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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
W. N.DOAK.Seaetwy
W O M E N ' S
B U R E A U
MARY ANDERSON. Director

FOURTEENTH

A N N U A L

REPORT

OF

T H E

DIRECTOR OF THE
WOMEN'S BUREAU




FISCAL

YEAR

E N D E D J U N E 30

1932

UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON: 1932




C O N T E N T S

Introduction
Permanent projects and t h e i r current studies^
Women's occupational status i n 1930
Completed studies:
Tlie employment of women I n vitreous enameling
Bookkeepers, stenographers, a n d office clerks i n Ohio, 1914 t o 1929
Women office w o r k e r s i n Philadelphia
Women office workers i n St. L o u i s
Women i n the cigar a n d cigarette industries
Women i n the sewing trades of Connecticut
Wages and hours i n N o r t h D a k o t a
Made-work relief f o r white-collar unemployed
Studies i n progress:
Women i n business and the professions
The employment of women i n offices
H o u r s and production
Women i n State labor a d m i n i s t r a t i o n
F l u c t u a t i o n i n employment of women i n cotton m i l l s i n 1031_„^
Women i n Texas industries
T h e 6-hour day i n a food-manufacturing p l a n t
Unemployed women i n D e t r o i t
Household employment i n Chicago
The occupational progress of women
W o r k of the research division
Certain indications as t o the employment fluctuations a n d unemployment o f women, 1928 t o 1932
Working-conditions handbooks
State requirements f o r i n d u s t r i a l l i g h t i n g
T h e i n s t a l l a t i o n a n d maintenance of toilet facilities i n places of
employment
I n d u s t r i a l i n j u r i e s t o women i n 1928 a n d 1929
Standards of placement agencies f o r household employees
Occupational diseases of women
Changes i n women's occupations
News L e t t e r
Special memoranda prepared a n d inquiries answered
Employed women i n a t i m e of economic change
Labor legislation f o r women
L a b o r l a w s f o r women i n the States and T e r r i t o r i e s
Chronological development of labor legislation f o r women i n the
U n i t e d States
L a b o r legislation i n 1931-^2
Division of public i n f o r m a t i o n
Exhibits
M o t i o n pictures
Conferences
Publications
Standards f o r the employment of women
Comment a n d recommendations
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FOURTEENTH ANNUAL

REPORT

OF THE

DIRECTOR OF THE WOMEN'S BUREAU
U N I T E D STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR,
WOMEN'S BUREAU,

Washington^ July 15^ 1932.
H o n . W . N . DOAK,

Secretary of Labor,
SIR : The fourteenth annual report of the Women's Bureau, for the
fiscal year ended June 30, 1932, is submitted herewith.
INTROBTOTION
The year 1931-32 has been the busiest i n the history of the Women's
Bureau, with an increasing need in every direction of activity under
the bureau's broad mandate " to investigate and report * * *
upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of women in industry."
The bureau's response to this need is limited only by the impossibility
of one field investigator being in two places at the same time and of
one pair of hands in the Washington office doing the work of two.
It'may be said in passing that the housing of the bureau i n its new
quarters at 1723 F Street, commodious, comfortable, and practically
adjoining the department's administrative building, is contributing
to the eflaciency and morale of the personnel.
The important findings of the study of changed conditions i n the
cigar and cigarette industries and of the inquiry into the effects on
women of the use of lead enamels i n the manufacture of stoves are
now in press. Also i n press or about ready for printing are several
bulletins i n the bureau's various series: The second on accidents to
women, on their occupational progress as indicated by census figures,
and on the chronology of legislation affecting women; a third revision
of existing labor laws for women; and three of the group of workingconditions handbooks.
Of special interest in connection with the disturbed conditions of
employment are the cigar and cigarette study, which shows women's
changed economic status due to the migration and mechanization of
these industries, and a survey of women in the sewing trades, of
Connecticut.
A recent summing up of the various activities of the Women's
Bureau is included here as a matter of record:
P E R M A N E N T BEOJECTS A K D T H E I R CURRENT STUDIES
No. I . F o r m u l a t i n g and recommending standards f o r the employment of w o m e n :
a. State requirements f o r i n d u s t r i a l lighting.
ft. T h e i n s t a l l a t i o n and maintenance of t o i l e t facilities i n places of employment
c. State requirements f o r fire protection.
d. Standards f o r the placement of household employees.
1




2

EEPOET OF T H E DIEEOTOR OF T H E W O M E X ' S

BUREAU

No. I I . I n v e s t i g a t i n g and r e p o r t i n g on hours, wages, and w o r k i n g conditions of
women i n specific i n d u s t r i e s :
а. W o m e n office workers i n seven cities.
h. Clerical w o r k e r s i n Ohio, 1914 t o 1929.
c. Household employment i n Philadelphia.
d. Household employment i n Chicago*
e. T h e 6-hour day i n a food-manufacturing plant.
No. I I I . I n v e s t i g a t i n g a n d r e p o r t i n g on hours, wages, and w o r k i n g conditions
of women i n specific States:
c. Women wage earners i n N o r t h Dakota.
б. W o m e n i n the sewing trades of Connecticut,
c. W o m e n i n Texas industries.
No. I V . S t u d y i n g h u m a n waste i n i n d u s t r y as i t affects w o m e n :
a. Women i n t h e cigar and cigarette industries.
Economic status of women i n the r a y o n i n d u s t r y .
c. E m p l o y m e n t fluctuations a n d unemployment of women, 1928 to 1932.
d. Policies and methods of l a y i n g off women.
e. W o m e n i n business a n d the professions.
f. H o u r s and production.
g. F l u c t u a t i o n of employment i n cotton m i l l s i n 1931.
7L Employment of women i n vitreous enameling.
t. I n d u s t r i a l i n j u r i e s t o women.
j. T h e reporting of occupational diseases of women.
No. V . I n v e s t i g a t i n g and r e p o r t i n g on women's f a m i l y responsibilities:
a. The f a m i l y responsibilities of business a n d professional women.
No. V I . A n a l y z i n g the occupational progress of w o m e n :
a. The occupational progress of women—an analysis of 1910 to 1930 census
figures.
2>. Women's employment I n the various States, 1870 t o 1930.
c. H i s t o r y of women's w o r k .
d. Women i n t h e medical profession.
e. W o m e n i n State labor a d m i n i s t r a t i o n .
No. V I I . F o l l o w i n g the progress a n d keeping a record of labor legislatipn
affecting w o m e n :
a. The chronological development of labor legislation f o r women i n the
U n i t e d States.
h. L a b o r laws f o r women i n the States a n d T e r r i t o r i e s .
No. V I I I . I n t e r p r e t i n g to the public the problems of wage-earning w o m e n :
a. A n s w e r i n g inquiries f o r i n f o r m a t i o n .
J). M a i n t a i n i n g c a r d index of m a t e r i a l i n bureau publications.
0. I s s u i n g m o n t h l y News L e t t e r of activities—domestic a n d f o r e i g n affecting women i n i n d u s t r y .
P r e p a r a t i o n a n d use of graphic m a t e r i a l — e x h i b i t s , m o t i o n pictures, etc.
e. P a r t i c i p a t i o n i n conferences a n d other meetings—State, national, and
international.
No. I X . Special a n d unclassified:
a. Made-work relief f o r white-collar unemployed—various cities.
No. X . A c t i v i t i e s concerned w i t h the a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of the bureau.

WOMEN'S OCCUPATIONAL STATUS I N 1930
The bureau's analysis of the occupational progress of women from
1910 to 1930 is not yet completed, but even a cursory examination of
the abstract summary issued by the Bureau of the Census on June
28 brings to light a number of interesting changes i n women's
employment.
First, the total number of employed women increased between
1920 and 1930 from 8,549,511 to 10,752,116, an increase of 21/5 million,
or 25.8 per cent. I n 1920, women were 20.5 per cent of all employed
persons; in 1930, they were 22 per cent, having comprised 30.5 per
cent of the increase between 1920 and 1930 in total persons at work.




