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JAMES J. DAVIS. Scoetaiy






E N D E D J U N E 30





Women's i u d u s t r i a l conference
State studies:
Special studies:
' Night w o r k f o r women
Changing jobs
Lost time and labor turnover
The status of women i n the Government service i n 1925
Foreign-born women i n industry
Women workers i n F l i n t , Mich
Wage study
Investigation of the effects of special legislation on the employment
of women i n i n d u s t r y
Library research w o r k
Educational w o r k
Comment and recommendations
M a r r i e d women i n industry
The piecework system
Posture a t w o r k
I n d u s t r i a l poisons
Other causes of f a t i g u e
Occupational opportunities of women
Lost time and labor turnover
Wage study
Needed additions to staff






Washington, August 16,1926.
H o n . JAMES J . DAVIS,

Secretary of Labor,
SIR : The Women's Bureau, charged w i t h the function of looking
after the interests of the more than eight and one-half million wageearning women i n the country, has continued its busy and varied
program during the past year. I n general it may be said that the
subject of women i n industry has become one of great interest
throughout the country'. This fact is traceable to several important
causes. I n the first place, census figures show that the number of
wage-earning women is constantly increasing and that the employment of women outside the home in industrial enterprises is a permanent measure. Investigations have revealed that many women
are not transients i n industrial work, leaving their jobs when they
marry—as was formerly believed by a large part of the p u b l i c ^
but that a great number of women are as permanent in industry
as are men, that some of them never marry, and that of those who
do many are forced to continue in, or later to return to, industrial
jobs, to supplement the family income. The growing realization,
therefore, that women are indispensable to industry i n its need for
a large number of workers and that industry is indispensable to
women i n their economic struggles has led to a greater interest on
the part of the public i n women who are in gainful employment.
I t is now also realized that there is greater need for recommendations i n regard to standards of women's employment, due to the fact
that women have been in a weaker position economically tlian have
men. Therefore, i t is necessary to give opportunity for the upbuilding of safeguards to conserve alike an industrial efficiency and the
health of women, and to make i t impossible for selfish interests to
exploit them as unwilling competitors in lowering those standards
of wages, hours, working conditions, and industrial relations which
are for the best interests of the workers, the industries, and society
as a whole.
The public is gradually coming to realize that not only is i t important to consider the problems of women i n industry because they
are producers of economic goods, but i t is important to safeguard
them i n the interest of the race, since .as, mothers or potential
mothers,they are producers of future citizens. I f industrial forces


are permitted to draw too heavilj^ upon the time and energies of
women employees, then industry becomes a menace not only to them
as individuals but to their children.
The Women's Bureau^ by means of its various activities, has been
largely responsible for riveting the attention of many forces upon
the problems of women workers. Its program during the past year
has embraced the following general activities: A large industrial
conference; investigations of conditions of employment for women;
special studies of problems particularly related to wage-earning
women; the inauguration of an extensive survey of the effects of
special labor legislation on the employment of women; research
work along many lines connected with wage-earning women; educational work involving the preparation and circulation of bulletins,
special data, popular and technical articles, and exhibit material;
and the planning and preparation of special exhibits for the Sesquicentennial Exposition.
One of the most important activities during the past year was the
Women's Industrial Conference, which was called by the bureau for
a three-day session, from January 18 to 21, inclusive.
The object of the conference—the second of the kind held by the
bureau—was to bring together the women of the country concerned
with the industrial and economic problems as related to women
workers and to give an opportunity for the presentation of facts
about women in industry by experts and for a discussion of such
problems by the delegates; to make possible an interchange of experiences and ideas among employers, workers, and the general
public; to develop policies for broader opportunity and more profitable employment of women under modern industrial conditions;
and in this way to secure the best results for both industry and
society. The conference was of particular value because of the need
to face and analyze certain new problems arising from the increased
employment of women along various lines, from the speeding up of
modern industry, and from the tremendous increase among married
women in industry.
Industrial problems as they affect women, from the point of view
of the employer, the trade-union, the economist, the doctor, the consumer, the church, the woman worker, the general public, and the
Government constituted the varied and extensive program of the
conference. The followmg topics and speakers comprised the pro|Tam: Women workers and the American home, Hon. James J.
Davis, Secretary of Labor; What Massachusetts has dene for women
workers, Mrs. John Jacob Eogers, Member of Congress from Massachusetts; State standards for women in California, Mrs. Julius
liahn, Member of Congress from California: The significance of the
development of industry to the employer, Mr. John E. Edgerton,
president of the National Association of Manufacturers; The significance of the development of industry to the worker, Mr. WUham
breen, pre^dent of the American Federation of Labor; The signm^nce of the development of industry to society, Miss Mary J a n
lUeeck, director department of industrial studies Bussell Sage



Foundation and the iirst Director of the Women's Bureau: The
philosophy of industrial relations; Mr. William Leiserson, professor
of labor economics, Toledo University; Experiments in reducing
hours without decrease in production, Miss Frances Perkins, member
of State Industrial Commission, of ^Xew York; Woi-king out the
adjustments' over the conference table, Miss Agnes Nestor, president
of the Chicago Women's Trade-Union League; A n experiment in a
jmll village, Air. Hem^y P. Kendall, president of the Kendall Mills
(Inc.); The right of the worker to citizenship, Miss Rose Schneiderman, representing the Cloth, Hat, Cap, and Millinerv Workers'
International Union; The right of the worker to education/Miss
Mollie Ray Carroll, professor of economics, Goucher College; The
right of the worker to recreation, Mrs. Robert Speer, president of
the National Board, Young Women's Christian Association, New
l o r k ; Industrial hygiene. Dr. Alice Hamilton, professor of industrial medicine. Harvard Medical College; Public health, Dr. Hugh
S. Gumming, Surgeon General, United States Public Health Service;
A symposium on the woman Avage earner and the conditions under
which she works and lives from six different points of view—^The
woman wage earner, Miss Mary Koken, silk weaver; The consumer,
the late Mrs. Percy Jackson, president of the Consumers' League of
New Y o r k ; Business, Mrs. Marguerite B. Benson, director of the
Women's Bureau of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association; The
church, Rev. Worth M. Tippy, executive secretary of the Commission
on Churches and Social Service, New York, and Dr. John M. Cooper,
associate professor of sociolog^^, Catholic University, Washington,
D. C.; Tlie State government. Miss Nelle Swartz, director o f the
bureau of women in industry in the department of labor, New York,
and Miss Charlotte Carr, director of the bureau of women and children i n the department of labor and industry, Pennsylvania; and
The National Government, Mrs. Maude Wood Park, councilor on
legislation, National League of Women Voters; Miss Mary E. McDowell, commissioner of public welfare, Chicago; Mrs. Bessie Parker
Bruggeman, chairman, United States Employees' Compensation
Commission; Miss Jessie Dell, member of the United States Civil
Service Commission; D r . Louise Stanley, Director of the Bureau of
Home Economics, United States Department of Agriculture.
A l l national women's organizations and ail national organizations
having a large proportion of women members were asked to send
delegates. Employers, personnel workers connected with industrial
estaWishments, and business organizations also were invited to take
part. I n allj 291 delegates were present, representing 107 national
organizations and 41 States, the District of Columbia, Porto Rico,
and the Philippine Islands.
A t the opening session of the conference a special message from
the President of the United States .was read to the delegates, followed by the address of the Secretary of Labor. The meetings were
then formally open for the discussion of the various problems for
which the conference was called.
Investigations of conditions surrounding the employment of
women i n the various States have always occupied an important place
in the work of the Women's Bureau. Such surveys are always under


