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s«le by the Superintendent of Document*. Wwhington, D. C,

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Women's earnings in the cotton-textile industry
Standards for the employment of women
Labor legislation during the past year
State study—Florida
Special studies
Women in limited-price chain department stores
Conditions for women in laundries
Variations in employment trends of women and m e n
Negro women i n industry in 16 States
Conditions of work in spin rooms
Causes of absence for men and for women in four cotton mills
Library research
W h a t the wage-earning woman contributes to family support
W h y married women work
Wonaen workers on part time
Textile manufacturing i n Women's Bureau surveys
Industrial accidents as reported by States
Industrial home work
Selected reading Usts
Division of public i n f o r m a t i o n .
Comment and recommendations
Married women i n industry
Occupational hazards
The'piecework^ system
Posture a t work
Women i n semiprofessional and professional pursuita
H u m a n waste i n industry





WashingtoTi^ July 15^ 1929.
H o n . JAMES J . DAVIS,

Secretary of Labor.
SIR: The eleventh annual report of the Women's Bureau, for the
fiscal year ended June 30,1929, is submitted herewith.
The Women's Bureau has completed during the year 1928-29 several different types of studies of wage-earning women, including a
survey of a State—^Florida; of an industry—^laundries; and of employment trends—in Ohio; besides assembling, in one report, data
collected by the bureau in various States and at various times, done
in the case of negro women and of women i n 5-10-and-25-cent stores
and developed into reports that constitute important contributions
to the literature on these two subjects.
The bulletins issued from the press this year aggregate more than
i 1,400 pages, and 300 pages more have been seen through the various
stages of printing but are not ready for release. Several reports are
in manuscript form and others are in process of preparation. The
statistical force is engaged i n tabulating the data on women i n
meat-packing plants and in Hawaiian pineapple canneries; the field
force is securing figures on output in relation to hours i n various
industries, and on conditions in the cigar industry. Data on existing and former scheduled hours in the industrial establishments of
Indiana, collected by the industrial board of that State, have been
tabulated by the statistical force of the bureau, as have almost a
thousand domestic-service questionnaires made , out by Philadelphia
housewives for the women's problems group of the social order
committee of the Society of Friends. Other fines of work are mentioned in subsequent pages of this report.
The year has been prolific i n congresses or conferences of importance to working women, i n many of which the Women's Bureau has
participated (see p. 22). ,
A n attractive and informative exhibit, depicting women's wageearning activities in the United States, has been sent to Seville for
the Iberian-American Exposition. Another accomplishment of the



year was the preparation of a motion picture showing the origin,
history, and methods of work of the Women's Bureau itself.
The Kews Letter, reporting current events relating to wag'eearning women, has been issued periodically during the year.
The subject of conditions of employment in the textile industry,
always of interest and importance, is much in the public mind at
the moment on account of the recent labor disturbances in certain
Because of this interest the bureau assembled, as described elsewhere in this report, such data from its State surveys as had to do
with the hours and earnings of women in the various branches of
textile manufacture.
I n a desire to leam from so reliable a source as the Bureau of
Labor Statistics something'of the comparative earnings of women
in the cotton-textile industry over a period of years, the series of
studies "Wages and Hours of L a b o r " has been consulted,^ with interesting results that may be summarized as follows:
Pay-roll figures of women's earnings in cotton manufacturing
were secured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics—
I n 1924 for 33,000 women in 114 establishments in 12 States.
I n 1926 for 36,000 women in 151 establishments in 12 States.
I n 1928 for 38,000 women in 158 establishments in 11 States.
Data for a few hundred women were secured in Pennsvlvania in
1924 and 1926, but this State was not visited in 1928. The other
] 1 States were the same in the three years. These are Alabama,
Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New
York, North Carolina, Khode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia.
These 11 States are so thoroughly representative of the industry
that in 1925 they employed 88.5 per cent of all the wage earners engaged in cotton manufacturing in the United States. The employees
whose earnings were secured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in
1928 comprised 21.2 per cent of all the cotton-mill employees reported in those States by the census of 1925, or almost 1 in 5 (18.8
per cent) of all such employees in the United States.
For the present inquiry, only the earnings of the women surveyed
have been taken into consideration. The average full-time earnings
Der week were found to be—
I n 1924, $17.94.
I n 1926, $15.89 (a decrease of 11.4 per cent from 1924).
I n 1928, $15.66 (a decrease of 12.7 per cent from 1924).
I n view of the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported, for the United States as a whole, only a very slight change
in the cost of living during these four years—in fact, from June to
June there was an increase of 0.5 per cent—a decline of nearly 13
per cent i n earnings can not have been a matter of indifference.
1 Specifically Bui. 371, Wages and Hours of Labor i n Cotton-Gooda Manufacturing, 1924;
~Bul. 446. Wages and Hours of Labor i n Cotton-Goods Manufacturing, 1910 to 1926; and,
i n the Monthly Labor Review for October, 1928, Wages and Hours of Labor i n CottonGoods Manufacturing, 1928.





Not one of the 12 occupations for which women's earnings are
reported i n 1928 escaped a decline from the 1924 wage figure: 10,400
spinners; 8,100 weavers; 8,900 tenders of various kinds of machines;
doffers, tiers-in, inspectors, and thousands in occupations not specified—each group shows an average for the week scheduled i n 1928
lower than the average for the week scheduled in 1924, the decreases
ranging from 2.5 per cent to 14.9 per cent, according to occupation.
The more than 10,000 spinners had a decline of 13.8 per cent in
earnings, and the 8,100 weavers had a decline of 12.8 per cent.
Since all occupations appear to have fared alike, what is the
situation as regards the various States ? W i t h industrial experience
less in the South than in the North by at least a half century; with
quality of product very different in the two sections; with character
of the labor force utterly dissimilar; with company housing common
in one section and largely eliminated in the other; and with certain
other noncomparable conditions—it is not surprising that the wage
scales also are far from alike. The Bureau of Labor Statistics
reports of wages and hours of labor whose figures constitute the
basis of these comments show that average full-time earnings of
women cotton-mill employees changed in the various States i n the
four-year period as follows:
Southern States.
A l a b a m a — f r o m $11.37
Georgia—from $12.82 i n
North Carolina—from
per cent.
South CaroUna—from
per cent.

i n 1924 to $11.88 i n 1928, an advance of 4.5 per
1924 t o $12.77 i n 1928, a decUne of 0.4 per cent.
$15.54 I n 1924 to $14.62 i n 1928, a decUne of 5.9
$12.87 i n 1924 to $12.32 i n 1928, a decUne of 4.3

V i r g i n i a — f r o m $17.98 i n 1924 to $14.99 i n 1928, a decline of 16.6 per cent.
N o r t h e r n States.
Connecticut—from $20.50 i n 1924 to $17.85 i n 1928, a decline of 12.9 per
M a i n e — f r o m $18.59 i n 1924 t o $15.71 i n 1928, a decline of 15.5 per cent.
Massachusetts—from $20.68 m 1924 to $16.91 i n 1928, a decline of 18.2
per cent.
New H a m p s h i r e — f r o m $28.72 i n 1924 t o $20.31 i n 1928, a decline of 14.4
per cent.
New Y o r k — f r o m $21.66 i n 1924 to $18.15 i n 1928, a decline of 16.2 per cent.
Rhode I s l a n d — f r o m $21.64 i n 1924 t o $19.47 i n 1928, a decline of 10 per cent.

A glance at these and more detailed figures shows that in the
Carolina^, Alabama, and Georgia the level of wages fell little or
not at all between 1924 and 1928, whereas the 18,000 women reported
in the northern States surveyed had weekly earnings in 1928 two to
four dollars—10 to 18 per cent—less than earnings in the same
occupations in 1924. As a result, for these six northern States combined, women's earnings, which had been 54.5 per cent greater than
earnings i n the South in 1924, were only 33.5 per cent greater than
earnings in the South in 1928. This lessening of the differential
between the two sections by a decline i n the North instead of an
advance in the South worked to the great disadvantage of women's
earnings i n the industry as a whole, since the southern scale itself
was on a lower level at the end of the four years and, according
to the census of 1920, more women were employed in the North than
in the South.


The bureau continues to recommend its reasonable standards of
hours, wages, working conditions, and employment relations, and
feels a growing confidence i n its ability to furnish guidance and be
of genuine assistance i n putting such suggestions into practice.
These standards, agreed upon for the employment of women on Government contracts during the war and indorsed by representative
employers and working women alike, are briefly as follows:
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 o f women between m i d n i g h t and 6 a. m.
Kates based on occupation and not on sex n o r race, t h e m i n i m u m to cover
cost of h e a l t h f u l a n d decent l i v i n g and t o a l l o w f o r dependents.