K E P O E T or T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E W O M E K ' S B U R E A U

3

I n comparing the figures for 1910 and 1920, i t has been necessary
in the past decade to bear in mind that the census date changed from
A p r i l 15 in 1910 to January 1 i n 1920, a change considered to have
been responsible in no small part for the decline in number iof agricultural workers. The change back to A p r i l 1 in 1930, however, has
not had the opposite effect, and different conditions in the farming
industry and a more careful classifying of census schedules ^ appear
in the further loss of more than 173,000. women and 20,000 men.
Due partly to the evolution of census taking and partly to the
evolution of industry, with each decennial census certain reclassification is necessary. This may be illustrated by the occupation of aeronaut. which was classed in 1910 with showmen, i n 1920 with " other
professional pursuits," and in 1930 with transportation. I n 1930,
the greatest change in the case of women is the transfer of the 11,208
women who were postmasters in 1920 from public service not elsewhere classified to transportation and communication, the improved
1930 classification. Another large group moved to conform to the
1930 classification is canvassers, 4,191 in number in 1920, who were
then classed as clerical workers but have been transferred to trade.
I n a number of groups, what happened to women between 1920 and
1930 was in proportion to their part of the total; for example, women
were 47 per cent of the total in professional service i n 1920 and 47 per
cent of the increase between 1920 and 1930. But i n six groups the
change was anything but in proportion: I n all occupations, women
were 20.5 per cent of the total i n 1920 and 30.5 per cent of the increase between 1920 and 1930; in clerical service, they were 46 per
cent of the total and 62 per cijnt of the increase; i n the residual
public service group, 1.4 per cent of the total and 5.9 per cent of the
increase; i n agriculture, women were 10 per cent of the total and
89 per cent of the decrease; i n the extraction of minerals, they were
0.3 per cent of the total and 2 per cent of the decrease; and in manufacturing and mechanical industries they were 15 per cent of the
total but lost 44,000, though men gained 1% million, between 1920
and 1930.
Probably i t is to the manufacturing and mechanical group that
people turn with the greatest curiosity as to changes in the status
of women, and at first glance the loss of 44,000 women in contrast to
a gain of 1,323,000 men is startling. When the figures are scrutinized, however, there appear an increase of about 85,000 women i n
factories and a decrease of about 129,000 women in occupations not i n
factories. • I n 1930 there are practically 78,000 fewer dressmakers and
seamstresses, about 30,000 fewer milliners and millinery dealers, and
10,000 fewer tailoresses. Furthermore, men's disproportionate increase in manufacturing and mechanical industries is not in factories,
where their change between 1920 and 1930 is a 5.5 per cent increase,
women's being 5.6 per cent. Instead of dressmaking and millinery,
men's nonfactory occupations are principally in the building trades,
which show a 38 per cent increase for men in the 10-year period.
• I n the printing industry men's employment increased by 34.5 per
cent, while women's declined by 7.6 per cent.
1 Owing to enumerators* mlsnnderstandlng of instructions, the number of women reported as agricultural laborers In 1910 was not far from half a mUlion i n excess of the
actual number.—Census estimate. See p. 28 of Occupation Statistics for 1910 (vol, 4 of
Population).




4

BEPOET OF T H E DIRECTOR OP T H E W O M E K ' s

BUREAU

Another interesting contrast is the group of manufacturers and
managers, officials, .foremen, and so forth, in factories, which has an
increase of 16.6 per cent i n number of men but of only 2.7 per cent
in number of women; i n fact, women have some 1,700 fewer forewomen and overseers i n 1930 than in 1920, which suggests one effect
of mechanization.
Several of the manufacturing groups show increased numbers of
employees i n 1930. Kotable exceptions are cigars and tobacco, which
lost 24 per cent of its women and about 40 per cent of its men, and
iron and steel and other metals, which together lost 8.8 per cent of
their men and 0.8 per cent of their women. The leather industry lost
about 36,000 men and took on more than 8,000 women; the textile
group lost more than 19,000 women and took on nearly 15,000 men,
Kayon, classed with the chemical group, now has 14,000 men and
11,000 women; in 1920 the industry was classed w i t h " n o t specified
textile mills," having too few employees for separate showing.
The gain of 291,000 women in trade is made up of 195,000 saleswomen, 31,000 retail dealers, 22,000 real-estate agents and officials,
9,000 insurance agents, managers, and officials, and many smaller
increases. There were 7,000 fewer " clerics " i n stores.
The more than half a million increase in the professional group
includes 219,000 school-teachers and 145,000 trained nurses. The
565,000 increase in clerical occupations includes 210,000 stenographers
and typists, 202,000 clerks, and 120,000 bookkeepers and cashiers.
' Lastly, the important group domestic and personal service, which
declined between 1910 and 1920 by 344,000 women, increased in the
next decade by nearly a million women, the figure being 993,569.
This increase was made up of 115,000 waitresses, 102,000 cooks, and
520,000 other servants, while smaller numbers were the 80,000 laundry
operatives, the 80,000 hairdressers and manicurists, the 32,000, housekeepers and stewards, the 24,000 restaurant, cafe, and lunch-room
keepers, the 17,000 workers i n cleaning, dyeing, and pressing shops,
and the 16,000 charwomen and cleaners. Like the decline i n importance of dressmaking and millinery, there was a decrease in
number of laundresses not i n laundries of 29,000.
A preliminary examination of the trends over two census periods,
the 20 years 1910 to 1930, indicates that in round numbers women's
employment increased as follows: I n clerical work, by 1,398,000; in
professional, by 792,000; i n domestic and personal, by 649,000; in
trade, by 490,000; in transportation, by 163,000; i n manufacturing
and mechanical, by 66,000; and in public service not elsewhere classified, by 15,000. Only in agriculture has there been a decrease of any
importance, and there 897,000 fewer women were reported i n 1930
than i n 1910.®
The number of girls under 18 years reported as i n gainful employment is very much smaller than i n 1920; the number of married
women has increased by 60 per cent. There is, indeed, food for
thought in the census figures of women's occupations in 1930.
®See footnote on p. 3.




311

EEPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E WOMEN"'s B U R E A U

COMPLETED STUDIES
The employment of women in vitreous enameling.
This is a study of the enameling departments of about 50 plants,
practically all making stoves, and home interviews with nearly 700
women employed in those plants at the time or within the 12 months
preceding the interview.
Stove enameling, a new and growing industry, employs considerable numbers of women, and wherever the enamel used has a lead
content of more than a very small per cent the women are likely to
contract lead poisoning, with its grave effects on the present and the
succeeding generation.
The survey was made with the cooperation and scientific assistance
of Dr. Alice Hamilton, assistant professor of industrial medicine at
Harvard Medical School and an authority on lead poisoning. The
report includes an important foreword by Doctor Hamilton, from
which most of the material i n this brief review is taken.
There are several reasons why the employment of women i n this
industry called for a study by the Women's Bureau. I n the first
place, lead poisoning is a more serious danger to women than to men;
second, the workers are to a great extent youthful, more than threefourths in the present study being under 30 years, more than onefourth under 20; and third, the work can be done, and in some places
is done, with a leadless enamel, and therefore i t was hoped that i f the
lead in the enamel were shown to cause injury to the women who
ajjply it, those establishments that are now using a lead enamel
might be induced to adopt a leadless enamel and thus do away with
the most obvious danger attendant upon this particular sort of work.
Ideally, the study should have included analyses of the air i n all
the rooms where spraying was carried on and also a medical examination of the workers, supplemented by laboratory tests. Obviously
this was impossible, and therefore the next best method was adopted,
namely, the inspection of a large number of places by the same
intelligent observer, for this insured reports that are comparable;
the determination of the lead content i n the enamel used whenever
this was possible; and interviews with a large number of women in
their homes to discover what effect, i f any, the work had had upon
their health. Though the statement of the women is all that was
depended on i n the matter of symptoms, the careful tabulation of
the facts elicited in these interviews, with 686 women i n all, brings
some very significant things to light.
Two groups of women make up the larger number employed i n
this enamel work, the sprayers applying an enamel spray which may
or may not contain lead, and the brushers who remove the excess of
enamel after i t has dried. The former are exposed to lead much
more than the latter, for much of their work is done on cast iron
that is covered with lead enamel, while the brushers are chiefly employed on sheet iron, for which a leadless enamel generally is used.
Thus, 38.9 per cent of the sprayers worked on cast iron, which
usually involves a lead enamel, but only 9.1 per cent of the brushers
did so. This made i t possible for the investigators to use the
141364—32