taken at the request of some interested organization i n the State.
The figures obtained from such studies are of interest not only to
the localities where the studies are actually made but also to the
country at large, since they are representative of conditions under
which women are employed at the present time and since they furmsh
more or less comparable data for me different sections of the United
During the past year no new studies of this type have been undertaken, but work has continued on the reports or surveys made in
five .States. Two of these bulletins—Women i n Illinois Industrie
and Women in Oklahoma Industries—^have been published, one is
in press—^Women in Mississippi Industries—and the other two are
nearing completion—^Women in Tennessee Industries and Women
in Delaware Industries.
The survey was made of the hours, wages, and working conditions
of the women employed in Mississippi industries, the investigation
having been conducted during January and Februaiy, 1925.
Eighty-one establishments—factories, stores, laundries—employing
2,853 wo]nen were visited. I n general, the hour standards in Mississippi, both those established by law and by practice, showed the need
of improvement. The limitations of working hours of women which
are set by law, and which apply to the majority of occupations
in which women are engaged other than domestic service, permit
a lO-hour day and a 60-hour week. Over one-third of the
women reported upon, however, had a daily schedule of more than
10 hours, while only four establishments, employing 3.1 per cent of
the women, had a day of 8 hours or less. The wage standards of
the community also were low, since the median of the week's earnings of the white women included was $8.60, and the median for the
negro women, $5.75. I n a considerable proportion of the establishments visited sanitation was inadequate, and the service facilities
were far below the standards advocated by the Women's Bureau.
Common towels or no washing facilities, common cups or a complete
lack of cups, and markedly inadequate toilet facilities were the conditions reported for quite a number of the plants inspected.
The Delaware survey, which took place in the summer of 1924,
covered 4,176 women'employed in 146 e s t a b l i s h m e n t s — f a c t o r i e s ,
stores, laundries, canneries, hotels, and restaurants.
Since the State law permits a 10-hour day and a 55-hour week tor
women employed in factories, stores, and laundries, i t is not surprising to find that only 15.3 per cent of the women included were scheduled for an 8-hour day or leSs, and that only 21.5 per cent had a
weekly schedule of 48 hours or less. The majority of the
(58 per cent) had a day of more than 9 hours; 9.5 per cent had a 55hour week. Canneries, which did not come under the State law.
had longer and more irregular hours than did th<i other establishments included. Of the 34 canneries inspected, only 3 had a defimte
schedule. Of the white and negro women in the canneries for whom
data on hours worked during the week were secured, one-fifth had
worked at least 60 hours. I n the canning industry the possibility



of a short week for many workers, clue to irregularity of crops and
harvest, also is a serious situation to be reckoned with. I n fact,
many women workers in the canneries included in the survey failed
to secure a f u l l week's work. Effort was made by the bureau's'agents
to obtain information for a representative week. Almost one-half
of the women had worked less than 40 hours, and one-fifth less than
30 hours i n the week reported upon. Because of the irregularity in
restaurant hours, the schedule for each day in the week studied was
secured for each of the 84 women in the 15 hotels and restaurants
included. The scheduled hours of duty on 51 per cent of the workdays were 8 or less.
Data on earnings of the women workers in Delaware factories,
stores, and laundries, all of whom were white women, revealed the
median of $11.05 for the week reported upon. The earnings for
women i n canneries were low, with a median of $9.40 for white
women and $5.65 for negro women. The median of the week's earnings of 64 white women in the hotels and restaurants was $10.15, and
the median for 21 negro women was $10.75.
The investigation or conditions under which women were working
in factories, stores, and laundries disclosed only a limited number of
places that were flagrantly bad, yet there was evidence that many
employers did not fully appreciate - the significance of good conditions of employment and of the State laws applying to the employers of women. Conditions in canneries varied greatly with size, resources, and progressiveness of the organization and management.
I n many plants arrangements, methods, and sanitation were all that
the most fastidious could desire, but in others confusion and messiness prevailed.
The survey of hours, wages, and working conditions of women in
Tennessee industries was made in the spring of 1925 and included
216 factories, .stores, and laundries, employing 16,596 women. The
State law permits long industrial hours for women—a lO^/^-hour day
and a 57-hour week. The scheduled hours of the firms visited also
were long, on the whole, since 45.6 per cent of the women included had a daily schedule of 10 hours or longer and 49.5 per cent
of the women had a weekly schedule of 55 hours or more. The
median of week's earnings of the white women was $11.10 and th(3
median of the earnings of the negro women was considerably lower,
$6.95. Although i n some plants the working conditions were entirely
satisfactory, i n others they fell far below standard. Especially was
this true in regard to drinking, washing, and toilet facilities for
women workers, since 48 of the establishments visited had provided
only common cups and 51 other plants had neither cups of any sort
nor bubble fountains in thfe way of drinking facilities; 11 establishments had no washing facilities,' 63 had common towels, and 109 no
towels; moreover, i n two-fifths of the toilet rooms the equipment was
During the past year the Women's Bureau has conducted a number
of studies of problems particularly related to wa^e-earning women.
Three important studies which were carried over from the preceding