Working conditions.
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 off
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 sitting.
Prevention of overstrain and of overexposure to dust, fumes, poisons, extremes
of temperature.
S a n i t a r y d r i n k i n g and washing facilities.
Dressing rooms, rest rooms, lunch rooms.
Adequate toilet arrangements—one toilet to each 15 workers.
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 and as employment executives where women
are employed.
Provision f o r workers to share i n control of conditions of employment.
O p p o r t u n i t y f o r workers to 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 to women t h a n to men.
N o w o r k to be given out to be done at 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
w i t h labor and conditions of employment

Although efforts were made in a number of States during the legislative season of 1928-29 to enact new labor laws for women, or to
amend old ones, few of those efforts were successful. Bills amending
existing hour laws were before the legislatures of Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and "West Virginia.
I n all States but California and Texas, however, these failed of
passage. I n California the coverage of the 8-hour law was extended,
and its enforcement provisions were amended; i n Texas new exemptions were added to the hour law. Minimum-wage measures were



introduced in New York and Utah and an amendment to the Minnesota minimum-wage law also was introduced and rejected.
Effort was made in Massachusetts to place all manufacturing
plants on a pai' with textile mills by prohibiting night work for
women after 6 o'clock instead of after 10 as the law now provides
for factories other than textile. Bills prohibiting the employment
of women at night were introduced in the legislatures of New
Hampshire and Ehode Island. I n New York a bill to permit the
employment of waitresses in the larger cities between 10 p. m. and
6 a. m. was killed in committee in both houses of the legislature.
I n California the law regarding heavy weights was amended by
reducing to 50 pounds the maximum weight that women are permitted to l i f t and a new provision was added that waitresses shall
not be required to carry trays weighing 10 pounds or more up or
down stairs that rise more than 5 feet.
A n industrial commission was created in Massachusetts by one
act and by another was specially directed to investigate conditions
in textile manufacturing and unemployment in textile and other
industries. New York abolished its industrial survey commission
and New Jersey created a new bureau of women and children within
the State department of labor, the director to be a woman appointed
by the commissioner of labor. This bureau is authorized to make
studies and investigations of special problems connected with the
labor of women and children and to enforce the laws, rules, and
regulations governing their employment.
Besides legislative enactments several important decisions have
been rendered upholding State laws or affecting their application.
For example, the constitutionality of the North Dakota houf law for
women and the right of the California Industrial Welfare Commission to set overtime rates of pay in industries exempt from the
women's 8-hour law have been sustained by local courts. I n New
York, i n a question involving the overtime provisions of the 48hour law—^which in one section permits 9 hours on 5 days of the
week, with
hours on the sixth day, and in another section provides for overtime to the extent of 78 hours in any calendar year—
the attorney general of that State ruled that, unless a short day of
4 ^ hours is allowed during the week, all hours beyond 8 on other
days must be considered part of the yearly overtime allowance of
78 hours. This decision has since been nullified, however, by the
appellate division of the supreme court in the first department, that
court holding that an employer may distribute the 78 hours of overtime as he pleases i f he posts the schedule of hours J n advance as
the law requires. I t is understood that the question w i l l be taken
to the court of appeals by the New York State Department of
A survey of the hours, earnings, and conditions of work of wageearning women i n Florida, made at the request of the governor of
the State and of the Florida League of Women Voters, constitutes
the nineteenth State survey made by the Women's Bureau during its
11 years' existence.



"According to the census of 1920 Florida is not one of the large
industrial States in the country nor does i t fall i n the first industrial
rank in the South; nevertheless, the special character of the problems confronting its wage-earning women is indicated by the fact
that the industries in the State are markedly seasonal and therefore
tend to cause serious fluctuations in employment.
The 1920 census shows that a considerable proportion of the wageearning population of Florida is concentrated in the four chief
cities, which are i n different sections of the State—Jacksonville,
Tampa, Miami, and Pensacola—and in industrial character Tampa
differs considerably from the other three. I n Tampa more than 40
per cent of the women employed in 1920 were in manufacturing and
..ess than 40 per cent were i n domestic and personal service; in each
of the other three cities less than 10 per cent were in manufacturing
and more than 60 per ceiit were in domestic and personal service.
The survey made by the Women's Bureau covered 18 towns or
cities and included 1,412 women in 63 hotels and restaurants and
6,432 in 100 other establishments. About three-fourths of the women
studied were white, although only about two-fifths of all Florida
women gainfully employed i n 1920 were of this race. I n general,
the industrial distribution of the workers included in the survey
of Florida was as follows:
Hotels and restaurants
The manufacture o f —
Food products
Wooden boxes

946 w h i t e and 46G negro women.
247 w h i t e and 713 negro women.
1,620 w h i t e women.
2,680 w h i t e a n d 155 negro women.
105 w h i t e and 553 negro women.
295 w h i t e women.

I t is obvious that the migrations of tourists and of persons owning
winter homes must influence business and employment in hotels and
restaurants, laundries, and stores, but the tourist trade is less likely
to affect the other industries that engage large numbers of women in
Florida—cigar making and, to a less extent, the food industries—•
and these, too, show decided seasonal fluctuations.
The hours of work for women in Florida.were.found to be Ipng—
more than 9 hours daily for nearly 30 per cent of the white women
studied i n manufacturing, stores, and laundries, including 15.3 per
cent who had a day of 10 hours or more. Somewhat less than 80 per
cent of those reported had a Aveek of over 50 hours, including 35 per
cent with a schedule of more than 54 hours. A week of over 54 hours
was scheduled for 40.3 per cent of the women in cigar factories, 42.3
cent of those in laundries, and 84.5 per cent of those in 5-and-lO-cent
stores. The day i n hotels and restaurants was very irregular, and
over nine-tenths of the white women reported had to work 7 days i n
the week; 17.8 per cent had a schedule of over 60 actual working
hours during the week, including more than half the kitchen helpers,
a t h i r d of those in laundries, more than a sixth of the waitresses, and
a small proportion of the maids, A few waitresses and kitchen
helpers had a week of 80 hours or longer. Of the white women employed in hotels and restaurants that were open only during the
tourist season 15.6 per cent had a week of over 60 hours; in yearround establishments 24.5 per cent had such a schedule.
Over half the negro women i n the manufacturing industries and
laundries and 14.6 per cent of those i n hotels and restaurants had a



week of over 60 hours, and a schedule of such length applied to 21.9
per cent of those in seasonal and 10.8 per cent of those in year-round
hotels and restaurants.
For 4,425 white women, the median of the week's earnings—onehalf earning more, one-half earning less, than the figure given—was
$15; that for 2,824 full-time workers was $15.60. The highest median
was $18.10, for saleswomen in general mercantile establishments; the
lowest, $9.35 for women in certain food products. For the largest
manufacturing group, women in cigar making, the median was $16.65.
Those in laundries had a median of $12.30, in bread and bakery products $11.30, in wooden-box malring $11.05, and in 5-and-lO-cent stores
$10.05. The median for 940 white Avomen in hotels and restaurants,
largely waitresses, was $7.05, and of these 85.9 per cent—including
over 90 per cent of those in seasonal and over 65 per cent of those in
year-round establishments—were furnished with board, lodging, or
both. While those who did not receive room or meals were paid at a
higher rate, there appeared to be no regular standard based on the
amount of accommodation furnished by the employer.
The median of the w^eek's earnings of 1,266 negro women in manufacturing and laundries was $6.65. The highest median was $7.85 for
those in laundries, the lowest $3.60 for those in miscellaneous food
products, and that for cigar makers was $7.10. The median for negro
women in hotels and restaurants, largely maids, was $8.80, and 42.9
per cent of those reported—^including over 85 per cent of those in
seasonal and over 20 per cent of those in year-round establishmentshad some accommodation provided.
A preliminary summary of the findings of the Florida survey has
been distributed, and a complete report for publication is being
Women in litnited-price chain department stores.
A study has been made of the women working i n a type of chain
store in which large numbers are employed—^the limited-price chain
department store. Facts have been assembled from the bureau bulletms of State surveys for well over 5,000 women in 253 stores,
including, for various numbers of women, scheduled hours of work,
earnings, age, marital status, living condition, and length of time in
the trade. The women studied were in establishments in the following 18 States: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, I l linois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri,
New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Ehode Island, South Carolina, and
Tennessee. Most of them were in 5-and-lO-cent or 5-10-and-25-cent
stores, a very few were selling goods up to 50 cents or a dollar. The
majority were in the stores of five important chains, but a few were
in independent establishments.
Because the dates of the various surveys extended over a number
of years, the information on earnings has been supplemented by
securing pay-roll figures in 1928, in most cases for a week in October.
Such data were obtained for 6,061 women in 179 establishments in
18 States and 5 additional cities. Of these women, well over one-half
(56 per cent) were employed in the same States, in most cases in the
same cities, for which earnings had been reported in the earlier surveys, many identical establishments being included. I n addition to



the 6,000 full-time employees, earnings were ascertained for 1,776
women whose regular work was on Saturdays only.
The numbers of women for whom various types of information
were reported are as follows:
Scheduled d a i l y and weekly hours
Scheduled Saturday hours
M a r i t a l status
L i v i n g condition
T i m e i n the trade
Earnings, State surveys, 1920 to 1925
E a r n i n g s i n 1928

5,224 women i n
5 ^ 1 9 women i n
3,086 women i n
2,938 women i n
3,047 women i n
2,730 women i n
3,344 women i n
6,061 women i n
and 5 cities.



