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Standards f o r the employment of women
A decade of Women's B u r e a u achievements
Economic o l d age a n d women i n industry
H i s t o r y of labor legislation f o r women i n three States
Chronological development of labor legislation f o r Avomen i n the
U n i t e d States
Conditions of w o r k i n spin rooms
W h a t the wage-earning woman contributes to f a m i l y support
V a r i a t i o n s i n employment trends of women and men
W o m e n i n 5-and-lO-cent stores and limited-price chain department
T h e i m m i g r a n t woman and her job
A study of t w o groups of Denver m a r r i e d women applying f o r jobs__
I n d u s t r i a l home w o r k
Completed studies not yet published
A survey of laundries and their women workers i n 23 cities
W o m e n i n F l o r i d a industries
Earnings of women i n 13 States
I n d u s t r i a l accidents
Report on p r e v a i l i n g wage standards of some countries t h a t are
• members of the Pan-American U n i o n
H o u r s , wages, and l i v i n g conditions of Young Women's C h r i s t i a n
Association employees
Studies i n progress
W o m e n w^orkers i n the meat-packing i n d u s t r y
H a w a i i a n pineapple canneries
Conditions o f women i n the cigar and cigarette i n d u s t r y
Unemployment of women i n the r a d i o i n d u s t r y
Study of State l a w s and regulations p e r t a i n i n g to the i n s t a l l a t i o n
a n d maintenance of toilet facilities i n places of employment
The s a n i t a r y service of d r i n k i n g water i n places of employment
Vitreous-enamel workers
H o u r s a n d production
W o m e n i n the medical profession
H u m a n waste i n i n d u s t r y
Women i n the Government service
Domestic service employees i n Philadelphia
M a r r i e d women workers
Research w o r k
The News L e t t e r
Labor legislation f o r women i n 1929-30
Public i n f o r m a t i o n
Comment a n d recommendations
Occupational s h i f t s
State r e p o r t i n g a n d organization f o r h a n d l i n g problems affecting
employed women
E m p l o y m e n t experiences
S t a n d a r d equipment f o r health and safety
I n d u s t r i a l poisons





Washington^ July 15^ 19S0.
H o n . JAMES J . DAVIS,

Secretary of Labor,
SIR: The twelfth annual report of the Women's Bureau, for the
fiscal year ended June 30,1930, is submitted herewith.
The past year stands as a milestone in the history of the Women's
Bureau, since i t marks the end of its first decade as a permanent
agency. Despite its small appropriation and limited staff during
this period, the bureau can point to a steady development and exansion of activities in the performance of its duty as outlined by
ongress, " to formulate standards and policies which shall promote
the welfare of wa^e-earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for
profitable employment." Each year, as the bureau has become better
known, the demands upon i t have steadily increased and the volume
and variety of its work have expanded. W i t h the number of women
workers constantly growing, with the striking increase in married
women wage earners, with the share of women i n family support and
economic responsibility assuming greater proportions, with acute
problems of employment and unemployment piling up as a result of
our present machine age, and with the development of more industries and new processes giving rise to new hazards and additional
strain for women workers^ the task of the Women's Bureau each
year becomes more extensive and complicated. As would be expected, therefore, the bureau's program during the past year has
comprised many diverse achievements of real significance not only to
women but to the home, the family, the community, and the Nation.
The main types of activity may be outlined as follows: Administration; field investigation and m-st-hand collection of information;
research studies and activities; tabulation of data; preparation, publication, and circulation of reports; cooperation with State departments of labor; dissemination of facts i n popular form, including
the planning and construction of exhibit material; participation in
conferences in various ways, particularly by means of scientific
addresses on special subjects by experts on the bureau staff.





The standards of hours, wages, and working conditions for women
formulated by the bureau soon after its creation have been stressed
constantly during its existence. These standards, drawn up after a
great deal of consideration and the collection of much information
concerning the best practices i n the employment of women, are not
mandatory but are offered merely as suggestions for employers and
workers. Though they are thoroughly practical, reasonable, within
reach of all employers, and in force in the most progressive establishments, many thousands of women still are working in plants that
have not accepted them, but have conditions far below those advocated
as essential for the health and efficiency of women wage earners.
The standards that, according to Women's Bureau policies, should
be guaranteed to all wage-earning women and not only those so fottunate as to be in the employ of the most forward-looking managements, are outlined 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.
Rates based on occupation and not on sex nor race, the m i n i m u m to cover cost
of h e a l t h f u l and decent l i v i n g a n d t o allow f o r dependents.
W o r k i n g conditions.
Good lighting, ventilation, and 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 chair 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 a n d washing facilities.
Dressing rooms, rest rooms, lunch rooms.
Adequate toUet arrangements—one toilet to each 15 women.
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 w o r k e r s to share i n the 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 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 a t home.
A p p l i c a t i o n to and cooperation w i t h Federal and State agencies dealing w i t h
labor a n d conditions of employment.

The close of the first decade of the bureau as a permanent organization and, incidentally, of its twelfth year as a Government agency
seems a fitting time for a brief r&ume of its achievements. Except





i n a few instances, the studies discussed here have taken place during
the past 10 years.
The bureau has conducted many and varied investigations, the reports of most of them having been published and given wide distri• }ution. I t has to its credit eighty-odd bulletins that have been of real
interest and value to many diflFerent groups—^to industrialists, business meUj and employers from the point of view of dollars and cents
and efficient production; to sociologists, psychologists, educators,
physicians, and scientists concerned with human welfare, conduct,
and relations; to forward-looking women interested in the progress
of their sex; and to labor groups striving to gain a higher and firmer
foothold on the ladder of mdustrial progress.
Cooperation with State departments of labor always has constituted an important feature in the bureau's program of activities,
since the States in so many instances lack the funds, personnel, and
ejiuipment essential for conducting investigations of the type possible for the Women's Bureau.
From November, 1918, to January, 1929, the Women's Bureau
made investigations of women in industry in the following 20
States; Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississmpi, Missouri,
New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. I n each case the study was made at the request
of forces within the State.
The bureau has conducted also a number of intensive studies of
special industries employing large numbers of women, such as candy
manufacture, canning (vegetable and f r u i t ) , textile mills, 5-and-ldcent stores, laundries, domestic and personal service, meat-packing
plants, cigar factories, and the radio industry.
I n general, these investigations have revealed that, although many
women are employed under satisfactory conditions, large numbers
still f a i l to receive an adequate wage for efficient services and thousands continue to operate on a 10-hour schedule and uiider working
conditions detrimental to health and safety.
According to the United States census, there were in this country
in 1920 more than a million women i n agricultural pursuits and considerably over two million in domestic and personal service. Each
of these two big groups is characterized by a number of difficult
employment problems. The Women's Bureau has to its credit
several investigations of the hardships and handicaps of women in
such types of .employment, and has thus made available data of
value and importance, stressing the need for considerable improvement in standards. Much in the way of education remains to be
done, however, before such ends can be achieved.
Although the lion's share of the bureau's program has been given
to women i n the producing and distributing trades, this is as i t
should be, since these workers are involved in such a severe struggle
to earn a livelihood and to meet the many demands made upon them.
Nevertheless, women in business and the professions, whose process
is so often checked by prejudice and other barriers, have not been
neglected, their problems forming the subjects of discussion in several
of the bureau's reports. Outstanding studies of this nature deal with
women's occupational progress, women i n the realm of invention, the