2




6

EEPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E W O M E N " ' s

BUREAU

brushers as a group with which to compare the sprayers, for if it
appeared that there was any marked difference between these two
groups of women, drawn from the same economic class and working
i n the same establishments, i t would be fair to conclude that the
lead was largely responsible.
As to the prevalence of lead poisoning, the method selected was to
elicit from the women themselves a statement as to certain symptoms
imiversally regarded as present in lead poisoning and to discover
whether these symptoms had arisen after employment w i t h enamel
or had increased i n the course of this employment. The figures are
presented for the two groups, those most exposed to lead, the sprayers,
and those least exposed, the brushers. The contrast is therefore not
between a perfectly normal ^ o u p and a group exposed to lead, but
between two groups of varying degrees of exposure.
The figures presented are certainly significant. Thus, over 50
per cent more sprayers than brushers complained of a metallic or
sweetish taste, indigestion, constipation, and menstrual disturbances.
Other suggestive findings are the fact that among the sprayers illness with symptoms suggestive of lead poisoning was more prevalent than any other form of illness, although i n general industrial experience the common cold always leads i n frequency; the sprayers
had a higher rate of absences due to i l l health than had the brushers;
nearly one-fifth, 18.5 per cent, of the sprayers who left work did so
because of illness, while only 8.8 per cent of the brushers gave illness
as the cause. A n ominous finding is that among the sprayers those
between 16 and 18 years yielded the highest proportion of illness suggestive of lead poisoning.
Over two-fifths of the women, 43.4 per cent, were married. This
unusually large proportion is a serious feature of the report, for it
has been known for more than a century that lead is a race poison
and that a woman suffering from lead poisoning is more likely to
remain sterile after marriage than the woman who is not leaded;
i f she conceives, she is more likely to miscarry; i f the child is carried to term, i t is more likely to be stillborn; and i f i t is bom alive,
i t is more likely to die in infancy. The data on this point that the
investigators were able to collect correspond w i t h these facts, although
the numbers are too small to be regarded as very significant.
The records of the length of the period of employment before
symptoms of illness developed show clearly the need for medical
supervision in this industiy, f o r i t appears that some of the women
had worked only a short time, 10 of them less than one month, before
their health began to suffer. These were oversusceptible individuals
who should never work w i t h lead^ and the only way to eliminate
them is to have all workers come under the eye of the same physician
at regular intervals, so that he may detect the early symptoms of lead
poisoning and order the woman shifted to leadless work.
The report of conditions i n these establishments shows that they
varied greatlj, from poor to excellent, but that i n no establishment
was the medical service adequate and in only a small minority was
there adequate provision for cleanliness.
I n contrast to the drastic regulations in some countries—Great
Britain, for example—which are only what long experience has
shown to be needed for the protection of workers from lead poison


EEPORT OF T H E DIREGTOK OP T H E W O M E N ' s B U R E A U

7

ing, a great majority of States have only general statutes framed for
all industrial establishments and quite inadequate when applied to
those in which poisons are used. A few States do deal with the lead
trades. Roughly, one-third require physicians to report cases of
lead poisoning found i n general practice, but this is admittedly a
measure of no practical value; about one-fourth provide for compensation for industrial lead poisoning, and experience shows that
such legislation does i n the long run make for better protection of
the workers. But this can not be depended on alone, for even the
best of employers are not specialists in factory hygiene and many
are utterly ignorant of the hazard involved in work of this kind and
of how to guard against it.
Specific statutory provisions regulating working conditions in the
lead trades have been passed by several of the most important industrial States, at least two measuring up well with the British regulations. I n addition, most of these provide for periodic medical
examinations. A few States do not specify lead but cover the lead
trades by general regulations, which in the hands of well-trained
inspectors work quite as well.
The public must face the fact that the enameling of stoves, an
industry of rapid growth and with probably a great future expansion, is one that subjects a large number of women to the danger of
lead poisoning and that these women are not under present conditions efficiently protected against the danger. Even under the best
conditions and supervision there w i l l always be some danger, and
therefore the most practical suggestion that can be made to the men
at the head of the industry is that they substitute leadless enamel
for lead enamel, a substitution that is greatly facilitated by the
change from cast iron to sheet metal, which has already been made
by a number of manufacturers.
Bookkeepers^ stenographers, and office clerks in Ohio, 1914 to 1929.
The law of Ohio requires establishments to make reports to the
division of labor statistics of the department of industrial relations
of the numbers of persons they employ, their weekly wage, and
salary rates, and their pay-roll totals. These figures, available since
1914, constitute what are probably the most valuable employment
data compiled by any State.
The earnings and trends of employment of office w o r k e r ^ m a l e
and female—over the 16-year period 1914 to 1929 are the subject
of a bulletin published by the Women's Bureau i n the past year.
The figures were analyzed by the Director of the Ohio Information
Bureau on Women's Work.
Women office workers in Philadelphia.
The data used in this report were obtained from preliminary tabulations of the employers' reports in 44 business houses i n Philadelphia, employing 6,057 women, visited in connection with the
bureau's extensive survey of office work for women. The firms were
insurance companies, public-utility concerns, publishers, banks, and
investment houses.
Only 11.2 per cent of- the women worked primarily on machines
other than ordinary typewriters. Of the machine operators,^ onehalf were engaged on bookkeeping and billing machines, the majority



8

EEPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E WOMEN"'s B U R E A U

of these being i n banks. The installation of machines seemed not
to have caused the discharge of employees but to have resulted in
their transfer to other work. However, repeated references to the
saving of labor were made by officials, so i t may be assumed that
employment opportunities had decreased.
The range of monthly salaries for these office workers was from
less than $50 to $300 and over. More than one-half of the women
received less than $100, the median for the group as a whole being
$98. Among the groups with 50 or more women^ the highest earnings
were those of supervisors, whose various salaries had a median of
$151, followed by secretaries, with a median of $141. The workers
at the other end of the scale were file clerks, addressing-machine
operators, and most of the typists, whose medians were $76, $80,
and $86, respectively.
For all groups combined, salaries increased with length of service
from an average of $71, the median for those whose time with the
firm was less than six months, to $150, the average for those with
at least 20 years' service. Only about 1 i n 12 of all the women
reported had been on the pay rolls less than a year, while nearly onehalf had seen at least 5 years' service.
Of the women for whom extent of schooling was reported, something over one-fourth had received a business education i n addition
to other schooling. Less than 6 per cent had had schooling above
high school and about 14 per cent had completed only the grammar
grades.
The usual hours of work in these offices were not long. Forty
sr cent of the women had a day of 7 hours or less and a week ot
[ess than 40 hours.
Women office workers in St, Louis.
The other city for which information on office workers has been
tabulated is St. Louis, surveyed early in 1932. As in the Philadelphia report, only the data obtained from the offices visited are
included i n this report of 50 firms—insurance companies, banks and
investment houses, public utilities, publishers and advertising firms,
and chain stores and mail-order houses—and their 2,963 women
employees.
Women operating machines other than typewriters formed 10.7 per
cent of all in the study, their number being exceeded only by general
clerks, stenographers, and typists, who formed, respectively, 35.8 per
cent, 19.5 per cent, and 13.9 per cent of the total.
^^ monthly salaries was from $30 to more than $300.
More than two-thirds of the women had rates below $100, the median
for aU the office workers being $87. Secretaries and supervisors head
the hst, with medians of $130 and $128, respectively, and file clerks
and general typists are at the foot, with medians of $73 and $74.
Here agam may be felt the influence of the large proportion of
women with long years of experience, considerably more than twolifths of all the women reporting having been with the firm at least 5
y e ^ , and more than one-sixth at least 10 years.
Of the women with age reported, a large proportion were young,
as many as seven^enths being less than'30 ^ears. The l a r g e f t
group-nearly t w o - ^ h s - w e r e 20 and under 25. Less than 10 per
cent of the women had reached their fortieth birthday. When age