Most of the women in these stores were American
and, as would be expected, they were very young, nearly 60 per cent
being under 20 years of age and more than one-fourth under 18. I n
12 States more than one-half, and i n 3 States nearly one-half, were
under 20. Only about 1 in 6 was 25 years of age or more, and only
1 in 31 was as much as 40.
Of those reporting marital status, 82.1 per cent were single, but in
one State more than a third and in four other States about a fourth
were or had been married. Of those reporting living condition,
92 per cent lived at home or with relatives. I n one State the daU
showed the relationship of the women to those with whom they lived,
and here more than 85 per cent of those with relatives were daughters
living at home. I n this connection the fact must not be lost sight
of that studies of unmarried women living at home invariably show
that a large proportion—often a considerable majority—^must contribute to the support of others besides themselves in order to maintain the family at a reasonably satisfactory standard of living.
That the limited-price store has a labor force that changes rapidly
is indicated by the fact that more than 40 per cent of the girls reporting time in the trade had been in the industrv for less than a year,
about a fourth having experience of less than six months. Not
quite a fourth had been in the trade one and under two years, and
less than 10 per cent had worked five years or longer.
Scheduled howrs,—^Hour schedules were reported for 5,224 women,
nearly 40 per cent of whom had a day of 8 hours or less. I n six
States from 60 to.100 per cent of the women had a day of 9 hours;
for all States combined 30.6 per cent had a 9-hour day.
I n the limited-price stores weekly hours are of greater significance than are daily hours, as Saturday is almost always the big
trading day and i t is usual to keep the stores open longer than on
other days. Reasonable daily hours are of especial importance in
an industry in which there is no Saturday half holiday for recuperation from the cumulative fatigue ordinarily caused by too long a
daily schedule; and this is of particular concern to society i n a case
in which so many women who are quite young are engaged, since a
constant drain on their phvsical powers is the more likely to be communicated to the race. About a fourth of the women reporting had
a schedule of 10 hours on Saturday, more than a fifth had a day of
over 10 and under 12 hours, and 8 per centn-more than 400 women
in five States—^had a Saturday of 12 hours or more.
Not quite 6 per cent of the women reporting had a weekly schedule
of 48 hours or less, roughly the equivalent of 8 hours on six days



of the week. About 12 per cent had a week of 54 hours—^the equivalent of six 9-hour days. One in four of the women had a schedule
of over 54 hours, close to one in six having hours of between 55 and
60. There were considerable differences among the States in the
length of the week: I n eight States two-thirds or more of the women
had a week of 52 hours or less, while in three States three-fourths
or more had a week in excess of 54 hours.
When weekly hours were compared with the legal requirements in
the States studied, i t was found that many limited-price stores were
well ahead of the weekly-hour laws in the shortening of hours for
their employees. I n one State in which the legal maximum was 50
hours, less than a fourth of the women reported had a week as long
as this. I n five States in which the law restricted hours to nine
daily with a weekly limit, over 60 per cent of the women had a
schedule shorter than the maximum permitted. Hour schedules
shorter than the legal maximum had been introduced into many of
the stores of each of the five large chains studied—the proportion of
the women affected by this shortening of hours ranging from somewhat less than one-half to three-fifths of those reporting in a single
Earnings.—^The earnings during a week in the last quarter of 1928,
taken for 6,061 women in 18 States and 5 additional cities, showed
that 7 per cent of the women earned $18 or more. Seventy per cent
of the total received less than $15, over 40 per cent less than $12,
and over 25 per cent less than $10. For all the women studied
the median—one-half earning more, one-half less—^was $12.
Medians in the various States differed greatly, running as high as
$16 i n California, the minimum permitted by law for experienced
workers in that State, and as high as $15 i n Michigan, $14 in Kentucky, in each of which figures were based upon women i n stores
in the largest cities i n the State, and running as low as $9 i n six
States—Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, and
Tennessee—and below that i n Maryland. I n the five additional
cities median earnings were $12 in Boston, $13 in Indianapolis, $14 i n
New York and Milwaukee, and $18 i n Chicago. Girls who worked
only on Saturday were paid from $1 to $3.50.
Women reported as working on six days i n the week probably
are the steadiest and most responsible; of these, the largest groups in
four States earned $10 and under $12, i n five States $12 and under
$15, and i n two States $15 and under $18.
I n its wage surveys the Women's Bureau always inquires into
rates as well as actual earnings. I n 14 States and 5 cities i n the
present study the median of the rates was the same as the median
of the earnings. I n four States—^Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, and
South Carolina—earnings were less than rates, in two States by as
much as 10 per cent. From the fibres available there was some
indication of vari'ation among the different chains i n the standards
of the rates they fixed.
Much larger proportions of the women employed i n the larger
cities than of those in the smaller towns had high rates of pay, but
it must be remembered that living costs may be higher i n the larger
places. The medians of the rates among cities of 100,000 population
or less varied by no more than 6 per cent; among cities of over
100,000 they varied by about 15 per cent; but between the two




classes, cities of 60,000 and under 100,000 and cities of 100,000 and
under 500,000, there was a difference of 30 per cent in the medians
of rates.
I n a few States the data secured give valid bases for comparisons
of earnings in 1928 with earnings in 1921 and 1925; some reduction
is shown in 1928 in the proportions of women receiving the lowest
amounts, but no positive indication is given of a general increase in
the groups having rates or earnings in the h^hest ranges.
I n the figures assembled from the various State surveys, earnings
ordinarily showed increase with length of service, although in most
cases not an increase proportional to the period of years worked.
Of the women who had been in the trade less, than a year, about a
fourth were paid $10 or more, though none received as much as $15.
Of the women in the trade 5 and under 10 years more than threefourths received $10 or more and nearly a fifth earned as much,as $15.
I n 14 States, studied from late 1920 to early 1925, earnings for the
year were ascertained for all women who-had been with the firm
during the year preceding the survey. Naturally such women were
the steadiest and most responsible workers, and their earnings may
be taken as indicative of the best possibilities for the locality and the
time of study. The medians were highest—from $613 to $667—in
Ohio, Missouri^ and New Jersey, despite the fact that these States
were surveyed just after an period, so that a good
deal of the time represented by these.figures was during depression.
The lowest median—^$431—was in Mississippi in 1924; the nest was
i n Alabama, studied early 1922, the figure being $438; and the
next—$460—was i n Kansas in 1920.
While each industry has proWems peculiar to itself and in some
cases inherent in the organization, some comparison may be made of
earnings in limited-price stores .with those in other chief industries in
each of the 15 States in which earnings were taken at various times
from 1920 to 1928. Such, a comparison shows that the median of the
week's earnings in limited-price stores was below that of any other
industry in four States, next to the lowest in five States, and m the
remaining six States was from 8.4 to 20.9 per cent above the lowefet
median for any industry; it was from 53.7 to 37.7 per cent below the
highest median for .any industry i n each of these States. While it
must be remembered that the limited-price department store has to
contend with inexperienced and shifting labor, and that some chains
endeavor to mitigate in a small degree the low wage by some form of
bonus or vacation system, nevertheless there is no question that the
standards of payment are very low indeed in comparison with those
in many of the other industries i n whatever State or year studied.
While these stores sell cheaply, i t is acknowledged that the large and
rapid turnover of goods and other economies of organization have
a large part i n making this possible, the payment of a low wage to an
untrained sales force being only a contributing factor.
Conditions for women in laundries.
One of the major woman-employing industries of the country is the
laundry. The rapid growth of the laundry industry in size and efficiency and its importance to the woman worker and to the public
were considered to warrant a survey, and with the cordial cooperation