status of women in' Government service, and the employment status
and opportunities of women doctors. Similar studies of the difficulties attendant upon women i n other fields are urgently needed.
Matters of health and safety as related to women workers have
called for constant attention and investigation on the part of the
bureau. Not only are these problems the subject of several special
bulletins, but discussion of such vital questions runs through practically all the bureau's publications as the essential framework on
which other discussions are hinged. Studies of the {physiological
basis for the shorter workday for women, industrial poisons, indust r i a l accidents, the employment of women i n hazardous industries,
and the effect on women's health of emplovment at night are some
of the most noteworthy contributions by the bureau along the line
of industrial hygiene and safety. W i t h changes in industry and the
development of new processes other aspects of the health situation
are constantly arising and confronting the bureau with the need for
more scientific research and analysis.
Special labor laws for women have called for considerable library
research and first-hand investigation by bureau specialists. A t least
10 of the Women's Bureau publications cover various phases of
this subject. The history of special labor laws, the detailed analyses
of the various tj^pes, and the effects of such legislation on women
constitute the main lines of discussion.
Other problems pertaining especially to wage-earning women that
have been the subject of study by the bureau deal w i t h personal facts
about women workers compiled from detailed analyses of census data,
opportunities for employment and for training for special trades, the
family responsibilities of single women and the breadwinning activities of married women, the handicaps and hardships of special classes
of women such as negroes and immigrants, industrial home work by
women, and lost time and labor turnover of women workers.
Because of the scientific and statistical nature of much of the
material in the bureau's reports i t has been presented to the public
i n simpler form i n a number of ways. Popular exhibits, such as
models, motion pictures, maps, charts, posters, folders, have been
prepared and have been circulated by the bureau i n eveiy State i n
the Union and also i n a number of foreign countries. The bureau
participated i n the National Sesquicentenhial Exposition at Philadelphia and i n the Iberian-American Exposition at Seville, special
exhibits made for these occasions having attracted considerable attention and won special awards from the commissions. News stories
and special articles of both a popular and a technical nature have
played a steady and important part i n the educational campaign that
the Women's Bureau has considered essential to maintain throughout
its existence.
Two conferences on women i n industry have been called and conducted by the bureau, the first i n 1923 and the second i n 1926. The
object i n each instance was to bring together the women concerned
with the industrial and economic problems as related to women
workers and to give opportunity for the presentation of facts about
women i n industry by experts and the discussion of such problems by
the delegates. These conferences made possible an interchange of
experiences and ideas among employers, workers, and the general



public for the purpose of developing policies for broader opportunity
and more profitable employment of women under modern industrial
conditions, and for securing by such means the best results for both
industry and society. A l l national women's organizations and all
national organizations having a large proportion of women members
were asked to send delegates to the two conferences. Employers,
industrial and business organizations, and specialists along many
lines also participated in response to invitation from the bureau.
Throughout the past 10 years the bureau has made i t a policy
whenever feasible to comply with requests for its representatives to
attend and participate in, as speakers, advisers, and consultants, important conferences and conventions called by other organizations
interested in the problems pertaining to women wage earners.
I n general, the bureau's program has been exceedingly diversified
because of the variety of problems coming within its scope. This
agency has won a place in the country different from that of any
other agency and has filled a need that was felt for many years before
the bureau came into existence and that was at bottom responsible
for its creation. The bureau, through its careful and scientific work
and its impartial method of investigating, not only has won a reputation for disseminating valuable and reliable information but has
gained the confidence of all groups concerned.
A n important part of the bureau's work each year is participation in conferences, conventions, and other meetings conducted by
various types of organizations interested in matters pertaining to
wage-earning women, and the past year has been no exception, the
bureau being represented at the following conferences :
Institute- of Public A f f a i r s , U n i v e r s i t y of V i r g i n i a , August, 1929.
I n t e r n a t i o n a l Association of Public Employment Services, Philadelphia,
September, 1929.
Motion-Picture Conference, N e w Y o r k , September, 1929,
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 a n d Commissions,
Buffalo, October, 1929.
I n d u s t r i a l Conference, New Jersey State Department of Labor, Trenton.
November, 1929.
Legislative Conference of Consumers' League of Ohio, Columbus, J a n u a r y ,
N a t i o n a l Negro L a b o r Conference, Chicago, January, 1930.
Convention of the Young Women's C h r i s t i a n Association, D e t r o i t , A p r i l , 1930.
Conference on Women i n I n d u s t r y , Richmond, A p r i l , 1930.
A n n u a l meeting of the Association of Governmental Ofiicials i n I n d u s t r y ,
Louisville, M a y , 1930.
N a t i o n a l Conference of Social W o r k , Boston, June, 1930.

I n addition, special talks were given by members of the staff to
a number of organizations, including schools, churches, professional
and welfare groups, women's clubs, and labor unions.
Of particular interest at the present time is the subject of the older
woman worker, which has been a paramount issue throughout the
year and which was discussed by a member of the Women^s Bureau





staff at the National Conference of Social Work i n June. The following is a resume of the talk given on that occasion:
Paradoxical as i t may sound, many a young woman i n search
of a job suddenly discovers that she is an old woman. I n a report
of the National Industrial Conference Board on industrial pensions
the statement is made that i n a few limited situations the maximum
age l i m i t in hiring women is 10 years younger than that for men;
furthermore, the firms reporting gave 30 or 35 as the maximum
hiring age more commonly for women than for men. A glance at
the " l i e l p wanted " columns i n any newspaper shows the preference
for girls of 18 to 21.
Illustrative of the difficulties of women of 25 or so in trying to get
through the employment gate were the experiences of a number
among the approximately 1,000 women interviewed by bureau agents
i n a recent study of the effects of technological changes in the cigar
industry. The problem of finding work was even more acute for
women in their thirties, and for the woman of over 40 forced to seek
a job the situation was almost hopeless. Beyond the age of 25 or
30, industrial employment becomes increasingly precarious.
Industry is acting upon the assumption that you can not teach an
old dog new tricks, and i t has neither used practical tests to demonstrate fitness for simple jobs nor disproved that other qualities compensate for loss of speed. That production automatically decreases
upon reaching a certain birthday is an absurd theory, the sooner discarded the better. I f a woman of 30 can learn to control an airplane
and a woman of 50 to drive an automobile, they certainly may be
trusted to watch an automatic weighing machine or to pull the lever
that starts and stops a wrapping machine, modern equipment demanding little more than this from the g i r l who is merely the tender
of a machine.
The study of the cigar industry revealed that i n the change from
hand-making processes to the automatic cigar-making machine the
same production rate can be maintained with only half the working
force required formerly and thousands of women were thrown out
of employment. Many of the women laid off had been unable to
secure other jobs in the cigar industry and had been forced to take
any kind of work available, often at a considerable wage reduction.
Otl lers had failed to find employment of any kind. Both in loss of
employment and in loss of wage the older women had suffered more
than had the younger ones. For the purpose of this industry, women
who had reached the thirtieth birthday had come to be classified as
old, and for the woman of over 40 cigar making was practically out
of the question.
The following facts deduced from this study give a slight picture
of the hardships of the older woman worker:
(1) T h e wages of women of over 40, a f t e r t h e change of employment^
dropped t o a lower scale t h a n d i d the wages of the younger women.
( 2 ) W o m e n o f over 40 h a d more difficulty i n finding a new place i n i n d u s t r y
a f t e r a lay-off t h a n h a d younger women.
(3) W o m e n of over 40 lost more t i m e f r o m unemployment between jobs t h a n
d i d women of under 40.
( 4 ) A l m o s t 40 per cent of those never finding a new j o b a f t e r the lay-off were
over 40.
( 5 ) Women of over 40 f o u n d office a n d telephone w o r k closed t o t h e m and
were less successful i n finding jobs i n stores, laundries, a n d other branches of



m a n u f a c t u r i n g t h a n the cigar industry, and to a greater extent were forced
into domestic service.
(6) Women of over 40 were less l i k e l y to find steady employment t h a n were
women of under 40.
(7) Unsolicited comments by these women showed t h a t they considered age
an important f a c t o r i n finding employment

The bulletins issued from the press this year aggregate more than
750 pages, and 166 pages more have been through the various stages
of printing but are not ready for release.
During the year the following bulletins have come from the press:
No. 66. H i s t o r y of Labor Legislation f o r Women i n Three States; Chronological
Development of Labor Legislation f o r Women i n the U n i t e d States.
No. 72. Conditions of W o r k i n Spin Rooms.
No. 73. V a r i a t i o n s i n Employment Trends of Women and Men.
No. 74. The I m m i g r a n t W o m a n and H e r Job.
No. 75. W h a t the Wage-Earning W o m a n Contributes t o F a m i l y Support.
No. 76. Women i n 5-and-lO-cent Stores and Limited-Price Chain Department
No. 77. A Study of T w o Groups of Denver M a r r i e d Women A p p l y i n g f o r Jobs.
No. 79. I n d u s t r i a l H o m e W o r k .