9

EEPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E

WOMEN"'s

BUREAU

is correlated with salary rates, there is seen to be a steady increase
in rates as age increases.
Of the women whose schooling was ascertained, one-fifth had attended grammar school only, nearly three-fomths had attended high
school, and about 7 per cent had had more advanced education.
When schooling is correlated with earnings, the highest median, $97,
is found to be that of women with higher education, that is, above
high-school graduation.
Scheduled hours for the office workers in St. Louis were not long.
The most common schedule was a 7^-hour day and a 42-hour week.
Women in the cigar and cigarette industries.
The bureau's report of the effects on women of the change from
hand work to machine work i n the manufacture of cigars and cigarettes is in press. The data include pay-roll figures for more than
28,000 women, personal information for more than 14,000, and home
interviews with 1,400 women who had lost their jobs by the closing
or removal of factories. Of interest in this connection is the fact
that the census of occupations for 1930 reports a reduction since 1920
of 56,000 workers, more than 23,000 of them women, in the cigar and
tobacco industries.
Women in the sewing trades of Connecticut.
A t the request of Governor Cross, a study of the economic status
of women engaged i n the manufacture of wearing apparel i n the
State of Connecticut was made by the Women's Bureau in the autumn
of 1931. A preliminary report of the chief findings as to hours and
earnings was sent to Governor Cross and other persons the following
spring. These and other phases of the survey w i l l be discussed i n
the complete report, now in preparation.
The 106 establishments visited employed 7,775 women and girls,
more than 80 per cent of the total i n clothing industries reported
for that State by the 1930 census of occupations. I n each case the
pay-roll records taken were for a week recommended by the firm
as having been normal or as nearly normal as any. Some employers
stated that numbers were far below the average of normal years.
More than three-fifths of the women were in establishments making
women's dresses, underwear, or corsets, and men's shirts. Power
sewing-machine operators ranked first i n point of numbers, constituting 62 per cent of the total. Hand sewers ranl^ed next, but with only
14 per cent. No other occupation engaged as many as 6 per cent of
the women.
Almost 4,800 women reported their ages on the personal-information cards distributed in the factory at the time of inspection. On
the whole, they were a very young group: 54 per cent were not yet
25, 34 per cent not yet 20, and about 20 per cent not yet 18.
Everywhere there was considerable interest expressed in the movement of factories from other districts into Connecticut. According
to a pamphlet issued by the Connecticut Chamber of Commerce i n
1929 on the migration of industry, the most frequently occurring reason for plant location i n this region was " advantageous labor conditions." However, this relocation of factories had about ceased during
the depression of 1931, and migration was said to be practically at a
standstill. Few of the firms supplying records for this survey were



10

REPORT

OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E W O M E N ' s BXTREAU

recent arrivals i n Connecticut, but a tabulation has been made of
three that had located in the State i n 1931. These are concerns too
small for the drawing of general conclusions, and they are not typical
of the average plant visited during the survey, but they are described here as illustrating a tendency in so-called " runaway shops "
to exploit the very young to the disadvantage of the mature woman
wage earner dependent for a living on the same type of job. I n
these factories, only two of the 105 employees reporting age were
as much as 20 years old; the majority were 16 and under 18, a number being younger still. More than three-fourths of the 102 for
whom the hours worked were reported had worked at least 40 hours,
one-half had worked as long as 50 hours. The majority were operating power sewing machines, by no means an easy job. The median
of the week's earnings fell between $4 and $5 for the total group for
whom hours worked were reported, and for those who had worked
more than 48 hours i t fell between $5 and $6, shockingly low wages
even when allowance is made for the youth and inexperience of the
workers.
One-half of the factories included i n the survey were contract
shops; that is, the materials were not owned by the manager of the
plant where they were being made into garments. I n practically all
these cases the materials were cut by the owner in New York and
sent to the Connecticut contractor for making up, the latter shipping
back the finished articles and having no responsibility for their sale.
Twenty-six of the 30 dress factories were contract shops, as were a
majority of the tailoring and shirt establishments.
Though a week of 44 hours is practically the rule in the clothing
trades, about three-fifths of the establishments visited had a normal
week of more than 48 hours. Ten had a standard of more than 50
hours.
Records of time worked were available for almost 5,000 women.
I n all branches of the industry but dresses and garters the majority
of the employees, varying from 60 to 95 per cent, were on a piecework basis, and in many plants no record was kept of the hours of
pieceworkers.
Almost one-half of the women whose hours were reported had
worked 44 and under 52 hours. Over 1,000 women, though less
than one-fourth of the total, had worked less than 40 hours, many of
them much less, undoubtedly due to the undertime unusual at that
season of the year. A t the other extreme were 665 women who had
worked at least 52 hours, many of them 60 or 65 hours and i n a few
cases on 7 days. The orders i n the dress contract shops invariably
were rush orders. One week there might be so many orders that the
entire plant worked overtime and the next week there might be no
orders and the shop would be practically closed. Of the 215 women
who worked more than 55 hours, three-fourths were i n contract shops.
, As piecework prevailed in the plants visited and hourly rates were
<!ommon for timeworkers, there was a consistent rise in earnings with
hours worked. The medians of the women's earnings in the pay-roll
week selected—^half the women earning more and half less than the
median—ranged from $9.65 i n men's shirts to $16.15 in neckties and
cravats. The median was $12.35 for the total of 7,631 women in all
groups combined. Taking the largest groups, i t was $14.50 for the



11 EEPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E

WOMEN"'s

BUREAU

1,502 in women's dresses, $13.90 for the 1,144 in corsets, $9.6 for the
».65
unde:
1,131 i n men's shirts, and $9.75 for the 956 in women's underwear.
•Classified by occupation, earnings are seen to be highest for the
miscellaneous group, including foreladies and instructors, with a
median of $17.50, and lowest for the cleaners, the group clipping
threads, trimming uneven edges, and giving the final touches, whose
median was $7.70. The 4,735 power sewing-machine operators had
a median of $13; the 63 operators of pinking or other special power
machines, $13.55. The 1,056 hand sewers had a median of $12.65; the
440 pressers and the 176 packers, $11.65. The final operations of hand
sewing, cleaning, and pressing had extensive overtime.
Of more than 600 women in dress shops who reported their nativity,
almost one-half were foreign born, the great majority from Italy.
Almost one-fourth of these women were at least 40 years of age,
whereas almost one-half of the American born were not yet 20, a
condition at least suggesting the relationship of mothers and
daughters. The much younger native women, whether machine or
hand sewers, averaged less in earnings than did the foreign women.
Wages and hours in North Dakota.
To make available data regarding working women in North
Dakota, a study was made at the request of the minimum wage department of the workmen's compensation bureau in the f a l l of 1931, State
and Federal agencies cooperating i n the survey. Almost 10 years had
elapsed since the wage standards for women now in effect were established, and for this reason information regarding hours, wages, and
working conditions was desired.
Twenty-one cities and towns were visited, and records were obtained
for 1,742 women employed i n 204 establishments. More than twofifths of these establishments (86) were hotels and restaurants, i n
which nearly one-third of the women were employed. Next in number
were stores (67), which employed considerably more than one-third
of the women. Other establishments covered were telephone exchanges, laundries, manufacturing establishments (only 11)5 and
beauty shops.
The preliminary report contains information regarding the wages
and hours of the women for one pay-roll period. Other facts related
to women's work, such as year's earnmgs, working conditions, and
personal data as to age, marital condition, and length of service w i l l
be discussed i n the complete report.
Made-work relief for white-collar unemployed.
The bureau cooperated with the President's organization on unemployment relief (committee on administration of relief) by a survey,
in Eastern and Middle Western cities, of the extent and kinds ot
made-work relief for white-collar unemployed. This report was
printed by the committee.
STUDIES I N PROGEESS
Women in business and the professions.
The bureau's analysis of the 20,000 questionnaires made out by
members of organizations in the National Federation of Business and
Professional Women's Clubs is not yet completed. A n interesting



12

REPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E W O K E K ^ S

BUREAU

thing apparent in the tables is that this group of women has at least
its share of responsibility for dependents, some 14,000 women having
replied to the inquiries on this subject, 9,100 stating that they had
total or partial dependents. The women with total dependents, no
one sharing the responsibility, were 24 per cent of the 14,000 reporting
and 38 per cent of the 9,100 with dependents.
The employment of women in offices.
The importance of the bureau's extensive study of office employment
in businesses having large numbers of women clerical workers is clear
when i t is realized that clerical work ranked second among the various occupation groups for women i n the census of 1930, employing
practically one i n five of ail gainfully occupied women.
The data for the study were obtamed i n three ways: From office
records, by interviews with company officials, and through questionnaires filled i n by women workers i n offices. The last named
were distributed by Young Women's Christian Association clubs and
camps, more than 5,000 women returning tabulatable questionnaires.
This material is now being analyzed.
Honrs and production.
Since i t is apparent that the larger the fimd of general knowledge
the easier i t w i l l be for engineers, employers, and workers to arrive
at the most efficient hours for their special industries or establishments, the bureau undertook a comparison of women's output under
shortened hours i n a number of industries where records were said
to be available. The insufficiency of such records in several cases,
however, is evident in the bureau's analysis of method and results.
The findings of this study w i l l be published w i t h i n the next few
months.
Women in State labor administration.
This study, made in the field and from State and other records^
is designed to show the historical background, the process,, and
the existing status of women's participation in the administration
of labor laws in the various States.
Fluctuation in employment of women in cotton mills in 1931.
The field work of a survey of about 130 cotton mills in a southern
textile State has just been completed. I n 85 mills, the numbers
employed month by month for one year were secured; i n 126, pay
rolls were copied. The information, covering 16,000 women, is now
being tabulated.
Women in Texas industries.
A state-wide survey of hours, wages,* and working conditions of
women in Texas has been made by the bureau at the request of the
commissioner of labor of the State. The survey covered approxmately 15,000 women.
The 6-hour day in a food-manufacturing plant.
Field work has been completed recently in a study of the effects
on women of a change from eight to six in the daily hours of an
important food -manufacturing plant. Hours, occupations, and earii"
ings under the two systems were inquired into, as were the matters