of the Laundryowners' National Association such a survey was made
and the report is in preparation for printing. The study covers
hours, earnings, working conditions, and certain personal information supplied by the women laundry workers themselves.
Eecords were obtained from 290 of the larger general commercial
laundries, doing as a rule all varieties of work, in 23 cities scattered
throughout 16 States. The employees in these plants numbered 24,337, of whom 19,758, or 81.2 per cent, were women. For the study as a
whole, negroes composed a little more than one-fourth of the women
employed. I n the South more than 4 in 5 were negroes, while on the
Pacific coast there were but 16 in a total of nearly 5,600 women.
The laundry industry is essentially a daylight industry. I n the
290 laundries visited only about 100 women worked at night.
OGcupations,—^Womeii's occupations in laundry work cover almost
every variety of job except those of engineer and driver. Nearly twofifths of the white women were on flat ironers, as shakers, feeders, or
.folders, and the next largest group was that of the markers and sorters. The negro women were found in practically every occupation
where white women were employed, but the proportions in the difFerent occupations varied. Pressing and ironing occupied a large group
of negro women, while a much smaller per cent than in the case of the
white women were employed as markers and sorters.
Hours,—Taking the entire group of women, the most common
schedule of weekly hours was 48. This was not typical of the country as a whole, but was the prevailing schedule m the eastern and
western sections, in which respectively 44 and 96.5 per cent of the
women were reported as having a schedule of 48 hours. I n the
central or middle western cities, about 41 per cent of the women
had schedules of 50 and under 52 hours, principally 50 hours, and
in the southern cities about 41 per cent had schedules of over 50
and under 54 hours, the majority 52 hours and more.
W i t h i n the plants there was considerable variation i n scheduled
daily hours according to occupation, but selecting the most general
hours for each plant, the most common daily schedules were found
to be 9 hours, reported for 32 per cent of the women, and 8 hours
,or less, reported for 30.3 per cent. Like weekly hours, the daily
schedule varied widely in the different sections of the country.
A half day on Saturday is less generally accepted in the laundry
industry than in manufacturing. The compilation shows that 41.6
per cent of the women had a Saturday schedule of S to 10 hours.
This is largely due to the Pacific coast laundries working 8, hours
on Saturday as on other days, only two of the plants scheduled in
that part of the country reducing hours on Saturday.
A half hour was the most common lunch period, reported for
more than 60 per cent of the women.
I n regard to the actual hours worked, about 70 per cent of the
women had worked 48 hours or more, or on 5 days or more, in the
week for which records were copied. F u l l scheduled hours had
been worked by 50 per cent of the white and 29 per cent of the
negro women. About 40 per cent of the white and over 50 per cent
of the negro women had lost some time during the week, while 10
per cent of the white women and about 20 per cent of the negroes
had worked overtime.




Earnings,—^Wage records were obtained for 19,180 women. Over
two-fifths of the white women earned $15 and under $20, the
median—one-half earning more and one-half earning less—being
$16.10. Almost three-fifths of the negro women had earnings under
$10, the median for all the women reported being $8.85. The 16
negro women in the laundries scheduled on the Pacific coast had
earnings very similar to those of white women. Here 57.3 per cent
of the 5,564 white women earned $15 and under $20 and 27.2 per
cent had earnings over $20.
For the 23 cities the range of the medians, $6.75 to $20.70 in a
single industry, is unusual and significant. The medians of the
white women were from $11.95 to $20.70, and the medians of the
negro women from $6.45 to $17.50.
I n the four chief departments or occupations the medians of the
earnings of white women were as follows: Mark and sort, $17.35;
flat work, $14.55; hand iron, $16.60; and press, $16.70. For the
negro women they were: Mark and sort, $11.90; fiat work, $8.65;
hand iron, $7.95; and press, $9.50. I n these occupations the earnings of pieceworkers exceeded those of timeworkers in varying degrees. The median of the earnings of full-time workers was $17.30
for the white women and $8.45 for the negro.
For those reporting rates, the median for the timeworkers was
$16.50 for the white women and $9.25 for the negro women.
Conditions of work.—Conditions under which the women in laundries did their work also were considered in this study. Lighting
was satisfactory in more than half the plants, but in one-third of the
laundries visited no means of artificial ventilation was found.
About 10 per cent of the laundries had hoods with exhausts over
their flat ironers and more than one-half of those with hot tumblers
and 11 per cent of those with drying rooms were equipped w i t h
Sanitary facilities were fairly satisfactory, although only 27 laundries had bubblers in which the water did not fall back on the orifice
and more than a fifth used common drinking cups. Two-fifths of the
plants had insufiicient toilet accommodations.
The majority of the laundries had protection against accidents,,
w i t h machines well guarded and floors in good condition, but stairs
were in bad repair in 30 plants and the construction of stairways
was unsatisfactory in 76.
Personal informMion,—Over four-fifths of the 18,369 women reporting personal information were native born, and Mexico and
Canada furnished the largest groups of the foreign bom.
Less than 15 per cent of the women who reported their ages were
under 20 years, and nearly a fourth (23.7 per cent) were over 40
years of age. One-fourth of the women were widowed, separated,,
or divorced, and about 43 per cent were married.
Of the 1,851 women reporting reason for working, considerably
more than 90 per cent reported necessity as the cause. More than,
two-fifths of the women had been i n the laundry industry off and on
for 5 years or more and about one-eighth had been doing laundry^
work for 15 years or more. About 30 per cent of the women reportins: had wo rked i n laundries only. Of 740' expressing a preference,
587 preferred laundry work to other employment. Many of these



women said the better hours and better pay were the cause of such
preference, though more than half of the women preferring other
industries gave the lower rates in laundries as the reason for their
preferring other work.
Variations in employment trends of women and men.
The purpose of this study, made at the request of the committee on
governmental labor statistics of the American Statistical Association, was to provide some basis for guiding policies as to whether
employment figures should be collected and presented separately for
each sex.
The figures presented i n the discussion show the trends of employment for women and for men in Ohio in 54 industrial or occupational
classifications over a period of 11 years, 1914 to 1924. For each of
the classifications curves have been drawn that show graphically
when and to what extent trends for the two sexes have differed or
Taldng them in all, perhaps the most striking fact about the curves
is the extent to which they indicate similarity in the trends of employment for women and men. However^ there are certain periods
of economic disturbance or stimulation wnere the course of employment for women and men has taken very divergent paths and the
trends indicated by the total are representative of neither women's
nor men's employment, but illustrate the neutralizing effect of combining the figures for the two sexes when the trends of their employment are in opposite directions..
Furthermore, there are certain occupational concentrations for
each sex that may result in extreme similarities or differences in the
course of employment. I t is the significance and extent of these differences and similarities that are of foremost importance in estimating the validity for each sex of the trends indicated by the figures
showing totals and not differentiating by sex.
There are four main types of differences between the two sexes
that appear in the curves presented as illustrations. The first, and
probably the most significant to women, is the difference i n the
ong-term trends. I n many of the classifications the figures when
separated by sex show a distinct tendency toward an increasing importance of women throughout the 11-year period under consideration. I n a few classifications apparently there has been a decrease
in women's importance, but this is not nearly so often the case.
Another kind of difference between the trends for women and
men is found in certain of the classifications that are affected
by seasonal problems. I n some of these there is a distinct seasonal
trend for women and not for men, in others the seasonal trend for
men is more extreme than that for women.
A t h i r d type of difference is that caused by some economic situation, such as the war or the depression of 1920-21, and a fourth
is seen as the result of strikes that may affect women or men or
I n the analysis of the charts the effort has been made to discover
how the resemblance between the curve for each sex and the curve
for the total is affected by the size of the classification; h j the scope
of the industries and occupations included; by the relative impor