Though all these studies have appeared in the form of published
bulletins and have been given wide circulation and publicity during
the past year, certain ones that were conducted in earlier years and
discu?sed in considerable detail in previous annual reports require
only brief summaries at this time, whereas others call for a much
fuller statement as to purpose, scope, and findings.
History of labor legislation for women in three States.
This was an entirely new and most interesting type of study, showing the forces at work to bring about the adoption of labor legislation for women. The development of such legislation was studied
intensively in three important industrial States—California, Massachusetts, and New York—^with the thought that the history i n these
States would be typical of a large part of the country. Briefly, the
report considers how such legislation originated, the forces working
for and against it, and the factors that made for its final enactment.
Chronological development of labor legislation for women in the United
To complete the survey of the evolution of labor legislation i n the
United States, the origin and development of all the labor laws for
womto in all the States were traced from the passage of the first
labor law in 1847 to the status on January 1, 1929. No attempt was
made to discuss the forces that brought such laws into being, but
each step in the development of the present code was recorded, a history characterized by constant struggle and slow gains.
Conditions of work in spin rooms.
This report consists of two parts. The first gives a detailed
analysis of the lost-time and labor-turnover records in four mills
where a new method of spinning had been introduced in whole or i n
part, the purpose being to ascertain the attitude and reaction of the
women spinners toward the change i n method. The second part at




tempts to disclose to some extent what is being achieved i n heat
regulation in cotton mills where careful management is anxious to
have the work run as well as possible, conditions i n seven northern
and eight southern mills forming the basis of the study.
What the wage-earning woman contributes to family support.
A n article on the wage-earning woman's economic and family
responsibilities, written for the Annals of the American Academy of
Political and Social Science and containing interesting data from a
number of reports on woman's share in family support, was reprinted
as a bureau bulletin by permission.
Variations in employment trends of women and men.
The figures presented in this survey show the trends of employment for women and for men in Ohio in 54 industrial or occupational classifications over the 11-year period 1914 to 1924. For each
of the classifications curves were drawn that show graphically when
and to what extent trends for the two sexes differed or coincided.
State employment records constituted the source of the material.
Women in 5-and-lO-cent stores and limited-price chain department stores.
Facts on hours and earnings and some personal information were
assembled from the bureau bulletins on State surveys for well over
5,000 women in 253 5-and-lO or limited-price chain department stores
i n 18 States. As a supplement to these data, pay-roll figures for a
week i n 1928 for about 6,000 women in 179 establishments in 18
States and 5 additional cities were secured by the bureau's agents.
Over one-half of the women employed in 1928 were in the same
States for which earnings had been reported i n the earlier surveys,
many identical establishments being included.
The immigrant woman and her job.
To ascertain how and to what extent foreign-born women are
fitting into American industrial life, how necessary such employment is for the women and what it n\eans to them and to their
families, and how much of their time and strength is given to
industry, was the purpose of a survey of immigrant women i n Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley made by the Women's Bureau i n
1925. I n all, 1,120 women were interviewed i n Philadelphia and
1,026 i n the Lehigh Valley.
Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley were chosen for this study
as typical cross sections from the standpoint of immigrant workers—
Philadelphia a big city with a large proportion of foreign born and
with diversified industries, and the Lehigh Valley a locality with a
few predominating industries and concentrated groups of foreignborn labor.
The principal groups represented in the Philadelphia study were
the Poles, Jews, Italians, and Germans, constituting 26.3 per cent,
19.7 per cent, 15.4 per cent, and 9 per cent, respectively. I n the
Lehigh Valley, Germans formed the largest proportion, or 34.1 per
cent; Magyars came next (22.1 per cent), followed by Slovenes (17.9
per cent) and Slovaks (8.2 per cent).
One-fifth of the women were United States citizens, practically
all by action of father or husband. About one-half of the total




number, and not far from two-fifths of those who had been i n this
country 10 or more years, could not speak English.
I n Philadelphia, although the women visited were employed in a
miscellaneous array of industries, clothing factories had claimed
nearly one-fifth o i these workers and the textile trades approximately two-fifths. I n the Lehigh Valley the steel and cement industries originally had attracted foreign labor. Then there had moved
into this region such important woman-employing industries as cigar
and silk manufacturing, with an eye on the women i n the immigrant
families as a source of cheap and abundant labor supply. Nearly
two-thirds of the women visited in this section were in cigar factories
and one-third were in textile mills.
I n comparatively few instances were these women responsible for
their own livelihood only. About three-fourths of the 2,146 were or
had been married, and 1,186 were the mothers of 3,083 children, an
average of 2.6 per mother. Children under 6, like the older ones,
were growing up without proper care and supervision. Arrangements for th^eir care during the mothers' industrial employment
varied from the most casual and inadequate to paid service.
Almost all the women had two jobs—one in the home, involving
the care of the family and the performance of household duties, and
the other outside the home, usually in a factory, engaged in for the
purpose of earning a livelihood and contributing to the support of
others. I n 156 families the woman was the sole wage earner. Only
28 women reported no household duties. One in every eight of the
married and widowed women reporting had boarders and lodgers
as an additional responsibility and source of revenue.
The short workday was the exception, not the rule. Almost twothirds of the women who reported their hour schedules worked a
day in excess of 9 hours. More women in the Lehigh Valley than in
Philadelphia had long hours, the cigar industry being responsible
for the longer schedule. Practically two-thirds of the women i n this
industry who reported their hours worked slightly i n excess of 10
hours daily. I t was said repeatedly that the men in the Lehigh Valley had an 8-hour day but that scarcely any women i n the community
enjoyed such practice. Moreover, eagerness for a fuller pay envelope
caused some women i n cigar factories to work even longer than the
plant schedule. The specters of unemployment, part-time work,
shutdowns, and lay-offs, which inspired i n the women an awful
dread, made many of them try to work as much as possible as long
as work was available. Reasons were given by 1,371 women for interruptions to their employment i n the United States. More than
500 women gave industrial causes as their reasons for losing time.
Information about the amount earned in the week preceding the
interview was obtained from 988 Philadelphia women and 836 in the
Lehigh Valley. The median for the Philadelphia group was $15.35y
one-half earning more and one-half less than this amount; the
median for those i n the Lehigh Valley was $16.75. I n each section
about 1 i n every 10 women earned less than $10. Only about 18 per
cent i n Philadelphia, as compared with 29 per cent in the Lehigh
Valley, earned $20 or more.
Not only the women's but some of the men's earnings i n the
families visited came imder scrutiny. About one-tenth of the 456




men whose earnings were reported received less than $20 a week
and only slightly over one-fourth earned as much as $30.
I n connection Svith this survey, a study was made of foreign-born
women engaged i n industrial home work i n Philadelphia. Twothirds of the 159 women were Italian. A l l but three were married,
the dependency of children being the principal cause of their engaging in this form of employment. They were occupied in such jobs
as finishing clothing and sweaters, sewing carpet rags, carding
hooks, snaps, and pins, stringing tags, beading buckles, covering
curtain rings and pulls. The median of the week's earnings for 139
women,' including the help of children in some cases, was $3.70.
Another group studied in connection with the survey consisted of
Y32 women attending public night schools. The great majority of
these, about 56 per cent, were Jewish; the next largest number, or
almost one-fifth, were German. Well over one-half were under 21
years of age, and over nine-tenths were single. Seven-tenths could
read and write i n more than one language.
I n general, not the prospect of a sudden fortune but the opportunity for a better job and "better l i v i n g " had been responsible for
drawing to American shores the aliens included i n this survey. But
for many the better living had not materialized. Too often the
women interviewed were living in a crowded house devoid of all
modern conveniences, located perhaps in a blind alley, and bearing
the earmarks of distressing poverty. I n a number of instances the
kitchen answered also for dining room, living room, and bedroom.
I n the Lehigh Valley i t was not uncommon to find two, three, or
more families occupying a house built for one, the kitchen serving
as a community room where each woman cooked her family's .meals
on the common stove and where everybody congregated.
The Bureau of Municipal Research i n Philadelphia has recommended as a standard for the housing i n health and decency of the
wage-earner's family of five persons a 6-room house facing a street
and containing a bath room, laundry tubs, furnace, and facilities for
cooking and lighting with gas. As far as space is concerned, the
Women's Bureau study shows, for the Lehigh Valley, even when
several families living cooperatively i n a house of six rooms or
more are considered as one household, that one-half of the dwellings
visited fell below this standard, and i n many cases sanitary facilities
were entirely lacking. I n Philadephia more than three-fifths of
the dwellings failed to measure up to the requirement as regards
space. I n the Lehigh Valley 11 houses were encountered with 12,
13, or 15 people occupying six rooms.
To what extent aliens unable to maintain themselves on the level
of American standards of living can be expected to conform to
American standards along other lines, and what effect such discrepancies have on our national vitality and development, are
challenging problems brought out by the survey.
A study of two groups of Denver married women applying for jobs.
Another study made was concerned with the economic responsibilities of two groups of women who were or had been married and
who applied for jobs during the spring and summer of 1928, the data
comprising employment records for 345 applicants to the Denver



