
275
471

10

44
16

36
55
76
16

48
25
43
70
57
70
9
31
43
39
16
43
33
77
64
41
3

TABLE

3.—Occupational Distribution of Women White-Collar Workers in the
Federal Government, United States, October 31, 1959—Continued
Occupational series 1

Veterinary science
Miscellaneous occupations
Fingerprint identification
Information and editorial
Security administration
_
Social insurance administration
Other

As percent
Number
of women 2
of total
employees
9
4, 755
234
3,401
293
291
536

(<)

Average
annual
salary3

10
27
51
18
11
2

$6,248
5,468
4,485
5, 439
5,383
6,669

1 For definitions, see the Handbook of Occupational Groups and Series of Classes, published by the U.S.
Civil Service Commission.
2 Covers women Federal employees working in the 50 States and the District of Columbia.
3 Covers all women Federal employees, including U.S. citizens employed overseas.
4 Fewer than 0.5 percent.
N O T E : Detailed occupational series with fewer than 200 women are grouped under "Other" at the end of
each major group. Details for these series are available at the Commission.

Source: U.S. Civil Service Commission.




21
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1961

O—644046







Notes




Notes




Notes




Notes





Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102