tance of the two sexes; by the seasonal requirements of the industries included; by the developments within industry leading to
changes in product and methods of production; by the concentration
of one or the other sex in certain definite occupational lines; by the
influence of general economic conditions, such as the war or the
depression of 1920-21; or by local situation, such as strikes, affecting
more limited groups included in the classification. I f certain of
these factors can be shown to have a consistent and predictable effect
upon the resemblance between the trends for the two sexes and that
for the total i t may be possible to accept as accurate the indications
of the total, making such qualifications fpr either sex as the type
of the classification and the period under discussion may require.
I f this can not be done, i f the effect of these various factors is so
erratic as to permit no generalization, the only alternative w i l l be to
require employment figures separately for each sex i f the significant
trends of women's employment are to be made clear.
Though employment figures from only one State, and for only 11
years, can not be considered sufficiently comprehensive to form a
basis for general conclusions, they serve to indicate probabilities that
may be tested by more comprehensive data.
As a general conclusion i t may be said that in most classifications
the curve for all employees appears to be adequately representative
of the long-term trend. I t does, however, fail to show changes in the
relative importance of the two sexes and i t does not show the different influences of seasonal employment.
Negro women in industry in 15 States.
According to the Federal census, more than a million and a half
negro women were gainfully employed in 1920, a decrease of almost
half a million from the figure for 1910. There was a decline i n the
numbers in domestic service, but the reduction was chiefly in agriculture and was due in large part to the fact that the census of 1910
was taken in A p r i l and that of 1920 was taken-in January. I n all
other occupational :groups negro women gained in numbers. The
.proportion in the manufacturing and mechanical industries nearly
doubled, which was in striking contrast to the comparatively slight
gain for women as a whole in these occupations.
^ The industrial advance of the negro woman is shown more vividly
by the following statement: I n 1910, of every 20 employed negro
women, between 10 and 11 were in agriculture, between 8 and 9 were
m domestic and personal service, and 1 was in other lines of work; but
i n 1920, of every 20 negro women between 7 and 8 were in agriculture, 10 were in domestic and personal service, and between 2 and
3 were m other work. Of those in manufacturing in 1920 the largest
numbers were in tobacco, food products, textiles, and wood industries.
Studies made by the Women'^ Bureau have covered more than
17,000 negro women in the following 15 States: Alabama, Arkansas,
Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi,
Missour^ New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and W gmia. Of the women studied, 12,123 were in the manufacturing and
mechanical industries, and the information in the various reports in
regard to their occupational distribution, working hours, earnings,
and personal history has been compiled in one bulletin. The women
in manufacturing included in this compilation comprise 11.5 per cent




1 5

of the number reported by the census of 1920 as engaged in manufacturing. I n the various industries they constitute from a fourth to
more than a third of those reported in 1920 as in the manufacture of
wood products, of hosiery, of tobacco, bags, and waste, and of glass;
and from 28 to 52 per cent of those in three different food industries.
More than half of those included in the study were in tobacco factories. Over 1,000 were in textile mills, nearly 1,000 in the wood
industries, and nearly 900 in meat packing.
Occupational distribution,—Certain of the types of work in which
negro women were found may be said to represent, for them, distinct
if somewhat slow industrial progress. Large numbers were engaged
in sweeping and in cleaning of various kinds and many of these have
been omitted from the present study, since such occupations represent
little industrial advance. , Others worked at tasks that would properly
be classified under general labor. This would include most of the
work done in glass factories, in textiles with the exception of hosiery,
in the wood industries, in tobacco rehandling, and in meat packing,
in the last named of which a third of the women reported worked
with casings and chitterlings; the washing of cans or dishes in
bakeries, canneries, and food establishments; peeling or pitting f r u i t :
cleaning and pressing clothing, done by over half the women reported in clothing establishments; sorting rags in rag and i n paper
factories; and picking out nut meats.
Some women were in employments that represented the carrying
over of the older' traditional occupations into the newer industrial
system, such as certain sewing operations—making alterations to
clothing in stores, mending or catching broken stitches by hand in
hosiery and j^ard-goods factories, pulling bastings, or buttoning shirts
for packing i n clothing plants. More than 400 of those included in
the study were performing operations connected with final preparation for the market,'such, as labeling, stamping, ticketing, inspecting,
counting, checking, sorting, grading, weighing, wrapping, or packing.
These were i n plants manufacturing clothing, drugs and toilet
goods, food products, metal products,,cotton bags, tobacco, and wood
. A considerable number of women operated machines., of various
kinds, many of which involved only simple operations or movements
repeated indefinitely but some requiiung dexterity or a degree of
skill. Nearly two-thirds of the women in metal work were machine
or press operators; about a third of those in clothing factories used
sewing machines, but it was not possible to tell in how many cases
these were power machines. Some of the women in tobacco factories
used stemming machines, but although more than half of those
studied were stemmers or strippers the number using machines could
not be ascertained. I n hosiery mills more than two-fifths of those
reported were looping and seaming and some were spinning. Work
on metal presses, power sewing machines, and loopers and seamers
were some of the most skilled machine processes i n which negro
women were found.
There were a few negro women in supervisory posts or in positions
involving more or less responsibility or special skill. There were two
timekeepers and three supervisors having entire charge of gi'oups of
negro women; there were inspectors, core makers i n metal plants,


and, in one establishment publishing a n e ^ o paper, women were
engaged in all parts of the work, however skilled.
Scheduled Kou^s.—The hours of work usually were long. Nearly
three-fourths of the women reported worked 9 to 10 hours and nearly
7 per cent worked more than 10. Nearly 40 per cent had a week of
55 hours or more, including 6 per cent who worked 60 hours and over,
practically all the latter oeing in tobacco and textiles. States in
which the largest groups had a weekly schedule of 48 hours or less
were New Jersey, Illinois, Kansas, and South Carolina, and those in
which the largest ^ o u p s had a schedule of 55 hours were Mississippi,
Tennessee, and Virginia. Alabama's largest group had a schedule
of 60 hours. - The 8-hour day prevailed in slaughtering and meat
packing and the manufacture of metal products, and it applied to a
considerable group of women in cigar factories. The 10-hour industries were cotton yard goods, tobacco, and the major wood
Earnings.—Earnings ordinarily were low, except i n the case of a
few individuals. Complete State and industrial comparisons could
not be carried out, as the surveys were made in years differing
greatly in industrial activity and stability. I n four States the median
of the week's earnings of all women reported—one-half of the
women earning more, one-half less—was $5.70 or less, in two States
i t was $11.30 or more; medians in the other five States for which
earnings were reported ranged from $6.10 to $8.65. I n tobacco and
in hosiery, median earnings ordinarily exceeded the medians for
the States i n which the industry was found; in other textile industries—bags, waste, and cotton yard goods—medians for the largest
groups fell below those for the State. Omitting the high earnings
i n one industry studied under somewhat artificial conditions i n the
post-war peak period of 1920, the highest medians were $10.80 in
glass factories and $10.20 i n cigar making, each in a State studied
i n 1922. Omitting the industries studied i n years of marked business
depression, in which some earnings were as low as $3 or less, the
lowest medians were $6.55 in a box factory and $5.80 in bag making
in States studied i n 1925. Year's earnings, whether i n a time of depression or one of normal business activity, ran below $300 i n many
cases, but there were a few individual women whose earnings ran
much higher. I n 1922 a hand sewer i n a bag factory was able to
earn during the year as much as $895, and a press operator i n a
metal plant earned $747. I n 1925, a more normal business period, a
twister in a tobacco factory earned $916.
TimefWovk cmd pieceworh.—^In the industries employing the largest
numbers of negro women the system of payment was by timework
for the majority i n slaughtering and meat packing, i n the major
wood industries, i n glass, and i n textiles. I n tobacco and cigars, in
nut plants, and in establishments manufacturing housefurnishiags
the majority were pieceworkers. The earnings of the pieceworkers
presented much greater fluctuations than did those of timeworkers,
and in many occupations some pieceworkers had earnings far below
those of timeworlcers in the same occupation. The industries i n
which timework prevailed provided the worker with an income more
certain and uniform than piecework earnings but at a figure somewhat lower than that possible to a few individuals imder the piece