KEPORT OF T H E DIKECTOE OF T H E W O M E N ' s BUBEAXJ

13

of fatigue, use of extra time, arrangements for meals, distance from
home, and comments as to preference. Four hundred women were
interviewed i n their homes.
Unemployed women in Detroit.
This is a study of employment fluctuation and the economic status
of 560 unemployed women seeking work through various employment agencies in Detroit in the early months of 1930.
Household employment in Chicago.
A n analysis has been made of questionnaires returned by 250
employers and by 250 employees in a study undertaken to learn the
character of the demand and the supply in this field and the outstanding difficulties i n employment relations.
The occupational progress of women.
I n 1922 the bureau published under this title an interpretation
of the Federal census statistics of women in gainful occupations
in 1920. Ten years later, the same thing is being done with the
recently published figures on women in gainful occupations in 1930.
These bulletins, among the most useful of the bureau's analyses of
important secondary material, make clear how many women are at
work, where they are, what they do, and how their proportions in
various occupations are changing.
WORK OF THE RESEARCH DIVISION
Activities of the research division have included five main types
of work: The preparation of major reports for publication; the
compiling of memoranda of. a less exhaustive character; the continual observation and notation of changes in statutes and rules
affecting employed women, and of material showing the frequency
and character of the occurrence of accidents to women; the issuance
of a monthly news letter carrying current information on women's
work and status; and the answering of inquiries involving some
special research and arrangement of material.
Certain indications as to the employmentfluctuationsand unemployment
of women, 1928 to 1932.
A phase of the bureau's work that necessarily is absorbing a
major part of its attention at this time is the effort to discover something of the extent, the causes, and the remedies of certain of the
serious human wastes in industry. One of the great sources of such
wastes lies in the continual, often the extreme, fluctuation in the
employment of women from month to month and from year to year,
and the extent to which their unemployment prevails.
There is no information complete for the United States as to the
relative amount of unemployment among women at frequent intervals, nor as to the fluctuations in their employment in the country as
a whole, but there are sources of data giving some general indications as to these matters, especially i n certain occupations and in
important industrial localities. To ascertain something of what has
been happening to woman employment in the past four years, as
shown from these fragmentary or sporadic sources, the bureau is



14

KEPORT OIP T H E DIBEGTOR OF T H E W O M E N ' S

BUREAU

bringing together significant findings to which some interpretation
can be given.
While not attempting to discover the complex causes of the frequent changes observed, or of unemployment, the bureau is seeking
to find and present, with some interpretation, certain available indications of the directions of change or of the extent of unemployment among women. I t brings together i n one place the following
four types of material: A summary and discussion of the amount
of unemployment found among women by the census of 1930; the
extent and direction of fluctuations i n the employment of women
i n certain of the more outstanding woman-employing industries as
reported from official sources i n Ohio, New York, and Illinois during
the four years 1928 to 1931, with some analysis of the figures; brief
summaries of the findings as to employment fluctuations and unemr
ployment i n certain recent studies made by the Women's Bureau
and other authorities ; and a statement of the extent to which the
various States make information available i n regard to the activities of their public employment agencies and the extent to which
any indication of the employment situation touching women can
be obtained from such reports.
The census of unemployment of A p r i l , 1930, reported 668,661
women out of work on the day preceding the enumerator's call, the
day selected as determining status for the unemployment inquiries,
o f the women reported unemployed i n the two more important
census classes ( A and B combined, which formed about three-fourths
of all those unemployed
this extremely interesting fact appears—
that about one-tenth of these women were heads of families, with
persons dependent on them for support. This situation bears out
findings of the Women's Bureau, which has shown i n several studies
that very considerable proportions of gainfully occupied women are
responsible for the support of others, frequently much larger proportions than the heads of families referred to.
Of those unemployed, according to the census, nearly one-tenth of
the women had been out of work for as much as six months, an
appreciable proportion of them for over a year. The largest group
of these unemployed women were under 25 years of age. I n all the
age groups as classified by the census up to 30 years, larger proportions of the women than of the men were out of work; after 30 years,
larger proportions of the men than of the women.
I n January, 1931, the Bureau of the Census made another unemployment count, this time in 19 of the largest cities in all sections
of the country. I t is probable that the results of this may excel
the earlier figures i n point of accuracy, since only one schedule—^that
relating to unemployment—was used, not complicated by unrelated
population or occupation data.
I t showed that about one-fifth of all the women i n these cities
were out of work. I n eight of the cities more than that proportion
were without jobs. These figures correspond to those found in
certain local studies of the subject.
3 A, Out of work, able to work» and looking for a Job; B, on lay-off without pay, excluding those sick or voluntarily idle.




REPORT OF T H E DIREGTOR OF T H E W0ME3Sr's B U R E A U

15

Working-conditions handbooks.
Four of the major reports published or in progress this year
relate to certain phases of conditions under which women work and
are intended to constitute general handbooks of the best available
standards and practices on the subjects covered. I n each case a
resume of State rec^uirements is given and such recommendations
as are based on scientific study of the subject are reviewed. As
is the case with many reports of the bureau, most helpful cooperation has been given by State departments of labor and other officials
in the preparation of these handbooks on working conditions, and
i t is hoped that the resulting publications will, in turn, form useful
references for the assistance of factory inspectors and other persons
needing such information i n compiled form. The bureau has published this year a study of State requirements for industrial lighting
and i t is preparing reports on sanitary codes in work places. I t has
in preparation a study of fire prevention in places where women are
employed, and of industrial service facilities for women, such as
lunch rooms, washing facilities, cloak rooms and dressing rooms,
and provisions for first aid.
State TegvAvements for industnal lighting.—^In this study the
lighting codes of the 13 States that have adopted such codes are
compared with the requirements of the American Standard Code of
Lighting Factories, Mills, and Other Work Places, adopted August
18, 1930, by the American Standards Association; other State requirements for lighting manufacturing and mercantile establishments
are summarized; a large part of the American Standard Code is
reprinted as a guide to good lighting; basic considerations about
lighting are simply and nontechnically explained; the importance of
good lighting from the standpoint of eye fatigue is discussed by an
expert in this field; and suggestions of sources of information and
of good practices are brought together for employers, employees, and
State departments of labor.
The need for such information is attested by the fact that 19
States have no requirements as to lighting i n places of employment,
and that investigations of working conditions made by the Women's
Bureau at intervals over a period of more than 10 years have shown
that in large numbers of establishments the importance of giving
attention to the matter of good lighting has not been appreciated.
Of about 1,300 establishments in 13 States whose lighting has
been appraised by investigators of the Women's Bureau, natural
lighting was reported to be satisfactory throughout i n 672 and artificial lighting satisfactory throughout i n 538. Three-fifths of the
defects in natural lighting were inadequacy and three-fifths of those
in artificial lighting were glare.
I n a foreword to the report recently issued by the bureau, M r . H . H .
Magdsick, chairman of the committee on industrial and school lighting of the Illuminating Engineering Society, says:
I n issuing t l i i s pubUcatiou on the l i g h t i n g of w o r k places, the Women's B u reau of the Department of Labor makes an i m p o r t a n t c o n t r i b u t i o n to a more
general understanding of l i g h t i n g conditions and t h e i r effects i n i n d u s t r y .
I t offers sound guidance t o w a r d safer and more effective iUumination,
In
doing t h i s the bureau i s saving the lives a n d limbs and p r o t e c t i n g the v i s i o n
o f workers. I t is p r o m o t i n g the efficiency of i n d u s t r y , a t the same t i m e conserving h u m a n resources and adding t o the well-being a n d happiness of our
people.