Young Women's Christian Association and 103 applicants to a large
department store i n the same city*
Over two-thirds of the women stated that they were without a
husband's support. I n these cases the husband was reported as
dead, ill, physically incapacitated, or unemployed, or the wife was
separated, divorced, or deserted. I n four instances the husband was
in prison.
The women with husbands constituted 46.5 per cent of the women
reporting on marital status; the separated, deserted, and divorced,
28 per cent; and the widowed, 26.5 per cent. Approximately ninetenths of all the women and almost three-fourths of those whose
husbands contributed to their support stated that they were seeking
work because of economic necessity. Such facts show that discrimination against married women workers may cause injustice and
Of the women whose husbands contributed to their support, a
number stated that the husband's earnings were irregular or inadequate for the family needs. A few of these were seeMng work so as
to help their husbands i n financial emergencies, and one had to help
in the support of her parents.
More than two-fifths of the women whose source of income was
ascertained had none except their own earnings. I n some cases contributions from sons or daughters, house or room rent, alimony, or
insurance were given as other sources of income.
The presence of young children gave added responsibility to many
of these women. Of the applicants to the Young Women's Christian
Association, 299 reported on the husband's support. One-half of the
221 women who were without such support had children under 16,
nearly one-fifth having two or more children. Less than 40 per cent
of the widows, but over 60 per cent of the women whose husbands
were divorced, separated, deserting, i l l , unemployed, or i n prison,
had children under 16. I n the case of those who received some support from their husbands, 46 per cent had young children.
Of the total number of women applying for jobs to these two
agencies during the period studied, those who were or had been married constituted about one-third, and jobs were secured bjr only 36
per cent of these. How the rest of them, whether married, widowed, separated, or divorced, met the economic problems that drove
them to ask for work was unanswerable from the agencies' records.
This study is an illustration of the type of investigation that could
be made with profit by agencies in other communities, often with
comparatively little change in the kind of record ordinarily kept
for their own purposes. When such data are secured i n a number of
communities, a valuable contribution wiU be made toward the building up of a body of knowledge as to the reasons why married women
seek employment and towara the answering of this social question
with a certitude beyond the realm of speculation.
Industrial home work.
Industrial home work, resulting from the custom of sending
articles from factories into homes to be made or finished, is a condition that prevails to a much wider extent than is generally realized. I t is a problem on which little light has been thrown, and
information as to the extent and character of home work is fragmentary.



Consequently the Women's Bureau felt the need of calling more
attention to the subject i n a special report, i n view of the irregular
method of production, the large numbers of employers of an unstable
and shifting character, and the equally unstable group of workers
scattered about i n tenement houses—conditions that are characteristic of the industrial home-work system.
The bulletin contains a discussion of the evils of the system, such
as long hours, low rates of pay, irregular employment, child labor,
and working conditions that constitute a menace, actual or potential,
to the health of the workers and of the public. There are included
also a digest of certain studies and State reports, a list of references
available, and the recommendations drawn up by a committee appointed in February, 1926, by the Association of Governmental Labor
Officials of the United States and Canada to look into the character
and extent of this system of labor and the methods of regulating it
in the various States. These recommendations stress the need of continued study of the problem by the association and its membership in
the various States as well as by independent research organizations.
Industrial home-work industries, the bulletin states, are those of
seasonal and very irregular employment or subject to fluctuations
with changes i n fashion or process. The system is a means by which
employers are enabled to secure rapid expansion and contraction of
the working force without providing overhead and without assuming
the f u l l responsibility for a stable group of workers.
The needle trades make extensive use of such methods. Of the
21,573 home workers found i n licensed houses i n New York State in
the year ended June 30, 1927, the clothing trades employed over
13,000, and embroidery and artificial flowers gave employment to
4,000 more. Stringing tags; carding buttons, hooks and eyes, or
safety pins; making garters; knitting; and work on tobacco products,
cheap jewelry, lamp shades, powder puffs, paper boxes and b a ^ ,
carpet rags, and toys—all are industries carried on to some extent hy
numerous home-work employers, most of whom operate i n a rather
small way with few factory employees.
The work itself usually is of a simple nature easily accomplished
by women with little industrial experience and driven by the pressure
of family needs to seek employment. Because of the handicaps of
inexperience, home responsibilities, physical disabilities, language, or
custom, these workers are but poor bargainers i n the labor market,
and low wages, unregulated hours, poor working conditions, and child
labor are too commonly associated with factory work done i n the
The victims of the neglect of proper regulation of this system are
not limited to the home workers themselves. That products coming
from unclean or diseased homes become a menace to public health is
emphasized in the bulletin. Although recent studies quoted i n this
report have found the majority of homes visited to be clean and in
fairly good condition, there are always some encountered that show
evidences of filth and others where work has continued i n the presence
of communicable disease. For example, investigations in New Jersey
and Pennsylvania disclosed articles being made i n homes where diseases such as measles, whooping cough, scarlet fever, influenza, tuberculosis, syphilis, and gonorrhea were present.



A survey of laundries and their women workers in 23 cities. (In press.)
The laundry industry has shown tremendous growth and change
i n character during recent years as a result of the use of power machines and the development of the system of rough-dry and finished
family services. Also, changes in living conditions have been conducive to the shifting of laundry activities from the home to the
industrial establishments. Another outstanding feature in the industry is its development from haphazard and individualistic
methods to scientific, efficient, group operation. Accordingly, the
laundry industry, though not so old as many others, is rapidly
becoming one of the major woman-employing industries of the
countryI n view of all these factors, the Women's Bureau decided that a
survey of conditions under which women were employed in laundries would be of significance and a contribution to all interested
in the welfare of wage-earning women. Such a survey was undertaken, the field work lasting from September, 1927, to May, 1928.
The survey covered 290 laundries i n 23 cities situated in 17 States
and included 19,758 women, who comprised a little over four-fifths
of the total number of employees in these plants. Negroes constituted a little over one-fourth of the women employed. Information concerning the laundry practices was obtained through the
cooperation of owners and the assistance of their national and local
organizations. Plant managers reported scheduled hours in the
laundries and turned over their current pay rolls to the bureau's
agents so that the necessary data on week^s earnings and, wherever
possible, hours worked might be recorded.
I n the individual plants inspection of working conditions was
made. Such characteristic problems of the industry as heat and
humidity, lack of safety precautions in the way of guarded machinery and equipment, as well as strain on women workers resulting from the use of foot treadles and old-fashioned body ironers^
were carefully gone into. The composition of the working force,
including such facts as nativity, age, marital status, and length of
service, was investigated. A n effort was made through home interviews to learn of the advantages and drawbacks i n laundry work
from the viewpoint of the employees, chiefly through comparison
with other jobs held by these women and their reasons for changing
from one type of employment to another.
Over four-fifths of all the women reporting on nativity were
American born. As regards age, a larger proportion of women
were 40 years or more than were under 20. Women who were or
had been married constituted about two-thirds of the white and
over seven-tenths of the negro women. About one-half of the white
women and nearly two-fifths of the negroes had worked in the
industry off and on for five years or more. One-third of the white
and one-fifth of the negro women had worked in laundries only.
Of the women expressing a preference for laundry work to that
in other industries, 30 per cent gave "better hours" and nearly 27
per cent " better pay " as the reason for such preference.