1 7

work system. ; I n the few cases in which the same occupation was
engaged i n by both timeworkers and pieceworkers, the timeworkers
losing no time bad a median of earnings above that of pieceworkers
as tobacco stemmers and as bag turners, but pieceworkers had higher
earnings than timeworkers as cigar bunchers and stemmers, hosiery
knitters, box stackers, and assemblers in wood plants.
Personal history of the women.—Of the women reporting age, two
in five were between 20 and 30 years and slightly more than a fourth
were between 30 and 40. Except for the women over 60, many of
whom were tobacco stemmers and practically all of whom were in
unskilled work, there was little variation in occupation that could
be attributed to age. Over two-thirds of the women reporting were
or had been man-ied. These were greatly in the majority in the
tobacco and the food industries, while single women formed the
largest groups in the textile and the wood industries.
Some claim for the industrial stability of a considerable proportion
of negro women seems justified from the data obtained. I n every 10
of those whose time in the trade was reported, more than 3 had been
i n the trade for from 2 to 5 years, between 1 and 2 for 5 and under 10
years, and between 1 and 2 for 10 years or longer. The greatest
iitability was shown in tobacco and waste factories, and there was
much in hosiery and in paper mills, in glass factories, and in the
manufacture of wood products.
Conditions of work in spin rooms.
This report consists of two parts: (1) The effect of a change of
method in the spin room on absence and turnover among women
operatives, and (2) temperature readings in 15 mills.
The first of these studies gives a detailed analysis of the records
obtained from four cotton mills in which the new method of operating the spinning frames—a division of labor between spinner and
cleaner—had been introduced. A t the time the records were taken
three of these mills still were operating one or more spin rooms according to the old method. The fourth furnished records for an
<iarly summer and a winter period before and after the new method
had been introduced.
I n general i t may be said that the new method in the spin room
slightly increased the turnover but tended to lessen the time lost.
To disclose to some extent what is being achieved in heat regulation
in cotton mills where careful management is anxious to have the
work run as well as possible is the object of the second study in this
bulletin. To some extent the heat conditions within a plant are
susceptible of modification, and under similar climatic conditions one
plant w i l l keep down its heat while the temperature in another m i l l
registers very high.
Dry-bulb readings and wet-bulb readings for 15 mills—7 in the
^^orth and 8 in the South—and covering various periods from June,
1924, to Kovember, 1927, were reported. For most of these mills
complete temperature readings for a year were available.
Causes of absence for men and for women in fonr cotton mills.
I n a studjr made by the bureau in 1923 the causes of absence
in cotton mills were ascertained for women but not for men.
Interest i n this subject has developed to such an extent that a sup




plemental report, giving comparative data foremen and women,
was thought desirable, and during the past year the bureau has
published in brief form the facts obtained from two northern and
two southern mills that had kept somewhat detailed records of the
absences i n their plants.
The basic data include the daily • reports made by the overseers
of the mills as to the absences in the various departments and the
causes of such absences. These facts were supplemented in three
of the four mills by information furnished by the m i l l nurse regarding the types of illness causing absence. Such familiar terms as
"cold," "sore throat," or "stomach trouble" were used and no
more definite description of the ailments was available. Reports as
to accidents in three plants also were obtained, one of them providing fairly definite information.
I n each of the four mills men comprised about three-fifths of the
force, but in several departments the number of women exceeded
the number of men, this being especially true of the spinning rooms.
I t was in the spinning rooms that the greatest amount of lost time
As in the earlier study, the principal cause of lost time was
the illness of the worker. This is true of the men as well as the
women. The number of days lost through illness was greater for
women than for men, the average in three mills being 2.8 to 5.4 days
for men and 4.8 to 9.8 days for women.
Very little of the lost time in any of the mills was due to accidents.
I n one mill they caused less than 1 per cent of the lost time and in
another the figure was 4 per cent. More men than women lost time
through this cause. Records of accidents as kept by the plant
nurses show very little time lost by either men or women, the largest
proportion being 7.2 per cent for men in one of the mills and 1.8 per
cent for women i n another. Machinery was the principal cause in
both mills reporting this.
I t would appear that lack of work as a cause of absence affected
the women in these mills somewhat more than the men.
" Home duties " and " personal reasons " were causes that differed
only slightly in effect from m i l l to mill but affected women much
more than men. Those mills that reported little time lost because
of lack of work showed a higher percentage of absence for personal
reasons, and those having more time lost because of lack of work
had comparatively little absence due to personal reasons.
Considered in relation to season of the year the greatest amount
of time lost by either men or women occurred in the autumn and
winter, and during the winter months sickness was responsible for
much of the time lost by men and by women.
The vague reasons " let o u t " and " excused " were more general
in these mills in the summer or fall, and though i n most instances
no idea of the real cause of the absence is given these cases may be
regarded as a combination of a desire for a rest or vacation on the
part of the worker and a willingness on the part of the management
that such rest or vacation should be taken.
From the reports of the m i l l nurses i t appears that for men and
for women the greatest number of cases of illness and of days lost
through illness were caused by respiratory diseases.





The study of material issued from other sources has beea an important and essential factor in the development of the Women's Bureau.
I t is the desire of the bureau to make available any information of
value relating to working women that can be drawn from printed
records and from factual studies made by other agencies. Such
sources as the State labor laws, the reports and other publications
and records of the various State labor departments and the United,
States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the records of the Bureau of the
Census, the reports of the International Labor Office, and investiga-,
tions and reports made by nongovernmental organizations are studied
and used in a variety of ways.
Thorough research obviously is necessary in connection with every
project undertaken by the bureau, and i n addition much research
is involved in answering special inquiries. Among the great number of inquiries that have come to the bureau during the past year
from all parts of the United States and from a great variety of
sources, those outstanding have been concerned with labor laws for
women, the wages and hours of labor of women, night work, and
the much discussed question of married women i n industry.
The News-Letter has been issued periodically throughout the year,
and this record of current events relating to working women, initiated
in 1921, has continued to meet with general appreciation and approval. Frequent requests have been received for extra copies and
for the addition of names to the mailing list. Items reported in
the News-Letter also have received widespread circulation in daily
newspapers and periodicals.
Study of legislation affecting working women, both in this country
and abroad, has continued, and the work on a general bibliography
of women in industry has been carried forward.
What the wage-earning woman contributes to family support.
I t is an acknowledged fact that wage-earning women suffer from
discrimination in wages as compared with men, though i t has been
shown that a large proportion of women shoulder the responsibility
of dependents and frequently are the chief breadwinners.
A n article on the wage-earning woman's contribution to family
support, written for the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and shortly to be published by the bureau
as a bulletin, presents data on the economic responsibilities of wageearning women and other correlated facts. Tliough women have
always contributed their services to the home, and when illness or
death came to the family some wives and daughters have had to
share the responsibilities and become wage earners, not until comparatively recently have women assumed economic burdens to any
striking degree. I n great numbers of homes the earnings of the
male wage earner are not sufficient to provide for the family and
the wife or daughter must supplement them. I n many cases women
must supply the entire income.
Figures from a study made by the bureau on the share of wageearning women in family support show the proportion of daughters
contributing all their earnings to be 59.9 per cent, or about 25 per
cent more than that of sons. The difference in the proportions


contributing as much as 50 per cent of their earnings is not so great,
but i t amounts to 15 per cent.
I t was found i n a compilation of figures from 22 studies of the
bureau that 53 per cent of the 61,700 women included in the tabulation contributed all their earnings to their families, while 37 per
cent contributed part, and only 9 per cent contributed nothing.
I n a study of census data for four selected cities made by the
bureau i t was found that 21 per cent of the women were the sole
wage earners in their families, and that 11 per cent of the married
women and about 21 per cent of those who were single were without
male wage earners. I n one of every nine of more than 20,000
families a woman was the sole wage earner, and in one family in
every five there was no male breadwinner.
I n studies made of the women i n the canning industry i n the
States of Delaware and Washington i t was found that 9.5 per cent
of the women in the former State and 5.7 per cent of those in the
latter were the sole wage earners. Two-thirds of the Washington
women included contributed all their earnings to the family.
I n a compilation of figures on the type of dependents of some
1,800 women, made by the bureau in 1919, i t was shown that one in
three of the 751 single women reported a dependent mother and
one in seven of the married women a dependent husband.
I n a study of 843 working mothers with dependent children in
Chicago, made by the Children's Bureau, 68 per cent of the families
had no support from the father.
Why married women work.
Through the cooperation of a Denver store, the bureau has made
a study of the histories of 103 women who applied at this store for
employment during the three months May to July, 1928, and who
were or had been married. Eighty-six stated that they sought work
because of economic necessity, one in four of these having no income but their own earnings and nearly one-half being without a
husband's support. Many had young children. jOnly two of all
these applicants were given permanent positions i n the store; four
others obtained temporary work.
The employment records of the Denver Young Women's Christian
Association for May to August, 1928, included 345 applicants who
were or had been married. These records were examined by the
Women's Bureau. Of the women reporting on these respective subjects, 90 per cent sought work through economic necessity; one-half
had no income but their own earnings; 74 per cent were without
a husband's support; almost half had children under 16. About
45 per cent of the applicants were successful i n securing employment
through the Y. W . C. A .
Women workers on part time.
Women are employed on part time in comparatively few branches
of industry, but foremost among these are textile mills, stores, hotels
and restaurants, and other lines of domestic service. For this reason,
and because neither their earnings nor working conditions are typical, the bureau has secured data on this subject for only two groups—
namely, Saturday workers i n limited-price chain department stores
and spare-hand workers i n certain cotton mills.