year and the reports of which are still i n the process of preparation
are as follows:
Minimum wage laws—a research study of the history, operation,
and administration of the various minimum wage laws of the
United States.
Industrial accidents among women—a study of compensable work
accidents to women wage earners in New Jersey, Ohio, and
Trend of employment—an analysis of the employment statistics
for men and women, collected by the State of Ohio during a
period of 11 years, 1914r-1924, inclusive, but not published by
that State since 1915.
Night work for women.
A study of night work for women, which was practically comDleted during the past year, w i l l be revised to some extent and pubifched by the bureau during the coming year in connection with other
reports on the effects of special legislation for women workers. This
report is based largely on research of laws and publications already
in existence on the subject and consists of the history of night-work
legislation in foreign countries as well as in this country, an analysis
01 such legislation in this country, and a general discussion of the
pliysiological and psychological effects of night work upon women
and of the economic and social consequences of such form of employment. The study also includes the compilation and welding together of material on the subject which has already been collected by
the bureau during its State investigations.
Changing jobs.
A considerable amount of research on the rate of labor turnover
has been conducted by various groups interested in the subject. Employers have come to regard its reduction as one of the major opportunities for eliminating waste and reducing costs. Less is known
regarding the significance of the reported change of jobs by the individual worker. I t is not possible to say of any one industry, without careful study, to what extent the terminations of employment
are voluntary and to what extent they are forced upon the worker.
Two factors sometimes operate to make a change of job a positive
advantage to the worker. The first is psychological. The standardized job and the routine of the job Inay make a change of employment the only means of relieving the monotony which has become unendurable. The second is the economic incentive of a higher
wage paid in another plant, industry, or locality because of a temporaiy shortage of labor. I t may be well assumed that a better
understanding of the whole social and economic field of the nevt
rate of change and the shorter average employment is needed at the
present time. "Wo-men, together with men, change jobs for reasons
v.-hich have not been analyzed and with results which have not been
On this account it occurred to the gi'oup of students at the Bryn
Mawr bummer School for Women in Industry in the summer of
192o to make use of a unique opportunity to study this question as
It was presented in the combined industrial experiences of the assembled students. Accordingly, the cooperation of the 97 students who




composed the school was enlisted, and they were interviewed concerning the circumstances of all the changes of jobs which they had
ever made. The Women's Bureau revised and edited the report on
this subject, which is now in press. Tlie facts revealed in the
report give some indication of the prevalence of the short jobs which
are filled by many women workers.; Of tlie 97 women, 28 reported
jobs with average duration of less than one year, and 29 women
reported an average duration of one but under two years. The
largest group of women i n any one industry were the 32 in the
garment industry, the 16 in the textile industry constituting the
nest largest group. The garment workers were conspicuous as a
group of short-job workers; only one of the 32 women included in
this industry showed an average duration of as much as three years
and 13 had an average of less than a year. I t must be remembered,
however, that the garment industry'^is rather seasonal in nature.
The garment workers formed a contrast w^ith the textile workers, of
whom one-half had an average duration of three years or more. Of
the total 599 reasons given by these 97 workers for leaving jobs, the
largest number of changes due to any one cause was 146 due to
wages and hours. Discharge and " l a y o f f " requiring involuntary
changes accounted for a quarter of the reasons for leaving jobs. Dislike of the job or of the management was responsible for 12 per
cent of the changes. One important conclusion to be drawn from
the report is that i f frequent changes of employment are inevitable
under modern industry, then different methods of employment
management and industrial relations and tactics different from
those now i n vogue w i l l have to be worked out.
lost time and labor tnmover.
The completion of a-'repoi-t on lost time and labor turnover during the year 1922 in 18 cotton mills—9 in the K'orth and 9 in the
South—has made available considerable data of interest to the industrial world. I n all, records on lost time and labor turnover were
secured for 4,338 women and 6,203 men.? From the mill records i t
has been possible to ascertain the-number and duration of each in-dividual absence, the relation of lost time to possible working time,
the amount of time lost by men and by women in the various mills
and in different departments, and the number of separations taking
place, according to the season of the year and according to occupation. Home visits were made to 2,354 women, who were interviewed
by the bureau's agents in regard to the causes both of lost time and
oi change in job, and in regard to other matters of personal and
family history. Information was secured on causes of lost time
from 2,214 women and on reasons for leaving former jobs from1,066 women.
I n all the mills visited men and women together lost 18.6 per cent
of their possible working time, women losing 21.9 per cent and'
men 16.2 per cent. I n northern mills the men and women lost 13.2
per cent of their time as against 23.3 per cent of time lost by men
and women in southern mills. I n mills with scheduled weekly
hours of less than 55, men and women combined lost 13.4 per cent
of their time, women lost 16.3 per cent, and men 10.7 per cent; in^
mills with scheduled weekly hours of'55 or'more, men and women