About three-tenths of the women i n this survey had daily hours
of 8 or under, and only 8.8 per cent worked as much as 10
hours a day. Not far from half of them had a weekly schedule of
48 hours or less. Laundries i n the western States had decidedly
shorter hours, on the whole, than had those i n other sections, and
they were largely responsible for the good hour record described,
since 97.2 per cent of the women had the 8-hour day and a week of
48 hours or under. As a contrast was the situation in the southern
States visited, where hours were the longest, 82 per cent of the
women working a day of over 9 and includmg 10 hours, and 48.4 per
cent having a weekly schedule of 64 hours and over. The f u l l
scheduled hours of tne plant were worked by 60 per cent of the
white and 29 per cent of the negro women i n the survey. Overtime
was reported for 10.2 per cent of the white women and 18.9 per cent
of the negroes; i t was found to be greatest i n the southern States.
The week's earnings of the white women had a median of $16.10,
the median for the negro women being considerably less, $8.86. For
the white women who worked f u l l time the median was $17.80; that
for the negro full-time workers was $10.26. Nearly two-fifths of the
white women and over nine-tenths of the negroes earned less than
$16, and less than one-fifth of the white, as contrasted w i t h 1 per
cent of the ne^ro women, earned $20 or over. Wages were considerably higher i n the western States than i n other sections of the
I n regard to wages i n the chief occupations both the white and
the negro women engaged i n marking and sorting received the highest pay of any of the chief occupational groups, the medians bemg
$17.36 and $11.90, respectively, for the two races. B y far the largest
proportions of both white and negro women were engaged i n flat
work, with medians of $14.66 and $8.66, respectively. For the white
women this was the lowest-paid occupational group; for the negroes
i t was the next to the lowest.
Working conditions varied greatly from plant to plant. I n the
temperature readings, taken by means of a sling psychrometer, onefourth of the dry-bulb readings were 80° and over. Of these drybulb readings of 80° and over one-half had wet-bulb readings of
70° and over, and a little more than one-fifth had a relative humidity
of 60 per cent or more. Nearly half of the readings were reported
by the investigators as being "comfortable," and about the same
proportion as being " warm " or " hot."
One-third of the laundries visited had no artificial ventilation.
Hoods w i t h exhausts over all fiat-work ironers were found i n only
11 per cent of the plants reported upon for this item. Seven laundries of the 290 had fiat-work ironers without guards, 92 had extractors without guards, and 44 had no ^ a r d s on their presses.
The foot treadle was found on some presses in 166 laundries, and the
old-fashioned body ironer was used m a small number of plants.
Women in Plorida industries. (In press.)
Upon the request of the Governor of the State and the League of
Women Voters, the Women's Bureau i n the autumn of 1928 conducted a state-wide survey of the hours, wages, and working conditions of women i n industry i n Florida. The bureau has made i t a



policy to cooperate in this way with States, upon request, in view of
the fact that most of them lack the funds, personnel, and equipment
for making such surveys for themselves. Florida is the twentieth
State invekigated by the bureau during the 12 years of its existence.
From the viewpoint of women workers'this survey is of unusual
significance, because, although Florida is not a large industrial State,
it has grown greatly in industrial importance in recent years. Also,
much of its industry and business inevitably is of a seasonal nature
because of the tourist trade during a few months of the year—a condition that adds to the problems o± women workers engaged so largely
in occupations characterized by irregularity of employment. One i n
every seven white women and about two in every five negro women i n
the State were gainfully employed, according to the 1920 census.
W i t h 46.4 per cent of its wage-earning women i n domestic and
personal service, Florida showed, of all the States, the largest proportion so occupied, a situation due without doubt to the tourist trade.
The survey covered 5,956 white and 1,888 negro women employed
in 163 representative establishments—factories, stores, hotels, restaurants, and laundries. Investigation of plants revealed that working conditions, such as lighting, heating, safety precautions^ and
sanitary and service facilities, were fairly satisfactory in the majority
of the plants reporting. However, such menaces to health and safety
as lack of seats or the wrong type of seats, slippery floors, the common cup and common towel, toilets that were insanitary or insufficient in number, inadequate lunch rooms, cloak rooms, rest rooms,
and first-aid equipment were encountered in a sufiicient number of
cases to call for a campaign of improvement.
That a movement also is needed to shorten hours for women is
apparent from the data. Only 16.3 per cent of the white women and
none of the negro women in factories, stores, and laundries had a
day of eight hours or less. A schedule of 10 hours or more was reported for 15.3 per cent of the white and 69.1 per cent of the negro
women. A weekly schedule of 48 hours or less was found in just
eight firms, employing only 4.1 per cent of the white women and 5.1
per cent of the negroes.
The median of the week's earnings of white women in these establishments was $15; that of the negroes, $6.65. The full-time workers
had medians of $15.60 for the white and $7.60 for the negro women.
The general mercantile industry was found to have much the highest
median for white women—$18.10.
I n regard to hotels and restaurants, a daily schedule of eight
hours or less was quite general, but a 7-day week was reported for
more than nine-tenths of the women and a weekly schedule of 60
hours or more for nearly one-fifth. The occupation with the largest
proportion of both white and negro women having long hours was
iitchen work. This occupation had the highest median of weekly
rates, $15.90 for the whites and $10.65 for the negroes, irrespective
of meals, lodging, or tips. The lowest median for the white women
^as $5.75 for waitresses and counter girls; the lowest for the negroes
was $8 for maids. Where neither room nor meals were furnished,
the medians were $12.35 for the whites and $8.80 for the negroes.
Where room and meals were given, the medians were $5.50 and
$5.65 for whites and negroes, respectively.


Earnings of women in 13 States.
I n view of the vital importance of and great interest displayed i n
the subject of women's wages, the data on women's earnings compiled by the bureau in its various State studies have been assembled
in one report. The material covers the earnings of 100,967 white
women and 6,120 negro women working in 1,472 factories, stores,,
and laundries in 13 States—Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia,
Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode
Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee—studied chiefly in the period
from the fall of 1920 to the early months of 1925. To make the
data more comparable, wage figures in certain instances have been
translated into 1928 values through the use of the cost-of-living
index of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics; I n general,
the report contains many valuable correlations and analyses, such as
earnings i n the various industries; earnings of full-time, undertime,
and overtime workers; earnings and hours worked; earnings for
timework and piecework; earnings and rates; earnings according to
age, experience, and nativity.
Of the women included, 79,162 white and 3,141 negro women were
in manufacturing industries, the remainder being i n stores and.
laundries. Earnings of women in manufacturing—and especially in.
certain of the important woman-employing industries that make extensive use of the piecework system—were found to be very irregular,,
more so than those in general mercantile establishments. The median,
earnings of women in the latter were higher than those i n manufacturing i n all but 3 of the States included, whereas the medians in.
manufacturing were above those in laundries in 9 States, and those
i n laundries above those in 5-and-lO-cent stores in 11 States.
The medians of the week's earnings—one-half of the women reported earning more, one-half less—of white women in the manufacturing industries ranged from $19.13 in Rhode Island in 1920 to
$8.35 in Mississippi i n 1924. Earnings in manufacturing were found,
to be highest in Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Ohio; lowest in
Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina; and this is true of thefigures both at the time of the original study and as translated into
1928 terms. Factories manufacturing electrical appliances and rubber had the highest wages, plants producing metal products, cigars,,
and shoes ranking next, these making a more favorable showing in
regard to wages than did the other industries included. Medians^
were universally low in cotton manufactures and, with one exception, i n hosiery and knit goods. I n general mercantile the highest
median was $17.46 for Oklahoma in 1924, the lowest $11.54 for Kentucky i n 1921. Laundries had their highest median, $12.84, inNew Jersey in 1922, and their lowest, $8.93, in Tennessee i n 1925.For 5-and-lO-cent stores, Rhode Island took the lead with a median
of $11.92 in 1920, and Alabama dropped to last place with a median^
of $8.07 in 1922.
I n manufacturing, the proportion of full-time workers ranged:
from 25.8 to 54.7 per cent, naturally tending to be greater i n States
surveyed i n normal periods than in those studied i n times of depression. W i t h the exception of one State, the medians of the earnings
of full-time workers were from 9.5 to 26.7 per cent above those of
all workers. I n the various States from 43.8 to 62.8 per cent of the