16

EEPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E W O M E N " ' s

BUREAU

The installation and maintenance of toilet facilities in places of
employTTient.—This handbook gives a digest of State requirements
on the subject of toilet facilities i n work places and indicates the
standards considered important for the health and comfort of employees. For each State a summary is given of the regulations on
this subject—whether i n the form of statutes, rules or orders, or
recommendations—and, i n addition, the establishments covered and
the agency responsible for enforcement. Some States have no regulations but those issued by the boards of health for food-handling
establishments and concerned with public health rather than that of
employees.
Industrial injuries to women in 1928 and 1929.
The research division continually follows the available official
information as to industrial injuries to women, and biennially it
compiles this information from the various State reports for publication by the bureau, with some interpretation of the general situation so far as women are affected.
The second i n this series relating to industrial injuries as classified
by sex covers the State reports for 1928 and 1929 and is now in
press.^ These data show an increase in 1929 in the proportion of all
injuries that were listed as occurring to women. The information in
the bureau's latest report was taken from publications of 15 States.
Large numbers of women yearly are injured, although proportionately fewer employed women than employed men are so unfortunate. More than 5,000 women's injuries were reported i n each of
three States in each of the years 1927, 1928, and 1929. Proportionately many more of the women than of the men so affected are young,
and young women, on account of their extensive machine employment, are the victims of a disproportionate number of accidents leaving a permanent disability. Furthermore, since most of these workers, no doubt, were i n the lower wage groups, their compensation
must have been low.
Standards of placement agencies for household employees.
Standards of various placement agencies for household employees
are being collected and analyzed by the Women's Bureau, cooperating
with Mrs. Anna L . Burdick, agent for industrial education for girls
and women of the Federal Board for Vocational Education. These
nonlegal requirements of placement agencies about various working
conditions, such as wages, hours of work, type of work expected,
free time, vacation, and living conditions, that must be met before
a worker w i l l be placed in a position, are significant because they
are practically the only regulations existing for household employees.
Standards from all sections ,of the country for adult workers,
for workers 21 years of age or under, and for college students were
reported in reply to mailed questionnaires, and they w i l l be published i n a report now in preparation.
Occupational diseases of women.
Among the reports in progress in the research division is that on
occupational diseases of women, which is endeavoring to bring to* The first report in this series. Industrial Accidents to Men and Women, gave data for
period°192(^1927^ recent year for which data were published by the States during the




KEPORTOF T H E DIEEOTOB OF T H E W O M E N - ' S B U R E A U

17

gether in one place in an easily available form both the State requirements on this subject—^in terms of specific or general laws—
and the information available from reports i n a few cases as to the
extent to which the existence of types of disease inherent i n certain
occupations is being recorded.
Changes in women's occupations.
From time to time in the period in which the Bureau of the
Census has been making available the 1930 data as to women i n the
population, their occupations, and the extent of their unemployment the Women's Bureau has made summaries and interpretations
of certain types of this information. Some of these have been circulated in the monthly News Letter, and they have been used in
answer to the many inquiries received along these lines. The bureau
has in progress two special studies of the occupations of women.
One of these analyzes in considerable detail the changes from 1910
to 1930; this study is expected to be ready for distribution toward
the close of the present fiscal year. The other deals with changes
over a longer period, especially in the various States, and w i l l require further time before i t can be published.
News Letter.
Throughout the year, current activities relating to employed
women i n this and other countries have been reviewed i n the
monthly News Letter. The information given in this form includes
legislative enactments in the various States and countries; the findings of investigations relative to hours, wages, working conditions,
occupations, and health and safety problems; trade-unions; notes
on conferences and meetings of interest; changes i n personnel among
labor officials and in agencies concerned with the administration
and enforcement of labor laws affecting women in the States; and
other current material obtained by correspondence and by the constant following of publications touching matters that affect employed women.
Besides the material sent out in the News Letter, the bureau is
continually compiling and interpreting, in such form as to be available for use, reports of investigations and other data touching
various phases of the subject of the employment of women and the
general economic and industrial situations affecting them. Certain
of the results of this work appear in the News Letter from time
to time.
Special memoranda prepared and inquiries answered.
I n addition to the major undertakings of the research division,
material has been prepared in answer to the many requests for information. Besides the data needed for the initiation of field projects and the answering of letters, figures have been compiled for an
average of approximately 25 inquiries a month from outside the
bureau. These have come from all parts of the United States and
from other countries as well; they have come, in each case with
considerable frequency, from government officials—Federal and
State; from employers and employers' associations; labor organizations; editors; educational institutions; libraries; and other national and local groups interested i n the conditions under which
women work. The most frequent requests, in addition to those de


18

EEPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E

WOMEN"'s

BUREAU

siring general information on women in industry, were for data
relating to the following: Employment and imemployment of
women; employment of married women; employment of women
i n special occupations or professions, or in particular localities; and
women's wages.
Employed women in a time of economic change,—^In this year,
even more than usual, information has been sought especially upon
the extent of unemployment, the status of the unemployed woman,
the degree i n which women's wages have declined, and the gainful
occupation of married women. As successive census reports became
available, the research division from time to time prepared analyses
of the material they furnished, taking cognizance also of supplementary data from other sources.
The youth of the unemployed women has been referred to in the
foregoing. While 37.3 per cent of the gainfully occupied women
are under 25 years of age, a larger proportion—42.7 per cent—of the
unemployed women are so young. Of the girls under 20 years of
age who ordinarily were in gainful work, 20.6 per cent were unemployed at the taking of the Federal census, and the same was true
of 22.1 per cent of those 20 to 24 years old. The corresponding
proportions of young men unemployed were 9.1 per cent and 15,8
per cent, respectively.
There are many indications that widesi^read unemployment among
men has thrown the responsibility of family support upon women to
an even greater extent than has been the* case neretofore. Of the
gainfully occupied women of 15 years and over, 28.9 per cent, as
against 23 per cent i n 1920, are married. Nevertheless, the proportion of all married women who are in gainful employment is only
11.7 per cent, while of all women 24.8 per cent are thus occupied.
Figures have not been published that enable such information to be
obtained for men.
The occupational distribution of the employed married women
in the entire country has not been reported in detail as yet, but such
information has been furnished for 41 States. I n 32 of these States,
the largest numbers of the employed married women are i n domestic
and personal service; i n the remaining 9, the largest numbers are in
either agriculture or the manufacturing industries, and in each case
domestic and personal service ranks second.® Women who enter such
types of work can hardly do so from desire to pursue a career; they
are there from economic necessity, and to preclude their remaining
would seriously increase the hardship endured by the working population at this time, and, to the degree i n which this was based on the
purely personal reason of marital status, such additional hardship
would be unnecessary and wholly undesirable.
Indications are to "be found, from such fragments as are available,
that in a considerable number of industries the decline in employment from 1928 to 1931 has been more severe for women than for
men. For example, i n New York State an index of employment,
based on June, 1923, and weighted i n accordance with importance of
the industry and w i t h extent of its woman employment, is published by sex. I t is found on examination of these indices that in
sAgrlcultare employed the largest numbers of women in Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Mississippi; manufacturing the largest in Connecticut, Maine. Massaclmsetts*
New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.




EEPORT OF T H E BIEECTOE OF T H E W O M E N ' s B U E E A t J

19

about half the more important woman-employing industries or
groups the decline in the period 1928 to 1931 from the highest month
in the period to the lowest month in 1931 has been greater for women
than for men. This is true, for example, in the metal and machinery
group, the printing and paper group, in cotton, candy, bakery
-products, shoes, women's clothing, and the manufacture of wool, carpets, and felt. Data from Illinois, based on an entirely different
liype of index, show greater declines for women than men i n nearly
all the important woman-employing industries or groups.
Further notable declines have occurred in this period in the wages
received by the women who have continued to hold their jobs. Wage
figures as reported monthly by sex in both Illinois and New York
may be considered in September, 1931, as compared with September,
1929.® These show a decline in women's wages of 11.6 per cent in
Illinois and of 13 per cent in New York. The decline for men was
somewhat greater,^ but i t must be remembered that there always has
been considerably less margin for decline in the manufacturing earnings of women than in those of men, such data as are available on the
subject showing that the wages of women ordinarily f a l l not only
below those of men in general but even below those of men in the
unskilled occupations. The decline in women's wages in March—a
characteristic month of spring activity—from 1929 to 1932 was 28.1
per cent in Illinois and 21.5 per cent in New York. The corresponding declines in men's wages were 29.4 per cent and 22.5 per cent.
I n this connection i t is of interest to note that the annual report of
the Minimum Wage Board of Ontario, Canada, shows a decrease in
women's wages from 1929 to 1931 (month not specified) of only 1.7
per cent.
labor legislation for women.
A n important activity of the research division is the following of
the progress of labor legislation i n the various States and keeping
a detailed record of any action that relates to women. The bureau
publishes the record of such legislation i n two forms: A resume of
existing laws, the fourth of this series being now i n press, and a
chronological record of their development i n the various States, of
which the first revision has just been published.
Labor laws for woTnen in the States and Territories.—K revision to
December 31, 1931, of Bulletin No. 63, State Laws Affecting Working Women, w i l l shortly come from the press (new No. 98).
Chronological development of labor legislation for women in the
United States,—^A digest of all the law3 passed by the various States
that have concerned the employment of women—daily and weekly
hour laws, night work laws, laws prohibiting certain kinds of employment or regulating the conditions under which they may be performed, and laws requiring seats for women workers-^has been
revised as of December 31, 1931. Minimum wage laws are not
covered, as they are analyzed in detail in Women's Bureau Bulletin
No. 61. A l l orders of indujstrial welfare commissions or boards that
have the force of law are included. No attempt at interpretation has
®In any other month taken, similar showing w i l l reault; September is given here
merely because i t is the characteristic month of f a l l activity.
* I n Illinois 19.4 per cent and i n New York 14.8 per cent, each from September, 1929,
to September, 1931.