combined lost 22.3 per cent, women lost 27 per cent, and men 19.5
per cent.
Of the reasons given by 2,214 women for lost time, more than
three-fourths were personal, the principal causes being illness of
self, illness of others, home duties, rest, recreation, and another job;
about one-fifth were mill causes such as shutdowns, no work, slack
work, and accident in the mill. The most important personal cause
was the illness of the women, wliich was responsible for almost one'
fourth of all lost time, the average number of days lost by women
workers on this account being 10.2, The proportion of women interviewed who had lost time from illness .was 61.3 per cent. The
average number of days lost on this account by the women who
were i l l was 16.6.
The turnover figures used in this study represent the number of
separations which occurred during a year's period divided by the
average number of full-time workers. According to this method the
turnover rate for men and women combined in all mills was 142.3
per cent, the rate for women was 142.5 per cent, and the rate for men,
142.1 per cent* The turnover rate in northern mills for men and
women combined was 94.9 per cent as against the rate of 189.5 per
cent for women and men in southern mills. The turnover rate
varied widely in the 10 mills, ranging from 41 per cent in one mill
to 377.3 per cent in another, with a majority of the mills reporting
between 125 and 300 per cent.
Of the causes given by 944 women for leaving jobs i n cotton mills,
91 per cent were voluntary. Personal reasons were responsible for
70.7 per cent of all separations of women' from mills, .home duties
and illness being the principal causes*
The status of women in the Government service in 1925.
The investigation of the status of women in the Government service m 1925 is a follow up of the report on this subject issued by the
omens Bureau in 1919. I n the interval between 1919 and 1925
there has been a reclassification of positions in the Government service and therefore i t is significant to ascertain the progress made by
women. ^ I t is the purpose of this report, which is now in press, to
show the positions held by women in the departmental service and
the salary range in such positions. W i t h the resources available it
was not possible to include in the studv all women emploved in ths
trovernment service. I t was the aim of the bureau, however, to
emphasize the opportunities for women in Government work. Consequently the confines of the review were placed where those who had
attamed positions of responsibility or positions requiring special
education and training would be included. Since the classification
act ot 1J23faxedthe minimum salary for positions calling for professional, scientific, or technical training equivalent to that represented
by graduation from a university of recognized standing, at $1,860
per annum, and since all persons in administrative positions receive
more than this sum, i t was decided to review onlv records of women
and over. Positions'paying salaries below !M,800 were touched upon i n this report only i n connection with
beginning salaries.
"-ecords of women employed in
the district of Columbia and receiving salaries of $1,860 and over



per annum on or prior to A p r i l , 1925, a^ well as the records of a l l
men employed i n similar positions in the following executive establishments :
Department of Agriculture.
Department of Commerce.
Department of the Interior (exclusive of Howard University, and
St. Elizabeths and Freedmen's Hospitals).
Department of Labor.
Post Office Department.
Department o f State.
Treasury Department (only one-half of personnel records were
included, such half being taken i n strictly alphabetical order):
Bureau of Efficiency.
Civil Service Commission.
Employees' Compensation Commission.
Federal Board for Vocational Education.
Federal Trade Commission.
Tariff Commission.
Veterans' Bureau.
The Government establishments employing large numbers that
were not included i n the survey, because time would not permit,
were the War and Navy Departments, the Department of Justice,
the General Accounting Office, the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the Smithsonian Institution.
The executive establishments included employed 15,777 women and
15,960 men. Time did not permit going through all the records of
the Treasury Department. The cards were taken alphabetically, so
that the half from which records of persons receiving $1,860 and over,
were taken may be considered representative of the 11,311 employees i n that department.
Almost one-half of the employees i n "the departmental service i n
the seven independent establishments and six departments whose
records were reviewed i n their entirety were women.^ A little more
than one-third of all employees i n these services received salaries of
$1,860 and over; 79 per cent receiving such salaries were men and.
only 21 per cent were women. Of the 2,198 women receiving such
^laries i n these Government establishments, almost two-thirds were
in clerical, typing, and stenographic positions, 8 per cent were engaged.
in accounting and auditing, and the remaining one-fourth were
scheduled in administrative, professional, scientific, and special positions, in no one branch of which was there so large a proportion
of the women as 5 per cent. About, one-sixth of tho women as
against approximately one-half of the men reported upon received
$1,860 or more a year. Of the women included, only 35 received
$3,600 or more, and only 10 had a salary as high as $5,200, 8 of these
^ i n g in administrative work, 1 i n cooperative extension work, and
1 in fact-collecting service. Although approximately 900 men were
paid salaries of $3,800 and over^ only 34 women were paid such
salaries. The highest salary received by a woman among those included i n this report was $6,500, the woman being the CiviLService.
,. ,
I n all the positions paying $1,860 and over i n .which^ women tand
men were employed, 45 per cent of the women employees received
iust $1,860 a year as compared with approximately 16 per cent of



•' •


the men in like positions. Only 15 per cent of the women as against
61'j)er cent of the men in similar positions were ijaid $2,400 or more
per year. Of all the women and men i n like positions who received
$1,860 and over, 21 per cent of the women and 39 per cent of the
men received increases of 5 per cent or more i n their salary rates
as a result of the reclassification of positions i n the departmental
roreign-born women in industry.
The field work i n connection with the investigation of foreignborn women in industry was begun in December, 1924, and was completed in October,. 1925. The investigation was conducted with the
idea of securing authentic information concerning foreign-born
women workers in order to permit a better understanding of their
problems and to make for the establishment of a more satisfactory
policy for their education and adjustment in American industr\\
The data were collected by interviews with the women workers
in their homes; in all, 2,146 women living in Philadelphia and
vicinity and the Lehigh Valley were visited. The topics discussed
in the interviews covered personal data on age, residence in the
United States, marital status, education, size of the family, number
of wage earners in the family, as well as the industrial experience
of the women in their native country and i n the United States. For
example, information was secured as to the number of jobs held, the
kind of work, and the present wage, emphasis being laid on the
women's efforts to secure work, their lack of employment, and their
difficulties in industrial adjustment. Also data concerning the workers' economic responsibilities and their social opportunities were
Southern Pennsylvania was selected as a proper section for this
study because it contains a large city with conditions r e p r e s e n t a t i v e
of the country as a whole in' respect to the proportion of native
and foreign born, and because i t includes an important area devoted
to special industries, with a fairly concentrated foreign group.
I n thePhiladelpliia district the Polish constituted the largest single
racial group included. Following, but very much smaller, was the
Slavic group of Russian, Slovak, and Ukranian; other races of
importance were the Jewish the Italian, the German (including the
^rge group from Hungary), and the Magyar. There were a few
French, Flemish, and Armenian. Of the 1,120 women who were
scheduled here, the largest group, approximately one-third, was employed in the textile industry. The next most important group was
that found in the clothing industry. About one-twentieth of the
women were employed in the cigar and tobacco industry, and a
siimlar proportion were engaged in the preparation of food products
and in meat-packing, candy, and bakery establishments. A little
more than a tenth of the women interviewed were in domestic and
personal service. Quite characteristic of the Philadelphia district
working in their own homes upon factory products.
foreign-bora women visited i n their homes in the
Lehigh Valley, only 5 were of English-speaking races. The large^
group was the German, and the next largest the Magyar. Almost
two-thirds of the women interviewed i n this district were working
in cigar factories.