women worked undertime, and in 8 of the 13 States the proportion
of undertime workers exceeded that of the full-time women employees. The proportions of overtime workers ranged from 0.4 to
22.1 per cent.
A n analysis of earnings by hours worked for 29,030 women in
"9 industrially important States showed that higher earnings were
received more frequently where reasonably short hours prevailed
and that excessively long hour schedules usually were accompanied
by low pay. I n regard to the chief manufacturing industries, women
in metal, electrical appliances, and rubber factories generally had
shorter hours and better pay than had the women in cigar plants;
cigar workers ordinarily had shorter hours and better pay than had
those i n cotton mills and in most cases better than the women in
hosiery and knit-goods mills. General mercantile, in which, shorter
hours prevailed more generally than in manufacturing, showed for
most States a larger proportion of women receiving $15 or more.
The proportions of the women reported who earned less than
their rates were much the greatest in manufacturing, were next high
in laundries, and were lowest in stores, general mercantile being
considerably better than 5-and-lO-cent stores in this respect. I n
manufacturing, earnings in many cases were considerably below
rates, and in general mercantile establishments the custom of paying
a sales bonus frequently raised earnings above rates.
The proportions of women reported as on the piece system i n
manufacturing industries ranged from 16.7 to '82.1 per cent, being
over 50 per cent in 10 States and over 75 per cent in 4 of these. The
data show that this system was markedly predominant in the great
woman-employing industries, and indications are that this is one
potent cause of the irregularity of women's earnings. About 90 per
cent of the women reported in cigar making, over 80 per cent of those
in hosiery and knit-goods mills, about 70 per cent of those in the
cotton and rubber industries, and over 50 per cent of those in shoe
factories were on piecework. I n 12 States the median for pieceworkers was above and the median for timeworkers was below that
i o r all women reported in the State.
I n every State nearly half, i f not more than half, of the women
i n manufacturing who reported on age were under 25. The highest
median of the week's earnings was for the group of women who were
30 and under 40 in six States, for those of 25 and under 30 in four
States. I n each age group the proportions of women who earned
$15 or over for the week showed a slight decline after the age of 30
and a marked decline after 40. I n 5-and-lO-cent stores the age at
which the median earnings were highest was 20 and under 25 in all
but three States, in laundries i t was 20 and under 25 in three and 25
and under 30 i n three, and i n general mercantile it was 30 and under
40 in five and 40 and,under 50 in six States.
I n each of four States more than 20 per cent of all the women
reported had been in the trade 10 years or longer, and in each of
seven additional States from about 10 to about 20 per cent had been
in the trade that length of time. The proportions of all the women
reported who had earnings of $15 or over showed an increase with
added years of experience until the period of 10 and under 15 years
iv-as reached, after which they declined. The length of experience



required to reach the highest earnings ordinarily was considerable
in general mercantile establishments, was less in laundries, and was
still less in 5-and-lO-cent stores.
Almost every industrial worker suffers considerable variation in
earnings during the year, yet she must live for 52 weeks whether or
not she receives wages each week. Year's earnings were taken for a
representative proportion of the steadier employees, those who had
worked in at least 44 weeks of the year preceding the study. I n
every State but two the highest median of the year's earnings of
white women was that for general mercantile, and in every State
but one the lowest was that for 5-and-lO-cpt stores. The median in
manufacturing was above that in laundries in 7 of 11 States. I n
manufacturing, the medians for the various States ranged from $400
to $915; in general mercantile, from $689 to $1,085; in laimdries,
from $463 to $758; and in 5-and-lO-cent stores, from $431 to $667.
Negro women in general had much lower earnings than had white
women. The negroes were found almost entirely in laundries and in
manufacturing—cigar and tobacco factories employing about twothirds of those in manufactures. I n six States larger proportions
of the women in laundries than in manufacturing received earnings
as low as $8 for the week reported upon. I n every case but one a
larger proportion of the women in. laundries than of those in
manufacturing had worked full time.
Industrial accidents.
Industrial accidents in the United States every year levy an
appalling toll on wage earners and on industry. Women workers,
while not subjected to many of the most serious industrial hazards,
do suffer from accidental injuries and from occupational diseases
as a result of their employment in industry. I n view of the fact
that most published reports about accidents fail to give the sex of
the injured, the Women's Bureau decided that it would be of value to
discuss this whole matter in a special bulletin with a compilation
of data from State reports and with emphasis laid on the importance
of separate accident statistics for men and women.
The Women's Bureau bulletin contains an analysis of State accident reports that show data by sex from 1920 to 1927, gives important facts about the number and character of accidents to women,
and, in addition, shows that the State reports that give industrial
accidents to men and to women separately are, except in very few
cases, insufficient and unstandardized.
Only 21 States during the period studied published any accident
figures by sex, and only 7 of these published a series throughout
the eight years. Moreover, the data when given by sex were incompletely analyzed and lacked uniformity. Only 11 States classified
the accidents by age, 11 by extent of disability, 7 by industry, 5
by cause; only 2 gave a frequency rate. Even the bulletins that
reported the same tyj^e of data were not uniform, because of the
lack of standardization in such classifications as age, cause, and
industry. New York was the only State that published a report
containing data on all the important classifications, and this comgete study was for one year only. Very few reports analyzed the
cts through correlation of sex with other important factors.



Differences in the compensation laws as to what constitutes an
accident, what employments shall be covered, and how much time
must elapse before the injured person becomes eligible for compensation, as well as differences in the administration of the laws, make
comparison of statistics difficult. Such difficulties in comparing accident data emphasize the need for more statistics compiled and
analyzed in the standard form recommended by the International
Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions, to
give an adequate basis for the work of accident prevention*
Analysis of data in the Wonien's Bureau study, however, revealed
certain significant facts. Accidents to women were actually and
relatively fewer than those to men. Women constituted a smaller
proportion of the total number injured than of the total number
gainfully occupied. Nevertheless, the numbers of women injured
were large. For example, in New York State as many as 7,000
women were compensated for industrial accidents in one year.
The proportion of injuries to women usually was higher where
women were a substantial proportion of all persons gainfully occupied and where a large proportion of the women were employed in
manufacturing. A much larger proportion of the women injured
than of the men were under 21 years of age.
h i regard to the results of the accidents, the injured women had
relatively fewer fatalities than had the men, and the two sexes had
about the same proportions of permanent total disabilities, but in
three States women had larger percentages of permanent partial
disabilities, the figures being, respectively, 9.1, 5.1, and 9.4 per cent
for women as compared to 6.2, 4.4, and 9.2 per cent for men. I n
two other States such disabilities constituted as much as 15.5 and
19.8 per cent of the total injuries to women, the percentages for men
in these two being 19 and 23.5, respectively.
I n the four States showing extent of disability correlated with
age, the records reveal that many of these dismemberments, disfigurements, and injuries causing loss of use of a member occurred to workers under 21. Reports from New York and Illinois showed an
average period of disability somewhat less for women injured than
for men.
I n five of the six States reporting industry classifications for men
and women according to the standard form, more than one-half of
the injuries to women were in manufacturing. Trade and the
group classification hotels, restaurants, and care of buildings also accounted for many accidents to women. Food, clothing, textiles,
metals, and machinery and vehicles were chief among the manufacturing industries causing such accidents. Machinery was the chief
cause of accidents in three of the five States reporting, and falls
of persons and handling of objects also were very important causes.
For men, the handling of objects and, though generally to a much
less extent, falls usually caused more accidents than did machinery.
Machines were responsible for more accidents relatively, and falls
for fewer accidents, to boys and girls than to men and women. I n
the three States reporting cause of accident and age of men and
women, machine accidents constituted approximately one-half of all
accidents to women under 21 years of age. I n the case of New York,
sewing machines, power presses, and food-products machines were
the chief types of machines injuring women.




Keport on prevailing wage standards of some countries that are members
of the Pan-Pacific Union,
Eeco^izing that the problem of improving the status of employed
women is world-wide in its scope, the Women's Bureau has been cooperating with women of other countries to secure better conditions for
working women. A t the first conference of Pan-Pacific women, held
under the auspices of the Pan-Pacific Union in Honolulu in 1928,
the Director of the Women's Bureau was appointed project director
for a study of the wages of women in Pan-Pacific countries.
The bureau assembled facts about the number of women employed,
their wages, and their hours of work in Australia, Canada, China,
Hawaii, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippine Islands, and the
United States. These facts w i l l be reported to the second PanPacific conference in Honolulu in August, 1930, and w i l l be discussed
in connection with a report on the cost of living in Pan-Pacific
While i t is impossible to make significant comparisons among the
wage rates of the women in these countries without information on
costs and standards of living, certain comparisons and contrasts are
valid. The percentage of all women who were gainfully employed
ranged from 15.2 in Canada in 1921 to 31 in Japan in 1920 and 13
i n the Philippine Islands in 1926. The figure for China was not
available. The 1920 census in the United States showed 21.1 per
cent of the women i n this country i n gainful occupations. The proportion of employed women who were engaged in manufacturing
industries varied from 7.4 per cent in Hawaii (1920) to 25.6 per cent
in Australia (1921). This information was not obtainable for the
Philippine Islands. I n the United States in 1920,22.6 per cent of the
total number of wage-earning women were in manufacturing industries. I n every country except Hawaii and the Philippine Islands
clothing factories and textile mills were the largest woman-employing
manufacturing industries. The food industries employed more
women in Hawaii than did any other industry group, and the cigar
and cigarette industries took the lead in this respect in the
The Women's Bureau report recommends: First, that the committee consider what action the Pan-Pacific conference can take to raise
the level of women's wages and to improve the character of wage
data in the member countries; second, that since the experience of the
past two years indicates that a study conducted by questionnaire is
not satisfactory, other and more definite plans should be made for
whatever project is undertaken.
Hours, wages, and living conditions of Young Women's Christian Association employees.
The bureau has cooperated with the National Young Women's
Christian Association in a study of the hours, wages, living conditions, and personal history of employees doing domestic work in the
association's centers and branches throughout the country. A great
many schedules from all sections of the United States were received,
from which the bureau tabulated the data and submitted to the association a series of comprehensive tables to aid i n the preparation of
Its report. Findings were published i n the Woman's Press of A p r i l ,
1930, and w i l l not be presented in report form by the bureau.