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EEPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E W O M E N " ' s

BUREAU

been made, the purpose being to state briefly the important provisions and the changes occurring from year to year. A 9-page
summary of existing laws, as of December, 1931, is an important part
of the report.
Each annual report of the bureau summarizes briefly the events of
this character that have occurred since the last report, and thus constitutes a reference to this material i n intervening years i n which
a new publication can not be issued. I n the assemblies taking place
in 1931-32 the changes made are outlined i n the statement next
presented.
labor legislation in 1931-32.
As most State legislatures meet biennially and 1932 was the off year,
only 9 States and the island possessions of Puerto Eico and the Philippines held their regular legislative sessions in the period under
review. Seven of these States and 11 others called an extra or special
session i n 1931, as did 8 in 1932, but practically no labor legislation
was enacted at such sessions. Several bills amending existing hour
laws were introduced during the regular sessions, but for the most
part these measures failed of enactment, and little or no change in
State labor laws is noted for the fiscal year.
I n California the industrial welfare commission issued an amended
order establishing standards of sanitation in all trades, occupations,
or industries except the motion-picture industry, which is covered by
special orders.
I n the present year Massachusetts extended its homework law to
cover not only places where work is done on wearing apparel but
those where the making, altering, repairing, omamentmg, finishing,
or adapting for sale of any article or any part thereof is carried on.
The act requires the employer or contractor to furnish the department
of labor and industries with the names and addresses of home workers in his employ and of all women and minors dwelling in the room
or apartment used for homework. Ages of girls under 21 and of
boys under 18 also must be reported.
Another Massachusetts act provides an increase in the rate of pay
of women employed as cleaners i n the Statehouse from 50 cents an
hour to a weekly rate of $18 for 33 hours and an hourly rate of 55
cents for all overtime.
Still another statute of this State provides for the posting of hour
schedules for women and children " i n such manner as the commissioner [of labor and industries] may require."
New Jersey passed an act forbidding the employment of minors
under 18 years of age in occupations or trades that the commissioner
of labor may deem dangerous to their physical safety or health and
haxmful to their future efficiency.
I n A p r i l the New York Industrial Board made a revision of its
cannery code whereby further control may be given the canning
industry during the rush season—June 25 to August 5. To obtain a
permit to employ women more than 10 hours a day and 60 hours
(6 days) a week in this period, the canner must comply with certain
conditions stipulated by the board, including arrangements for the
regular delivery of the raw produce as far as possible.
The newly created State Welfare Commission of Oregon readopted
the orders that the agency preceding i t had promulgated.



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EEPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E W O M E N " ' s

BUREAU

I n Puerto Rico a law effective in July, 1931, authorized the establishment of a department of labor and the appointment of a labor
commissioner. One of the bureaus specified in the act is to be concerned with women and children in industry.
*

DIVISION OP PUBLIC INFORMATION
The activities of the Women's Bureau i n distributing information
about wage-earning women do not stop with its published bulletins
and reports upon its special investigations. Since the material contained in such publications is largely of a technical and statistical
nature, i t must be translated into simpler form with emphasis on
the human aspects i n order to interest and to be understood by the
rank and file of the public. Continuous effort, therefore, is jnade
by the division of public information to interpret and to bring to
the attention of the average citizen the social and economic problems
of America's approximately 11,000,000 gainfully occupied women.
The preparation and distribution of special news releases on the
published bulletins of the bureau and on outstanding developments
in connection with wage-earning women have constituted an important feature of the year's work.
More than 40 articles on many different aspects of employed
women and Women's Bureau activities have been prepared on request
for a wide range of periodicals, including yearbooks and magazines
of popular, educational, industrial, technical, and statistical nature
and a number concerned with health, labor, business, and professional matters. A series of articles on the problems of women in
outstanding woman-employing industries, prepared for current issues
of one periodical, w i l l be collected later in bulletin form for circulation by the bureau.
Exhibits.
Each year the bureau receives an increasing number of requests for
graphic material pertaining to women wage earners. This situation is the result of two trends: First, the growing interest i n visual
education; second, an increasing appreciation of the vital importance
of the problems of women workers and the more widespread study
of the subject by many different organizations. I n the past year
there has seemed to be a more extensive use of the bureau's exhibite
by all types of educational institutions. Other users of these graphic
materials have included groups concerned especially w i t h health,
industrial labor, and with social, civic, and religious matters; women's
clubs and organizations; employers; State departments of labor;
and motion-picture producers.
Because of the different needs of the various agencies and groups
desiring exhibit material, the bureau has found i t necessary to present
pertinent information i n a variety of forms, such as models, maps,
charts, posters, folders, and motion pictures. The past year has been
characterized by circulation of all these various types of material
throughout the United States and the sending of some of these
exhibits to a few foreign countries. A l l displays are lent free of
charge, the borrower paying transportation charges on material
that can not be sent under frank. Certain wall exhibits are available
for permanent use.



22

KEPOET OP T H E DIRECTOR OP T H E W O M E N ' s BTJREA.TJ

A n exhibit completed early in the year, "Steps to safety and
eflSciency for wage-earning women," has been used extensively. The
purpose of this exhibit is to show that good standards for employed
women are beneficial and widespread i n effect, contributing to the
well-being of industries the workers, the home, the family, the
race, and the Nation. The exhibit, consisting of three panels with
seven scenes, is offered in two sizes and is practically ready for use
when uncrated. The large model is adapted for display at expositions, while the small model is designed for table display and for
use at small gatherings. Its transportation costs are very low.
A new wall display, a combination of poster and chart in effective
colors, illustrates the minimum standards advocated by the Women's
Bureau for the employment of women in industry. Colored maps
illustrating labor laws for women i n the individual States are in
great demand. They have been prepared in two sizes—a large set
for wall display and a smaller set for desk use or for publication
purposes.
Motion pictures.
During the past year the bureau's fihn library of four motion-picture subjects has had intensive and extensive use. One of the films,
entitled " Behind the Scenes in the Machine Age," is a 3-reel picture
completed in January. I n six months i t has had over 75 bookings.
Similar use was made of the other films of the bureau, with a total
number of bookings for the year of 78. Behind the Scenes i n the
Machine Age ties up closely with current interests, since i t touches
on the problem of technological changes as a factor in unemployment
for women, pointing out the need of a well-planned program of
adjustment of workers displaced by machines.
CONFERENCES
During the past year the bureau was represented at the following
national conferences or conventions:
A m e r i c a n Society of S a n i t a r y Engineers, Richmond, September, 1931.
President's Conference on H o m e B u i l d i n g and H o m e Ownersliip ( H o u s i n g and
C o m m u n i t y Committee), Washington, October and December, 1931.
I n t e r n a t i o n a l Association of I n d u s t r i a l Accident Boards and Commissions,
Bichmond, October, 1931.
Conference on C o m m u n i t y Responsibility f o r the Stabilization of I n d u s t r y ,
B r y n M a w r , December, 1931.
N a t i o n a l League of Women Voters, D e t r o i t , A p r i l , 1932.
N a t i o n a l Convention of the Young Women's C h r i s t i a n Association, MinneapoUs,
M a y , 1932.
N a t i o n a l Conference of Social W o r k , Philadelphia, M a y , 1932.
Association of Governmental Officials i n I n d u s t r y (executive board meeting),
B u f f a l o , June, 1932.
A m e r i c a n H o m e Economics Association, A t l a n t a , June, 1932.