Although few women are employed i n the towns around Philadelphia compared to the Lehigh Valley district, these are important
by way of contrast. I n Norristown, for example^ the Italian is the
only foreign race found in large numbers, but across the river are
important settlements of Poles and Slovaks. Of 164 women visited
in these smaller to^vns, 82 were employed in the manufacture of yam.
As the statistical work of the survey has not yet been completed^
more figures can not be given at this time, but a great many interesting facts will be revealed on the subject of foreign-born women in industry wlien the statistical tables have been analyzed and the report
Women workers in Flint, Mich.
The study of the women i n industry in Flint, Mich., was made by
the bureau 'during the past year at the request of local agencies.
This survey of work opportunities and of the potential woman
labor supply in a representative one-industry city will, however,
be of general interest to the industrial world as a whole. The purpose
of the investigation was to secure information concerning the economic status of wage-earning, women, their training and experience,
the occupations and industries i n which they were employed, their
hours, wages, general working conditions, seasonal employment, and
underemployment. The data were secured in two ways: First, by
visiting industrial establishments and securing records therefrom;
-and, second, by visiting women in their homes in a house-to-house
canvass in a representative working-class neighborhood. One hundred and thirty-eight establishments, including factories, stores, laundries, hotels, and restaurants, with a total of 2,805 women employees,,
were visited. Hour and wage data werje copied from the pay rolls,,
and information on working conditions was scheduled by the bureau's
agents in their inspection of the plants. Visits were made to 3,G48
homes, i n which were found 4,844 adult women, about one-fifth of
whom had worked during the year. During the interviews with the
women the work history, data on personal matters, and information
as to the economic status of the employed women were obtained.
Wage study.
The compilation of the material already collected by the bureau on
earnings of women workers in 13 States was started during the past
year with the purpose of bringing to^kher and publishing these
wage data in one bulletin and of comparpg, wherever feasible, available figures on wages i n large woman-employing industries in the various localities.
Investigation of the effects of special legislation on the employment of
women in industry.
A t the Women's Industrial Conference which was held under the
auspices of the Women's Bureau in January, 1926, a resolution was
passed asking the bureau to make " a comprehensive investigation of
all the special laws regulating the employment of women to determine their effects." This resolution also requested that an advisory
committee be formed with which the Director of the Women's Bureau would take counsel regarding the scope of the investigation, and
that the membership of.this committee have equal representation
from each side of the controversy over special legislation for women.


I n response to this request and in view of the fact that existing
material on the subject has not hitherto been brought together as a
unit, the Women's Bureau has undertaken the investigation and
attempted to carry out the terms of the resolution.
Shortly after the conference was over an advisory committee was
formed. The members appointed to the committee as advocates of
special legislation for women were: Mrs. Sara Conboy, representing
the American Federation of Labor; ]VIiss Mabel Leslie, representing
the National Women's Trade-Union League; and Mrs. Maud Wood
Park, representing the Wolnen's Committee Opposing the So-Called
"Equal n i g h t s " Amendment, which committee consists of representatives of 11 national women's organizations. The three members appointed to the committee as opponents of special legislation
for women were Miss Alice Paul, Miss Doris Stevens, and Miss
Maud Younger, representing the National Woman's Party.
. For technical advice in planning and conducting the investigation,
the Women's Bureau secured the assistance of a committee of industrial experts. This technical committee consists of Miss Mary
y a n Kleeck, director of the division of industrial studies, Russell
Sage Foundation; Mrs, Frank B. Gilbreth, industrial engineer; Dr.
Charles P. Neill, former Commissioner of Labor of the United
^.The advisory committee met four times between January 21 and
March 31, I n the course of these sessions, members of the committee
submitted their recommendations. After considering these recommendations and consulting with the technical committee as to
methods of obtaining the desired information, the Women's Bureau
submitted its plan of investigation at a joint meeting of the advisory
and technical committees on March 31.
Object of investigation,—Th^ object of the investigation is to
discover in what way legislation applying to women only has affected
dieir employment in industry and how extensive any effect has been,
buch laws r e l a t i n g the employment of women i n industry have
been enacted in every State in the Union except Florida. I n each
btate these laws differ in extent, in application, and in requirements.
Met^da o f ^murevient.—Po^sMQ
methods of measurement of
the ellects of these laws, therefore, must be carefully analyzed. The
method adopted for the present investigation is to study conditions
of women s employment W o r e and after the laws went into effect
and to compare present conditions in States which are regulated
t:^ 1


h i fi.!

^^vvxi^^tcu unu puuiisnea oy me otiiLca
(^vernment, and (2) from original investigations
BnveRu m selected States, industries, and occupa-

ZT. Z.
S .nmrfn^S'^

^^ se<mTed.-Th^ plan is to secure information
for each industry or occupation studied, one
legislation for women in industry and the
legislation. I n order to insure
^^^ the'same industry in two States
^he conditions m
eacli efetabbshment to show other factors' which may have influenced





womto's employment, such as methods of manufacturing, employment policies, labor supply, vocational training, organization, and
public opinion. When the proper allowance has been made for
such factors, i t w i l l be possible to define more clearly the changes
brought about by the legal r^ulations applying to women in that
industry^ in one State and not in the other.
Sehction of indvstries^ ocowpaUom^ and States.—^The selection of
the States, industries, and occupations to be studied has been made
on the following basis: (1) Industries have been selected which are
typical of different conditions of women's employment in regard to
numbers of women employed, proportion of women employed, extent of organization, amount of skill required, etc. (2) Industries
and occupations i n which the employment of women has conspicuously decreased have been selected for special study in order to
discover whether .legal regulations for women's employment have any
bearing on the decrease i n their employment. (3) Occupations
which are prohibited for women in certain States have been selected
for study i n other States where such prohibition does not exist, in
order to discover how extensively the prohibition has affected the
actual employment of women. (4) States have been selected in different parts of the country which represent similar industrial
conditions for "one or more of the industries studied but which, differ
in legal regulation of women's employment.
Present and fast conditions to he studied,-^\\.^ greater part of
the material collected w i l l show present conditions. Wherever possible, however, records w i l l be secured to show conditions and scope
of women's employment immediately preceding and following the
^enactment of legislation affecting women. This material, which will
necessarily be limited in amount because of the inadequacy of the
records i n most establishments, w i l l be supplemented by general
industrial statistics for the industries, occupations, and States studied;
giving any available information for the years in question.
'Laws to he in/iluded,—^Wherever possible the effects of all laws will
be studied, but attention w i l l be focused on laws regulating hours—
daily, weekly, and at night—and on laws prohibiting women's employment i n certain occupations. I n order to give an accurate background for the discussion of effects, a sunmiary of the laws has
Been made, giving their extent, application, dates of enactment and
amendment, a historical sketch of the efforts made to establish or
oppose them, and an outline of the arguments advanced in their favor
and against them.
Other suhjeets to he inchided,—^As the effects of legislation must
be considered i n conjunction with other factors which influence
women's employment, the investigation w i l l include studies showing
to what extent vocational training has fitted women to enter industry
on an equal basis w i t h men; to what extent actual industrial conditions already equal, or are in advance of, the standards set up by
legislation affecting women; to what extent trade-unions have indorsed the movement for special legislation for men or women, and
to what extent State laws or other regulations giving legal equality
to men and women have resulted in an improvement of the occupational status of women i n industry.