The questionnaire was answered in all or in part by 256 associations in 215 cities and towns in 43 States and the District of Columbia. I n addition, the national board furnished information on those
employed at the headquarters building and i n the summer camps.
The total number of employees dealt with was 3,252, comprising 1,889
white women, 637 negro women, 410 white men, and 316 negro men.
The study does not claim to cover the whole field nor even to present a carefully selected sample of local units, although there is
enough material to give a valuable partial picture. The occupations
listed are carried on by a specialized group that works under rather
unusual conditions, and the study is not exactly comparable to any
Only three girls under 16 were found among the 1,998 women reporting on age. The largest number of white women—about onefourth—were found to be 40 and under 60 years, while one-fifth were
in the 30-and-under-40-year group. On the whole, the ages of the
negro women were lower than those of the white women. Of the
women reporting on the subject, not far from one-half of the white
and over one-half of the negro women had at least one dependent.
The most outstanding fact with regard to hours is that a very large
number of the employees were reported as not working a f u l l day or
a f u l l week. I n general, part-time workers constituted an important
part of the work force. Eighty-eight of the 255 units reported that
some of the part-time workers^ were students. Of the white women
33.4 per cent and of the negro women 29 per cent had less than an
8-hour day.
Among dining-room employees, 17.3 per cent of the negro women
and 13.1 per cent of the white women wopked more than an 8-hour
day. Kitchen employees showed higher proportions on such a
schedule, 28.3 per cent and 17.5 per cent of the negro and white
women, respectively. I t was found that only 7 per cent of all the
white women and 5 per cent of the negroes worked more than a
10-hour day.
For full-time women workers who received no meals, the highest
median of the week's earnings of white women in any State was
$17.35 for California; the lowest was $14.15 for Pennsylvania. The
highest for the negro women, was $17.70 for New York and the lowest
was $13.60 for Pennsylvania. The highest median i n any State for
the full-time white women who received some meals i n connection
with their job was $15.90 for California; the lowest was $8.40 for
Louisiana. The negro full-time women receiving some meals had
their highest median in New York, $17, and their lowest i n South
Carolina, $6.85.
I t was found to be more customary for these women to receive
meals as part of their compensation than not to do so. Where comparisons are possible, in six States, the median earnings of full-time
white women receiving no meals were from $0.55 (in Ohio) to $3.30
(in New Jersey) higher than the median earnings of women receiving
meals. For negro women i n the three States furnishing such comparisons the differences i n medians for the two groups were $1.45
(Ohio), $0.70 (New York), and $0.10 (Pennsylvania).
I n regard to occupations, kitchen work paid more than did diningroom work, probably because women employed as waitresses were




expected to receive tips. I n all the States where the data permit of
comparison the full-time median for kitchen work was higher than
the corresponding median for dining-room work. The highest median
in any State for the white women receiving meals on full-time
dining-room work was $15.65, as against $18.10 for. kitchen workers.
A similar comparison for the negro women is not possible because the
great majority were found in kitchen work, the dining-room workers
being too few for the computation of a median i n every State but one,
where the median of the Mtchen workers exceeded that of the diningroom employees.
I t is of interest to point out that i n 6 of the 11 States where comparisons are possible negro women employees showed higher medians
for full-time work with some meals included than did the white
women, and i n another State the medians were the same. This would
indicate that negro women have here an unusual opportunity and
are not discriminated against in this field as they are in many others.
A comparison of wage data from this study with data for women
i n industry collected by the Women's Bureau i n various States makes
i t appear that with few exceptions the wages paid by the Young
Women's Christian Association to its women employees i n the occupations included were lower than wages paid i n the same States to the
women i n industry covered by the bureau surveys. I t is impossible
with the material at hand to decide what compensation for this is
found i n the fact that meals or l o d ^ n g may accompany the money
wage given by the Young Women's Christian Association. However,
since the wage levels i n the industries generally are low, the wages
paid by the association would i n many instances seem inadequate.
Women workers in the meat-packing industry.
Upon request from a volunteer committee of the National Conference of Social Work that an investigation of conditions among
employees in packing houses be undertaken, the Women's Bureau,
following its policy of cooperation w i t h agencies interested in the
economic status of workers, planned for such a survev. The field
work was begun i n June, 1928, and continued until February, 1929.
The studjr appeared of especial value i n view of the fact that the
numbers ot women so employed showed a material increase during
the last census decade for which figures are obtainable. According
to the census of occupations, the number of women laborers and
semiskilled workers i n slaughtering and meat packing more than
trebled from 1910 to 1920. I n the latter year 12,197 such employees
were reported, forming more than 10 per cent of all those recorded
i n the industry. Census figures as to the number of women so
engaged since 1920 are not available.
I n five States the number of women covered by the bureau's survey
included over three-fourths of those reported i n the 1920 census,
and in three other States i t included over half of the census number.
The study comprises 6,568 women workers i n 34 meat-packing plants
i n 13 cities and towns i n 9 States.
The working conditions in the establishments were carefully noted
by the bureau^ agents and recorded i n considerable detail on special



schedules. The plant record of each woman for a particular week
was copied from the pay rolls. The material related to the earnings
and hours of 5,101 women, and the period taken was a week in late
May or early June, 1928, effort being made to avoid the week w i t h
the holiday on the 30th of May.
I n every locality studied annual records were taken from the pay
rolls for a picked group of steady workers—^those who had worked i n
44 or more weeks during the year; the number of these women was
2j003. I n three cities i n Iowa and Minnesota annual data were
secured for all women who had been employed at any time during
the year, whether for 1 week or 62, including the record of their layoffs and other separations from the plant within the year as well as
their earnings and hours worked. These data were secured for 1,904
women and they are especially significant for the valuable information they contain on employment fluctuations i n meat packing.
Annual records were based on the year from the first week i n June,
1927, to the end of May, 1928.
I n addition, employment records of the firm were consulted to
iiscertain the personal history of those women who had been employed
at some time i n the year—^their nativity, race, time i n the United
States i f foreign born, age, and marital status.
Consideration was given to certain features especially characteristic of the industry, such as the extent of the operation of the 40-hour
guaranteed-pay plan upon the women studied and the effect on their
earnings of the incentive systems in use.
Data on time worked and earnings were gathered for 357 men
related to the women studied, to form a further basis for ascertaining
the economic conditions of the families and the effects of memployment of their male members.
Finally, visits were made to the homes of 897 of the women for
whom information had been secured in the plants, in order to obtain
^ fairly complete picture of the workers' family responsibilities, general economic status, and industrial history, including past ]obs,
periods of unemployment, and irregularity of work. Opportunity
was afforded by these visits for comments on the occupations engaged
i n at the time and the reasons for working. The information secured
in this way also included data on kind of home, assistance in household duties, wage earners and non wage earners i n the family, steadiness of employment of wage earners, extent to which women were the
sole support of the family, earnings of these women, and size of
their families; and reasons for working and proportion of total
family income contributed by womeii who were not the sole support
^ f the family. The period for which the home-visit schedules were
filled was from July, 1928, to January, 1929.
Hawaiian pineapple canneries.
The canning industrjr is one i n which the Women's Bureau is interested because of the irregularity of employment and of hours for
women workers, due to the seasonal nature of the work and the perishability of the product. The Hawaiian establishments offered an
excellent opportunity for the bureau to make a study of women
working i n canneries that were models of modern equipment; that
were operated more or less continuously throughout the year, with
the greatest peak in the summer; and that had the additional