PXJBLICATIONS
The bulletins issued from the Government Printing Office this year
aggregate about 800 pages. Five others are i n press. The bulletins
follow:
No. 60-11. Chronological Development of L a b o r L e g i s l a t i o n f o r W o m e n i n the
U n i t e d States. Revised December, 1931. 176 pp.
No. 88. T h e E m p l o y m e n t of W o m e n i n Slaughtering a n d M e a t Packing. 210 pp.




KEPORT OF T H E DIEEOTOB OF T H E WOMEN-'S B U R E A U

23

No. 89. T h e I n d u s t r i a l Experience of "Women W o r k e r s a t the Summer Schools,
1928 t o 1930. 62 pp.
No. 90. Oregon Legislation f o r Women i n I n d u s t r y . 40 pp.
No.91. Women i n I n d u s t r y : A Series of Papers to A i d Study Groups. 79 pp.
No. 92. Wage-Earning Women and the I n d u s t r i a l Conditions of 1930: A Survey
of South Bend. 84 pp.
No. 93. Household Employment i n Philadelphia. 88 pp.
No. 94. State Requirements f o r I n d u s t r i a l L i g h t i n g : A Handbook f o r the Protection of Women Workers, Showing L i g h t i n g Standards and Practices. 65
pp.
No. 95. Bookkeepers, Stenographers, and Office Clerks i n Ohio, 1914 t o 1929.
34 pp.
No. 96. Women Office W o r k e r s i n Philadelphia. 17 pp.
No. 97. T h e Employment of Women i n the Sewing Trades of Connecticut, Prel i m i n a r y Report. 13 pp.
No. 98. Labor L a w s f o r Women I n the States and Territories. Revision of
B u l l e t i n 63. 70 pp.
No. 99. T h e I n s t a l l a t i o n and Maintenance of T o i l e t Facilities i n Places of
Employment. ( I n press.)
No. 100. T h e Effects on Women of Changing Conditions i n the Cigar and
Cigarette Industries. ( I n press.)
No. 101. T h e Employment of Women i n Vitreous Enameling. ( I n press.)

STANDARBS FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN
The bureau continues to recommend its reasonable standards of
hours, wages, working conditions, and employment relations, and, as
already described, is issuing handbooks that give, i n convenient form,
the details of such standards. The brief standards, agreed upon for
the employment of women on Government contracts during the war
and indorsed by representative employers and worldng women alike,
are as follows:
Honrs.
A day not longer t h a n eight hours.
A h a l f holiday on Saturday.
One day's rest I n seven.
A t least 30 minutes allowed f o r a meal.
A 10-minute rest period i n the middle of each h a l f day w i t h o u t lengthening
the day.
N o employment of women between m i d n i g h t and 6 a. m.
Wages,
Rates based on occupation and not on sex nor race, the m i n i m u m t o cover cost
of h e a l t h f u l and decent l i v i n g and t o allow f o r dependents.
Working conditions.
Cleanliness.
Good lighting, ventilation, a n d heating.
Machine guards, handrails, safe condition of floors, devices f o r d r a w i n g ofE
dust and fumes.
F i r e protection.
F i r s t - a i d equipment.
A c h a i r f o r each woman. Change of posture—neither constant standing nor
constant s i t t i n g .
Prevention of overstrain and of overexposure to dust, fumes, poisons, and
extremes of temperature.
Sanitary d r i n k i n g a n d washing facilities.
Dressing rooms, rest rooms, lunch rooms.
Adequate toilet arrangements—one t o i l e t t o every 15 workers.
General.
A personnel department, responsible f o r the selection, assignment, and transf e r or discharge of employees.
W o m e n i n supervisory positions a n d as employment executives where women
are employed.




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EEPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E W O M E N " ' s

BUREAU

Provision f o r w o r k e r s t o share i n control of conditions of employment.
O p p o r t u n i t y f o r w o r k e r s t o choose occupations f o r w h i c h best adapted. No
p r o h i b i t i o n of women's employment except I n occupations proved to be more
i n j u r i o u s t o women t h a n to men.
N o w o r k to be given out t o be done a t home.
A p p l i c a t i o n to a n d cooperation w i t h Federal and State agencies dealing with
labor and conditions o f employment.

COMMENT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The year 1931-32 has been the busiest in the history of the
Women's Bureau. A t this time of a nation-wide depression it is
more important than ever before to study the many-sided problems
that confront the workers of our country. Not the least of these
are the problems of women workers. The Bureau of the Census
reports that i n 1930 we had nearly 11,000,000 gainfully employed
women, an increase of two and one-fifth millions since the census of
1920. This means that of every nine employed persons two are
women. Their importance to our Nation's welfare, their importance
to their families, and the families' importance to the Nation can
hardly be overestimated. A n d there is no other bureau i n the Government concerned with the welfare of women workers as is the
Women's Bureau. The bureau feels, therefore, that i t must pursue
vigorously the investigations that are being made and inaugurate
others on the many-sided problems that working women are facing.
Men out of work organize and dramatize their misfortunes more
strikingly than do women. Crowded flop houses, bread lines, unemployment demonstrations—these draw direct attention to urgent
needs. I t is not so with women. Scattered stories of jobless women
whose children are underfed and insufficiently clothed, whose homes
are without fuel i n winter, reach public ears. But this sort of
poverty has always existed to a greater or less degree. These things
have not the power to stir the mass imagination as does the plight
of unemployed men.
The problems of women wage earners that have arisen out of
the present economic crisis must be studied i n conjunction with
those of men wage earners and industrial and financial conditions.
The double wage standard, the compulsion of women to accept jobs
with a pay scale below that of men doing similar work, has proved
particularly serious in the past two years, with considerable cuts in
women's pay tending to drag men's wages to lower levels than before.
We have seen the workers' wages—^that important keystone i n the
arch of prosperity—dealt a serious blow, and we have witnessed an
inevitable toppling of our whole economic structure.
As we look for underlying causes of the crisis, it is apparent that
there has been in the past more interest i n machines than i n men
and women. Progress i n human relations in industry has lagged
considerably behind technical progress. There is a growing realization of the need to develop a more social procedure for combining
increased production with the greatest welfare of the human e l e m e n t .
The study of human waste in industry, begun by the Women's
Bureau i n 1930, has many sides and should be pursued diligently.
Since skill and the work of individuals i n industry have been largely
eliminated by machinery, speed having replaced skill, women are
engaged more extensively in the occupations classed as repetitive and



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EEPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E W O M E N " ' s

BUREAU

peculiarly susceptible to the speeding-up system. The effect on the
individual of such speeding should be made clear, i n order that
proper methods may be devised and installed to Mevent the early
impairment of the workers' productive capacity. Fatigue resulting
from speed and monotony or from other undesirable working conditions should be investigated, as should the unemployment or part-time
Avork resulting, and through such investigations these conditions
should become thoroughly understood by the public. The long working day and week, stul the practice i n the woman-employing industries, should be continually mvestigated and reported upon. During
the depression there has been a great decrease in wages paid to
women. Wages that never were high have been cut by part time,
and even in full-time work a tremendous decrease in the weekly wage
has taken place. A continued watchfulness on this question should
be carried on by the bureau. The need to guarantee economic security, both to the individual and to the family, has crystallized into an
urgent problem to-day and into a definite challenge to our present
civilization.
W i t h the home maker's rendering of services paid for in wages,
salaries, or fees, her economic status has changed, and i t should
change even more i f we are to arrive at a better adjustment of women
in the modern economic world. This situation does not mean that
women are necessarily displacing men as workers. There has always
been a division of labor between the sexes. There has always been a
sharing of economic responsibility to the family by the men and
women within its circle. As methods of work change with a changing civilization i t is a question of adjustment of the sexes to the
required work of the world. I t is of interest perhaps to stress a fact,
often overlooked, that men have been steadily taking women's jobs
from them in developing home industries into mechanized processes.
Thus men take jobs from women, and women take jobs from men,
and machines undermine the economic status of both.
The economic status of the married woman wage earner is rendered
more unstable than that of other women workers partly because of
the widespread tendency to challenge her right to work and therefore
to discriminate against her. This principle causes hardships not
only to the women but to their families, especially i f in time of depression and widespread unemplo3anent i t results i n wholesale dismissal of married women without careful investigation.
For several j m r s now the bureau's recommendations have contained a suggestion for a study of women's posture at work, including
the possibility of combining a fair degree of comfort with unhampered efficiency i n a chair of practical design and inexpensive construction. Machines are being designed constantly without any
consideration for the operator's comfort, though attention to this
matter would add little to the cost of installation.
Respectfully submitted.
M A R T A N D E R S O N , Director.




O

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