Method,—The method which is being used for the study consists
of an investigation by the bureau's agents of the records of industrial establishments; compilation and interpretation of existing statistical material showing the development of the employment of
women i n industry i n the United States and, specifically, in the
States where detailed investigation is made; interviews with women
workers, employers, and representatives of interested organizations;
and examination of public and private records which are pertinent
to the investigation.
The details of this outline include the laws, industries, and States
suggested i n their recommendations by both groups on the advisory
committee, but the scope of the investigation as finally planned by
the bureau is somewhat more inclusive than the outline suggested
by the group in favor of special legislation and is very much more
inclusive than that suggested by those opposing special legislation.
The investigation is now well under way and a considerable amount
of material has already been collected. The advisory committee has
been dissolved, following the withdrawal f r o m i t of 'the three members who were in favor of special legislation for women, representing
the American Federation of Labor, the National Women's Trade
Union League, and the Women's Committee Opposing the So-Called
Equal Rights" Amendment. - The reason given for this action was
that they felt they could no longer serve to good purpose with the
other members of "^the committee. I n spite of their withdrawals full
cooperation has been offered the Women's Bureau i n conducting this
study by the individuals withdrawing and by the organizations they
Unfortunately, similar cooperation has been refused by the organization which was represented by the other three members of the
committee who were opposed to special legislation for women. The
bureau's agents, however, in conducting the field investigations, are
making every effort to get i n touch with individuals and groups who
are opposed to such legislation, so that the facts of their experience
may be recorded and examined.
Research activities have constituted an important part of the pro*
gram during the past year. A considerable amount of library research work has been necessary i n connection w i t h the surveys made
and with the reports written. For example, i n conjunction with the
study of the effects of special labor laws for women, a history of such
legislation i n regard to the extent, application, and dates of enactment and amendment of these laws has been prepared.
A number of the. studies have been based almost entirely on information secured by research of laws, publications, and record^, th&
chief ones of this type handled during the year being as follows:
Minimum wage laws.
X i g h t work for women.
The status of women in the Government service in 1925.
The research division also has served as a bureau of infonnatioUr
furnishing considerable data on the subject of wage-earning women
to numerous organizations and individuals throxighout the country.




The News-Letter, which was started in 1921 at the request of the
Association of Governmental Labor Officials and which serves as a
clearing house of information regarciing the activities affecting working women in this country and others, was published during the first
half of the year but had to be discontinued temporarily on account
of the pressure of other duties in connection with the study on special
legislation for women.
A considerable number of special articles and news releases on the
work of the bureau and the problems of women workers have, as
usual, been prepared from time to time. These articles, written
chiefly upon request and appearing in encyclopedias, periodicals, and
other publications, have comprised such subjects as the activities of
the Women's Bureau, women in gainful employment, conditions of
emplojTTient for women, women's wages, women's hours of work, the
occupations and conditions of woman labor, married women in industry, the need of labor laws for women, human waste in industry,
and making industry safe for women. Popular news releases on the
Women's Industrial Conference, on the bulletins published by the
Women's Bureau, and on the exhibit work of the bureau have been
sent out at fairly frequent intervals during the 3''ear. More educational work of this type should and could be done i f the bureau
were not so limited in funds and personnel. Considerable information has been furnished to journalists and special feature writers to
be used i n articles for various publications.
A n important and ver^r essential piece of work inaugurated by
the editorial division during the year was the indexing of the
bureau's publications. The pressure of other duties interrupted this
task and prevented its completion, but as soon as opportunity permits the work w i l l be resumed.
The handling of popular exhibits has involved even more activity
than usual. A number of new exhibits have been planned and prepared for use throughout the country. For example, a special
exhibit illustrating the effect of conditions of employment for women
on standards of living and national welfare has been made. This
exhibit consists of two parts—each showing a factory and home interior w i t h a community as a backgi'ound—which form a striking
contrast. I n the first part are depicted poor industrial conditions
and poor living conditions in a home and community, whereas the
second part illustrates good standards for women workers in a factory and satisfactory standards in the home and community life.
The relation between community standards and national standards
is also shown in a pictorial way.
A new panel exhibit composed of six hand-painted sketches, each
17 by 27 inches, mounted and framed, has been prepared. This
depicts i n graphic fashion industrial standards of hours, wages,
seating, lighting, sanitation, and service facilities for women, and
contrasts good and bad working conditions. One set of these panels
has been mounted very effectively i n an automatic book.
The new material and other exhibits already in use for some time,
such as models, charts, posters, maps, and motion pictures, have