Part time in cotton mills, tlie so-called spare-hand system, prevails
generally in the South and is practiced in a few northern mills. I n
cotton manufacturing i t is necessary to keep all machines operating,
since each process depends on the one preceding, and i t is for this
reason that many more workers than there are standard jobs are
kept on the pay rolls. When the regular workers are absent their
machines are operated by "spares," and i f the regular workers are
absent too frequently they are " asked out'' so that the part-time
people may be given work. A superintendent hires as many extra
people as he believes he can use during the year. Two superintendents reporting to the bureau stated that 15 and 11 per cent,
respectively, of the people on their pay rolls were spares.
Frequently stores employ part-time workers on Saturdays and before Christmas or other holidays to care for the extra trade.
Data on part-time workers in limited-price chain department stores
are included in a study made by the bureau and shortly to be published. The 1,776 part-time women included in the study i n 17
States and 5 additional large cities were employed on Saturday
only. The largest group of these women earned $1.50 for the day's
work, while the earnings of other groups ranged from $2 to $2.50.
There is much part-time work in hotels and restaurants, chiefly
in tea rooms in department stores and in business sections where
crowds must be served at the luncheon hour. The part-time women
working during the rush time sometimes work as short a period
as three hours.
I n a study of domestic service in and around Philadelphia, the
tables of which were prepared by the bureau, the largest group of
part-time workers had a day of four hours, and this included women
in all occupations except cooking.
Textile manufacturing in Women's Bureau surveys.
A compilation of the figures on hours and earnings in textile mills
secured in 11 State surveys, and covering 38,000 to 48,000 women in
several hundred plants, has been made and briefly analyzed. This
compilation was presented to the Bureau of Efficiency in June, upon
the request of that organization for material having to do with conditions in the textile industry.
Industrial accidents as reported by States.
The bureau has undertaken i n this inquiry to learn what facts are
pailable about accidents to men and women separately. Data on
industrial accidents from the various State reports have been assembled and analyzed for whatever light this might throw on the
incidence, character, causes, and means of prevention of accidents,
and on f r u i t f u l questions for further accident study. Only about
20 States in any year from 1920 to 1927 have separated by sex the
accidents reported, while about 10 have reported by sex and age,
5 on causes of accidents separately to men and women, and 7 on
the industries i n which accidents to men and women occur. Much
of the information is. unstandardized and noncomparable, and it is
lacking in many States, yet data of this sort are essential for an
understanding of .the character of accidents in order to prevent them.
Industrial home work.
The need for study and regulation of the factory work being done
in the home
 is shown in a study made recently by the bureau. This




includes a. list of references on industrial home work, preceded by a
discussion of the character and extent of the problem and the efforts
being made for its control^ based chiefly on reports of the State departments of labor.
To quote from the report:
T h e i n d u s t r i a l home-work system by its very n a t u r e caUs f o r public regulat i o n . I t is f o u n d i n industries of seasonal a n d very i r r e g u l a r employment, used
b y employers t o secure r a p i d expansion and contraction of t h e i r force w i t h o u t
p r o v i d i n g overhead and t a k i n g f u U responsibility f o r a stable group of workers.
The employers are numerous, most of t h e m operating i n a r a t h e r small way
w i t h a f e w employees, unstable and a d j u s t i n g quickly t o m a r k e t changes. The
home workers are chiefly women, aided often by children, and engaged f o r the
most p a r t i n simple operations. They are a group w i t h l i t t l e i n d u s t r i a l experience, handicapped i n the j o b m a r k e t by t h a t inexperience and by home
responsibilities, sometimes by physical disabilities, and by custom. The pressure of f a m i l y needs, however, brings them to seek w o r k , w h i l e t h e i r low earnings reflect the f a c t that; w o r k i n g as i n d i v i d u a l s r a t h e r t h a n as. a group, they
a r e poor bargainers i n the labor market. L o w wages, unregulated hours, poor
w o r k i n g conditions, and c h i l d labor, are f a m i l i a r aspects of this system of production, w h i c h carries w i t h i t possibilities of menace t o public health.
T h e essence of the problem
employers who give out home
is secured through a campaign
t o w a r d elimination of some of

is t o p u t the responsibility of the l a w s on the
w o r k . W h e n the cooperation of the employers
of education, substantial progress can be made
the evils of the home-work system.

Selected reading lists.
Selected references on a number of subjects have been compiled
and are available in mineographed or printed form. The subjects
comprise the health of women in industry, their hours, their working
conditions, and their share in family support.
The year was prolific in conferences of special concern to women,
and at a number of these the bureau was represented. Chief among
them may be mentioned the following:
Women's Pan Pacific Conference, i n Hawaii in August, 1928.
National Association of Colored Women, in Washinirton in August,
National Interracial Conference, in Washington in December, 1928.
National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, in Washington in
A p r i l , 1929.
International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions, in Paterson in September, 1928.
New York State Safety Congress, in Syracuse in December, 1928.
on Employer-Employee Relationships in the Home, in
Washington in October, 1928.
Conference on Research in Familial Relations, in Detroit in December, 1928.
Workers' Educational Conference, in Washington in A p r i l , 1929.
National Women's Trade-Union League, in Washington in May,
Governmental Labor Officials, in Toronto in June, 1929.
National Conference of Social Work, i n San Francisco in June,





The work of the division of public information has gone steadily
forward during the year in the endeavor to reach the widest circulation possible for facts about women gainfully employed. News
releases on all new bulletins, on speeches by the director and other
members of the staff, and on special subjects have been sent out to
the general newspaper lists. A n increasing number of correspondents of papers, magazines, and press associations have applied to
the bureau for material for articles and news stories.
Articles for many different types of publications, ranging from
the most technical to the most popular, have been prepared in the
division upon request. Certain magazines turn all questions about
women workers over to the bureau for reply, and in turn give space
to reviews of all the bureau's publications. A n example of this is
the attention given to one important report that appeared during
the year, which was reviewed in seven major 'magazine articles,
Jiine editorials, and many newspaper stories throughout the country.
Eight radio talks were written and broadcast, their titles being as
follows: What Women Workers Have Done for Industry, The
Two-Job Woman, Hazards to Young Working Girls, The ForeignBorn Woman in Industry, The Women of the Coal-Mining Camps,
Night Work for Women, The Question of Domestic Service, and
The Work of the Women's Bureau.
The two-reel motion picture, " Within the Gates," announced in the
last report as just completed, was advertised by circular letter and
press releases and has been lent extensively throughout the country.
Eleven copies have been kept in constant circulation. Title card
posters to precede local showings of the film were, printed and sent
out to borrowers,
A new one-reel picture, " The Story of the Women's Bureau," was
completed in June. This film shows the development of the bureau
itself out of the need for definite information about conditions under
which women were working and for leadership- in the establishment
of standards for their emplovment. I t portrays the bureau's staff at
work; shows the steps by which a survey is made, from the original
request to the published bulletin, and emphasizes the standards advo<iated by the bureau.
Two other graphic exhibits were issued: A set of five statistical
charts, based on census figures, showing the industrial distribution,
age, and nativity of married women workers, and two black and
white posters, " The Woman Wlio Earns—^Keeping Her Work Place
Safe and Comfortable." The latter were designed to illustrate standards of comfort to insure health and of accident prevention to insure safety, and were carried out by means of selected photographs
with appropriate captions in verse. Both exhibits have elicited Avide
interest, the married-women charts being now in their third edition
and the posters in their second. I n the case of the former, the contention of the bureau that the subject of married workers is of vital
importance to the Nation has been amply proved, as the range of
organizations and individuals applying for the charts has covered
the country. I n case of the standards j^osters, the response from
employers and employers' associations has been especially marked,