been extensively circulated, sent out at the request of schools, colleges, universities, churches, women's clubs, and industrial and labor
organizations in all parts of the 'United States. I n a few instances
requests for the use of this material have come from foreign countries.
A special and concise list and description of all available exhibit
material, mimeographed copies of which were sent out to interested
organizations, proved an excellent method of advertising these popular educational features.
Preparation of special exhibits for the National Sesquicentennial
Exposition at Philadelphia has necessitated considerable work and
effort, an appropriation having been granted the bureau for this purpose. The motion picture," The Woman Worker, Past and Present,"
was cut and reduced for use in an automatic motion-picture projector
to form a part of the Sesquicentennial Exposition exhibits. Two
special scenarios designed for use in automatic stereopticon machines
were prepared. The first one entitled " Women AAlio Toil and Spin
Through the Ages " is a historical scenario showing the progress of
women in industry and industrial changes affecting women. I t has
a popular appeal and contrasts the ways in which Miss 1776 was
supplied with the needs of life by the industrial methods in vogue
i n colonial days with modem industrial methods of the present era
which furnish Miss 1926 with the essentials and comforts of life^
there are occasional references to other periods. The second scenario
entitled " The Home Maker as Wage Earner " deals w i t h the problemsof women wage earners of to-day. I n allegorical form i t depicts theadventures of Any Girl compelled by family misfortunes to travel the
path of the wage earners. Her difficulties "first as a young worker in
the forest of prejudices, next as a married woman and then as a widow
with an industrial job added to home cares, and finally as a' worn
out old woman driven to the poorhouse by the lightning bolts of
wrong industrial conditions, are contrasted V i t h the easier and happier life of the woman who works in a plant w i t h good industrial
standards. Although these slide films were planned^ primarily for
use at the Sesquicentennial Exposition, they can be circulated by the*
bureau for general exhibit purposes during the coming year.
The exhibits as finally prepared for the Sesquicentennial Exposition consist of four units. The first, which is historical, depicts by
means of paintings and an automatic stereopticon machine the
progress of women in industry and changes in industry affecting
women. The screen on which the storv is told is set in the back of
a o-toot book, which is flanked bv two other large books revealing
paintings of women spinning and weaving in 1776, 1826, and 1926.
The second unit deals with the problems of women wage earners of
to-day and consists of paneled paintings of the different types of
the interior of a factory emploving women workers under model
conditions constitutes the third u n i t / The fourth consists of actual
tactoiy equipment, such as model seats, first-aid cabinets, and sanitarj drinkmg, washing, and toilet facihties, lent to the bureau by
various manufacturers, which should be of particuTai- interest ta
A popular folder has been prepared for distribution at the Sesquicentennial Exposition and also for general use. This gives in^





concise outline form important facts about the Women's Bureau,
lists of Its publications and exhibits, and striking statistics about
women workers.
During the year the following bulletins have been published:
No. 47. W o m e n i n the F r u i t - g r o w i n g and Canning I n d u s t r i e s i n the State
of W a s h i n g t o n ,
No. 48. W o m e n i n Oklahoma Industries.
No. 49. W o m e n W o r k e r s a n d F a m i l y Support.
No. 50. Effects of Applied. Research upon t h e Employment OpportuniUes of
A m e r i c a n Women,
No. 51. W o m e n i n I l l i n o i s Industries.

The following bulletins are in press:


L o s t T i m e a n d L a b o r T u r n o v e r i n Cotton M i l l s .
T h e Status of W o m e n i n t h e Government Service I n 1925. -1
Changing Jobs.
W o m e n i n Mississippi I n d u ^ r i e s .

The following bulletins are almost completed and will be sent
to press during the coming year:
Women i n Tennessee I n d u s t r i e s .
Women i n D e l a w a r e I n d u s t r i e s .
M i n i m u m Wage L a w s .
I n d u s t r i a l Accidents A m o n g W o m e n . .
T r e n d of E m p l o y m e n t A m o n g Women.
N i g h t W o r k f o r Women.
Women W o r k e r s a n d I n d u s t r i a l Poisons.

Reports on the following subjects which are now in the process
of preparation also will be completed:
Foreign-born W o m e n i n I n d u s t r y .
Women i n I n d u s t r y In F l i n t , Mich.
Wages of W o m e n i n 13 States.

The Women's Bureau has a stupendous task in view not only of
the large numbers of women in gainful employment—^more than
eight and a half million—^but because of the many elements which
compose this wage-earning group, the great nulnber of occupations
in which they are engaged, the many variations in labor legislation
for w'omen in the different States, and the complexity and variety
of problems related to women workersl
Each year the work of the bureau becomes better known, its effects
more far-reaching, and the demands upon it more numerous. The
bureau because of its limited appropriation is greatly handicapped.
However, every effort is made to meet the many requests which
come to it and to perform the activities pressing for attention, but
despite the economy practiced in the attempt to make the fxmds produce the best results and despite the efficiency displayed by the
members of the staff who aim to render service of utmost value, the
bureau is able to achieve only a small part of the program with
which it is faced each year.
Since "America will be as strong as' her wolnen," the need to
safeguard the interests of wage-earning wdmeii is apparent. Women


are the mothers actually or potentially of the race. They are the
homeraakers and caretakers of the family. I f industrial forces are
permitted to prey too heavily upon the energies and strength of
women, the forces of the Nation w i l l be definitely weakened.
Married women in industry.
I n the United States at the present time there exists in many
<iuarters a strong feeling against the married wo'man worker, a
prejudice due largely to a lack of understanding of the problems
surrounding this type of wage earner, to the belief that marriedwomen workers take jobs from single women or from men, and also
to the fear that the employment of married women w i l l tend to
break up the hotoe. Consequently there is pressing need to present
to the public authentic information on this subject and facts entirely
divorced from prejudices.
Census figures show that there were almost 2,000,000 married
women in gainful occupations in 1920, exclusive of the widowed,
^vorced, or deserted; and that there was a 53.7 per cent increase
in the number of married women in manufacturing and mechanical
industries, trade, and transportation during the decade from 1910
to 1920. While the census figures give ttie number of married
women with husbands living at home, these figures fail to show the
number of widowed or divorced mothers at work or the number
of children affected by the employment of mothers. I n a study of
census schedules made by the Women's Bureau for four cities—selected because they were representative of different sections and
conditions in the country and fairly typical of industrial and rural
communities in general—facts were brought to light, showing that
there were employed in these four cities approximately 40,000 female workers 14 years of age or over, or more than 38 per cent of the
total female population. More than 21,000 of the women included
were or had been married, and over 61 per cent of these were living
with wage-earning husbands. Over one-half of the 21,000 who were
or had been married were mothers, two-fifths of whom had children
under the age of 5 years. Almost two-fifths of the mothers were
enmloyed outside the home.
Census figures show that over three-fourths of the married women
were in manufacturing and mechanical industries, domestic and
prsonal service, and agriculture—types of work in which women
have almost no opportunity for a career. I t would appear, therefore, that economic necessitv and not the desire to earn "pin money
or to escape household drudgery is responsible for their gainful
employment. Census figures serve only as a bare index of the situation, and there is need of many details to give the f u l l picture ot
the employment of married women. The considerable informaUon about the married women workers gathered by the W o m e n s
Bureau m its other investigations reveals that these women are at
work to supplement the family income and to keep up a home, and
that they perform their household tasks in addition to their remunerative jobs.
There is need for much additional information on married women
workers since there has been such an increase in the number of gamtuliy occupied married women and problems c o n c e r m n g
their employment are arising. I n fact, the whole subject of m a r r i e d





women workers is extremely complex, linked so closely as i t is with
the welfare of the home and the family and related so definitely in the
long run to the health of the race and the progress of the Nation.
I n order that injustices may not be worked in any direction, i t is
imperative to make a. comprehensive study of this subject. There
is need for definite data gathered at first hand giving current information about married women workers. Such a study would require considerable field work, and i t Avould perforce be e?ctensive i n
scope but would prove of infinite value to the country by presenting
truths of much vital importance.
The piecework system.
The Women's Bureau has made a number of state-wide surveys of
general conditions of employment for women. I n such investigations, however, i t has not been possible to make scientific and detailed studies of special problems connected with working conditions.
One matter that should be carefully considered at the present time
is ihe piecework system, by which wages are based on output rather
than time at work. The question is so closely related to matters of
health and efficiency and is of such paramount importance both to
the worker and to the employer that a careful and scientific analysis
of the advantages and disadvantages of the system and a comparison
of this method of work with that of time-work should be a valuable
contribution to the industrial world.
Posture at work.
I n recent years much emphasis has been laid on the question of
posture at work, and effort nas been made in some quarters to produce better seating arrangements for workers. A careful study of
posture in connection w i t h the job is needed and would be extremely
lelpful both to managers who are seeking to eliminate all obstacles
to efficiency and to workers who require every possible means of
preventing undue and unnecessary fatigue, since extreme fatigue acts
as a poison to the system, undermining the health of workers and
rendering them more susceptible to accident and disease.
Industrial poisons.
Another subject requiring much careful and scientific investigation at the present time is that of industrial poisons as related to
women workers. A great many new and more or less unfamiliar
industrial poisons have come into use since the war. This brings
about a serious situation which demands immediate attention to prevent human beings who handle such poisons in trade processes from
being experimented upon. That women are more susceptible to
certain poisons than are men is generally admitted. Moreover, when
pregnant women are exposed to such conditions there is the danger
not only that the mothers w i l l be poisoned but also that the offspring
will suffer bad results. That the Women's Bureau is the national
organization which should make investigations of this sort seems
logical, but i n order to make such a study i t would need an increase
in appropriation and also the addition to its force of experts trained
to handle most efficiently this type of scientific investigation:
Other causes of fatigue.
Other causes of fatigue to women, such as dust, lint, excessive
humidity, poor lighting, long hours of work, and the l i f t i n g of heavy


weights, also require careful and detailed investigation, especially
-as the opportunity of employment and occupational progress of
women are so interwoven with such matters.
Occupational opportimities of women.
There should be undertaken extensive studies covering the opportunities of women for occupational advancement in comparison with
the opportimities for advancement offered to men in industry. The
whole subject of vocational training for women would constitute an
interesting and necessary part of such investigation.
Lost time and labor turnover.
I t has been possible for the bureau with its limited force and funds
to undertake only one technical study of lost time and labor turnover, and this was in selected cotton mills. Now, since there has been
such ^n increase in the number of married women and since a number of important problems connected with wage-earning women require fecial attention, it seems that similar studies on cause and extent of lost time and labor turnover in other industries should be
made, and comparable material for men and women collected.
Wage stndy.
The bureau receives constant requests for current information
about women's wages and realizes its need to establish a service for
the collection of wage data of women workers in a variety of industries and in various sections of the country for a uniform date from
year to year. Such comparable wage material would constitute a
valuable contribution, especially because of its continuity over a
period,of years.
Up to the present the bureau has been able to furnish data on women's earnings for only the States in which surveys have been conducted and for several industries in which special investigations have
been made. Since these State studies have been made in different
years, not more than two as a rule occurring in any one year, and
since the industries are not just the same in the various States, the
material does not lend itself readily for comparative purposes.
Ifeeded additions to staff.
The bureau has been handicapped in many ways by the small force
with which it has been compelled to operate, and'^in order to function
more satisfactorily needs several important additions to its staffThe personnel of the research division should be increased in order to
expand activities in the following ways:
Thorough investigation of sources in order to answer current
More comprehensive legal research of State laws in the field of
working conditions, of foreign laws affecting wage-earning
women, and of law-enforcing agencies.
Studies of documents, reports, and laws concerning industrial
hygiene, occupations and industries prohibited to women, fatigue, and posture; of court cases affecting labor legislation for
More detailed research investigations in connection with field reports and legal, industrial, and economic matters.



More systematic examination of current publications on subjects
of interest to the bureau.
Preparation of additional special bibliographies.
I n the editorial division tllere should be an increased force to
expedite the writing and editing of the reports as well as the preparation of reports for the press. I t is imperative that bulletins on
current matters be published as quickly as possible in order that they
be of greatest value to interested forces, and some of the delays in
connection with the preparation and publication of reports with
which the bureau is compelled to put up at the present time, because
of its limited personnel, should be eliminated.
Another type of activity in which there should be considerable expansion is the educational work, especially in the number of news
releases about the activities and interests of the bureau and of the
popular articles on all subjects pertaining to women workers. An
mcrease in the exhibit material also is necessary, since by such
popular educational methods a certain part of the public to whom
technical material makes little appeal can be reached. The addition
to the staff, therefore, of one or two specialists charged with the sole
function of handling the current publicity and the exhibits would
greatly facilitate the educational work of the bureau.
There are needed also several experts equipped by training and
experience to make certain types of technical investigations, especially in regard to health problems, which the bureau should make
from time to time if it is to fulfill its function in a manner conducive to the best results to individuals and to society at large.




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