but the demand has come also from • unions, educators, women's
clubs, libraries, churches, and many others.
Another set of charts, "Negro Women in Industry," based on
Bulletin 70, is now ready for borrowers. As these five charts are
done by hand and are available i n only a limited number of sets,
they are not to be given away but w i l l be lent under the regular
rules for loan exhibits. They show the industrial distribution, earnings, hours, and time in the trade of several thousand negro women
studied by the bureau, and the industrial classification of all negro
women reported by the census of 1920 as gainfully employed:
The exhibit sent to the Iberian-American Exposition in Seville,
Spain, has been well received. I t consists of a group of seven miniature stage sets, electrically lighted, depicting the American woman at
work i n agriculture, transportation, manufacture, trade, clerical, jjrofessional, and domestic and personal service. A copy of this exhibit
was made with titles in English only, and this was shown at the
Pacific Southwest Exposition in Long Beach, Calif., to various special women-in-industry groups, and to the National Women's TradeUnion League in convention in Washington in May, 1929. This
copy is on display in the permanent exhibit room at the bureau in
Other parts of the exhibit sent to Spain, where an entire room was
devoted to the bureau's work, were maps, charts, and posters, various
publications, a copy of the motion picture " T h e Woman Worker
Past and Present," and 19 framed photographs of women i n various
industries, all with titles in both English and Spanish.
A mbtograph, or moving sign, was purchased for lending purposes,
and five strips for use in this machine were prepared. The reading
matter on these strips consists of a brief description of the bureau's
work and information regarding certain of its important standards
Other strips w i l l be added to the series from time to time.
During .the course of the year exhibits have been sent upon request
into every State in the Union, to Hawaii, and to British Columbia,
Sweden, Switzerland, Bulgaria, and India. They have been used
by every type of organization having an interest i n women gainfully
During the year the following bulletins have come from the press:
No. 61, The Development of M i n i m u m - W a g e L a w s i n the U n i t e d Stnte?^. 1912
to 1927.
No. 64. The Employment of W o m e n at N i g h t .
No. 65. T h e Effects o f L a b o r Legislation un the Employment Opportunities of
No. 67. Women W o r k e r s i n F l i n t , Mich.
No. 68. S u m m a r y : The EfiCects of Labor Legislation on the Employment
Opportunities of Women.
No. 69. Causes of Absence f o r M e n a n d f o r W o m e n i n F o u r Cotton M i l l s .
No. 70. Negro W o m e n i n I n d u s t r y i n 15 States.
No. 71. Selected References on the HeaUh of Women i n I n d u s t r y .

The following bulletins are i n the printing office:
No. 66. H i s t o r y 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 Three States; Chronological
Development of L a b o r Legislation f o r W o m e n i n the U n i t e d States.
No. 72. Conditions of W o r k i n Spin Rooms.



The following bulletins are in process of preparation, for the


Variations i n Employment Trends of Women and Men.
T h e I m m i g r a n t W o m a n a n d H e r Job.
W h a t the Wage-Earning W o m a n Contributes to Fami,ly S u p p o r t / . ,
Women i n 5-and-l(>-cent Stores and L i m i t e d - P r i c e Chain Department

The important task assigned to, the bureau is seriously retarded by
the inadequacy of its appropriation. Each year many important
studies must be postponed and innumerable requests for assistance
declined because the resources of the bureau are not sufficient to care
for these projects. As the number of wage-earning women increases
and their sphere in industry widens, the expansion of the bureau's
activities should keep pace, and requests for surveys, studies, and information should be r ^ o n d e d to with dispatch. I n this way the
bureau w i l l be increasingly helpful to employer and employee, to
public and private organizations, and to every person interested in
the employment of women.
There are several investigations that the bureau is anxious to make,
a number of these being studies of especial interest to large groups
of employers, scientists, or technicians. I n the following paragraphs
are mentioned briefly the most important of the studies the bureau
desires to undertake in the near future^
Married women in industry.
The employment of married women is a subject of great importance
to-day. I t is linked so closely with the welfare of the home and the
family and related so definitely in the long rim to the health of the
race and the progress of the Nation that i t has become, one of the
most complex problems before the country. Many urgent requests
for authentic information—facts that are gathered and presented
scientifically and without prejudice—^have come to the bureau, but
up to this time the appropriation has riot been adequate for the inclusion of such an extensive investigation in the projects studied.
Occupatioiial hazards/
Fundamental changes initiated in induikrial processes -within recent years call for a comprehensive study of women's employment i n
plants using poisonous substances. Some of these, changes have
brought in their wake hazards to the health and weU-being of tens
of thousands of lypmen workers. Many requests for information on
this subject have come to the bureau and a report on the relation
between certain conditions of, employment and impaired health conditions of .women workers should prov^ invaluable, ip., establishing
good practices.
XJp to .this time the work imdertaken by State agencies along these
lines has been fragmentary and the studies have pertained almost exclusively to the occupational hazards of men.
The piecework systein.
There is also, great need for an investigation of the piecework system, a method by which wages are based on output rather than on




time at work. "The health aiid\efflcieiicy of the worker are matters
of such importance to all concerned that a careful analysis of the
advantages and disadvantages of^the system, together with a comparison of this method of work and . that of timework, should prove
of value to everyone interested in industrial problems.
Posture at work.
I n addition to the urgent request of the association of officials of
State departments of lah^or, a number of firms have asked the bureau
to undertake a study of j)osture. W i t h what succe^ employers have
met the,problem of combining cbnifort and efficiency in a work chair
of practical design and inexpensive construction should be a matter
of , knowledge. Facts in regard to conditions that contribute to the
health and service of the worker and to the perfection of the product
upon which she is eniployed are important from all points of view.
Women in semiprofessional and professional pursuits.
Another project that the bureau has i n mind is' a study of women
i n professional and semiprofessional pursuits. Requests for information along these lines are received constantly and these attest to
the general demand for such information.
Human waste in industry.
Another study of very great importance but as yet unprovided for
is the effect of fatigue on production and on the worker.
One of the major problems of present industrial' conditions is connected with the great changes that are taking place in modern methods of production and the effect of these changes on the workers engaged inythe actual p r ^ u c t i o n processes. Enormous increases in
output with accompanying decreases in the number of persons required to produce a given unit have led to the placing of a different
emphasis on the value of the individual as a producer. D r . Julius
K e i n makes the statement that since 1920 the workers' output has
increased 53.5 per cent, while during the preceding 20 years i t had
increased only 4.7 per cent.
Such increases are a distinct advantage to industry and to the
national well-being provided only that they do not bring with them
an impairment of the individual from the standpoint of health, of
opportunity, and of continuity of employment. £ i other words, the
progress that comes with modern methods of mass production can be
of benefit to the Nation only i f i t does not involve a disastrous
amount of human waste i n industry.
This is a matter that is urgently i n need of examination, especially
where women wage earners i n industry are concerned. Women are
engaged largely i n the occupations classed as repetitive and pecul i a r l j susceptible to speeding up and mechanization. The effect on
the individual of such speeding and mechanizing should be clearly
understood, in order that proper methods may be devised and installed to prevent, wherever possible, the "early impairment of the
individual productive capacity through the fatigue resulting from
monotony, from speed, or from other undesirable working conditions.
For the final goal of increased production in industry and increased
welJ-being in the Nation w i l l not be reached untU every safeguard is
put around the worker to insure not only that she shall produce as
great an output as possible but that she shall be able to continue such





production over the longest possible period of years, without the
deterioration that accompanies fatigue, without the absences through
illness caused by speed, strain, monotony, and with the interest and
responsibility that can come only when the individual feels that she
is an essential part of the industrial process and, as such, is receiving
the care and direction that are her due.
This study should cover the relationship between fatigue and output and should consider' those elements in industrial work that contribute chiefly to fatigue, such as long hours, bad posture, speed,
monotony, noise, poor ventilation, and other faulty working conditions, and those elements that minimize fatigue and that increase
output and efficiency.
Such a study should be selective and yet comprehensive and should
include examination of several different types of industry in which
women are employed. For this reason a considerable amount of
preliminary work would have to be done in determining acceptable
measurements of fatigue and acceptable applications of such measurements, and in blocking out the most desirable methods of investigation. I t would be necessary to seek the cooperation of employers, of
workers, and of recognized authorities in engineering, medical, psychological, economic, and industrial fields, and perhaps along other
lines also. The bureau is confident that such cooperation can be
secured and that a study of the character described would receive
the enthusiastic indorsement of authorities i n the fields mentioned.
For many years in England the Industrial Fatigue Kesearch Board
has been making continuous studies of f a t i ^ e in relation to various
problems and conditions i n industry, but in the United States no
scientific information on a general scale regarding women is available. I t seems of the utmost importance that a start should be made
in collecting such data without further delay.
EespectfSly siriDmitted.
M A K T AOTERSON, Director.