interesting feature of being located off the mainland of the United
States. This survey of women's hours, wages, and working conditions included three plants in the city of Honolulu and four on the
island of Maui. W i t h courteous cooperation, the canners furnished
data on the wages of about 4,500 women employed during the peak
period i n the summer of 1928. Data also were collected on seasonal
fluctuations in the number of days of operating, month to month, as
well as i n numbers employed. The details reveal not only seasonal
changes but irregularity of hours from day to day and in some canneries the extent of overtime. Material illustrative of racial distribution, age, and schooling of the employees was compiled. I n
addition, special attention was paid to the good working conditions
found almost universally i n the canneries visited.
Although the data have been tabulated, the report on the investigation is not sufficiently far advanced to make a detailed discussion of
findings possible or advisable at this time. I t is of interest to point
out, however, that i n Honolulu the median of the weekly earnings
was found to be $9.90, and that the median of the monthly earnings
reported for Maui was $20.75.
Conditions of women in the cigar and cigarette industry.
To ascertain the effects upon women's employment of the recent
installation of the automatic cigar-making machine and other technological changes in the manufacture of cigars and cigarettes was
the purpose of a study conducted during the past year. One hundred and eight plants i n 11 States were visited, employing approximately 26,000 women. Data on the status of employment were
obtained from establishments still operating on the old hand method
of manufacture, from some i n which the modern machinery had been
installed, and from others i n the process of transition where cigars^
were made both by hand and by machine. Data also were obtained
on the scheduled hours and earnings of women in th^ plants visited.
Valuable information was secured from visits to the homes of 1,152:
women in eight States who had been affected by the technological
changes in the cigar industry. A preliminary analysis of the data
shows the effects on the women of the abandonment of cigar factories incident to the introduction of the machine, through transfer *
of plants to other localities, or through the merging of plants. Most
of these women were experienced cigar workers and a large proportion of them were well past their youth. Of the 1,088 reporting on
the subject, one-half had been employed in the industry for 10 years
or longer, almost one-fifth for 20 years or more. Nearly three-fifths
of the women were 30 years of age or older; almost one-third were 40^
or more. Since the abandonment of the factories in which they had
been employed, 12.6 per cent of the 1,152 women reporting on this
had had no work, only 9.7 per cent had been employed f u l l time, and
the remainder^—over three-fourths of the total number—^had worked
only part of the time.
Even the women who had found some employment had i n many
cases suffered considerable loss of time. The readjustment had
caused more than one-third of them to lose 40 per cent or more of
the time since their first lay-off. Even i n cities i n which some opportunities for work in cigar factories still existed, over one-fourth of



the women who found subsequent employment had lost 40 per cent
or more of their time.
Of those who had had some employment, more than one-third had
found work exclusively in cigars, but more than one-third had never
been able to return to the trade in which they were experienced;
the remainder had shifted about, working both in cigar factories and
in other lines. Even those who were able to return to their trade
could not always find work in the particular occupation in which
they were experienced. Over one-fourth of the jobs taken by the
displaced women had been in some bmnch of manufacturing other
than cigar making, and of the remaining jobs, a little over onefifth were in hotels and restaurants and laundries, nearly one-third
were i n other domestic and personal service, and almost one-fifth
were i n stores.
Some indication of the money loss sustained by the women subjected to the necessitv of changed employment appears in the fact
that a comparison of wages before and after such change shows a
drop for the women who remained i n the cigar industry and a much
greater decline for those forced to accept work i n which they were
not experienced.
Both i n loss of employment and in loss of wage the older women
had suflEered more than had the younger, and women who had reached
the thirtieth birthday had come to be classified as old for the purpose of this industry. The oldest women had suffered relatively
longer periods of unemployment than had the others, and ordinarily the proportion who were unemployed increased with the age
of the women. I n subsequent jobs, both in cigars and in other work,
the decreases i n wages were always greater for the groups of women
of over 30 than for those younger, and ordinarily they were greatest
for the women beyond 40 years of age.
trnemployment of women in the radio industry.
The purpose of the survey of employment conditions i n the radio
industry was to ascertain what foundation existed for the complaints
received of undertime and lay-offs in plants making radio sets and
tubes and whether or not i t was a local condition or typical of the
industry as a whole; also whether or not i t was a usual slump
recurring from year to year. Labor audits were obtained from
firms located i n nine States where much of the industry centers,
and the data represent employment conditions i n factories that made
80 to 90 per cent of the sets and at least 90 per cent of the tubes manufactured i n 1929.
The trends of employment are graphically presented in a series
of charts; some are for individual plants, while others are composite curves. The charts do not indicate a standard or mode of
employment, but picture rather a series of abrupt hills and valleys
illustrative of the very highly seasonal nature of the work during
the past five years, the recurring depression year after year tending
almost to obscure the general upward trend of employment i n the
industry during that period.
I n 24 firms making receiving sets i n 1929 that were included i n
the study, 32,000. men. and women were added to the force by August,
following the low . point i n the spring, and before December the
vast majority were laid off. Such fluctuation was not new to the in




dustry, for year after year the recurring depression has been followed by a sharp rebound in the summer that has extended into the
fall, only to be followed by another slump.
Study of State laws and regulations pertaining to the installation and
maintenance of toilet facilities in places of employment.
I n maldng its investigations of the problems of women i n industry
i n various States, the Women's Bureau has taken into consideration
the conditions of the work place because of the effect such conditions
are known to have on the health and comfort of employees. This
has involved, i n all cases, inspection of the sanitary facilities provided for the use of employees, and the inspectors have found great
differences in the standards of toilet facilities.
Such differences are due largely to the lack in most States of any
definite legal requirements for such facilities. Some States h p e
no laws or regulations whatsoever on the subject. I n others having
legislation, some or all of the provisions are so indefinite that they
can not serve as standards to which all establishments should conform. I t is not only important that a law require adequate and
separate toilet facilities, but since ideas vary so widely as to what
constitutes adequate and separate facilities i t is essential that the
requirements be so definitely stated that there can be no misunderstanding about them.
Accordingly, to inform the public as to the inadequate and insanitary conditions existing i n plants, to emphasize the need for better
legislation on the subject, and to point out the definite standards
making for improvement were the purposes of the bureau study on
this subject. The report w i l l contain an analysis of toilet conditions
in the plants inspected by the bureau in its State surveys and a summary of all the State laws and regulations i n force, whether under
the jurisdiction of the department of labor or the department of
health, presenting i n chart form the provisions of each law, the types
of establishments covered by it, the penalty for violation, and the
department charged with the responsibility of enforcement. Such
arrangement w i l l enable the reader to see at a glance not only what
are the differences in standards but which States have the most
definite and inclusive regulations.
The sanitary service of drinking water in places of employment.
I n all its surveys of conditions of employment the Women's
Bureau has studied the type of drinking facility offered to employees.
Because of the insanitary condition of such facilities i n many places,
an effort to improve them seems urgent. Accordingly, the Bureau
has summarized its own reports on the types found i n various States,
studied reports of bacteriological examinations of bubbling drinking
fountains and standards for their design, analyzed the State laws,
rules, and recommendations pertaining to drinking facilities i n places
of employment, and conferred with health officials about the (question
of enforcement of regulations. These data and their analysis are to
be published i n a popular bulletin.
Bacteriological examinations of drinking fountains show that all
vertical-jet fountains retain disease germs from the water that flows
back upon the orifice and from the actual taldng of the fixture into
the mouth; and, furthermore, that many angle-]et fountains can be




contaminated by improper use. The American Public Health Association's standards for the design and construction of drinking fountains require the angle jet, with proper guards and several other
features, but most fountains used at present do not meet these requirements. Of 1,500 places of employment in 21 States inspected
by the Women's Bureau since 1922, more than 40 per cent provided
bubbling drinking fountains for at least part of their employees, but
less than 10 per cent of the plants with fountains had the angle-jet
type for all their employees.
The State laws and regulations pertaining to drinking facilities
show that little action has oeen taken by health authorities or departments of labor to prevent the use of vertical-jet fountains. Only
one State and the District of Columbia require that fountains be
angle jet, and in only 17 States do the boards of health or departments of labor recommend this type of installation.
Because of their importance to health, the Women's Bureau advocates that only the most sanitary drinking facilities be used.
Vitreous-enamel workers.
W i t h the introduction into manufacturing of new processes requiring the use of certain solvents and substances of a more or less
poisonous nature, the need for scientific investigation of the effects
of such materials on employees who handle them, particularly women
workers, is being urged by those interested in the problems pertaining
to wage-earning women.
As part of its program during the past year the Women's Bureau,
in conjunction with Dr. Alice Hamilton, has been investigating the
situation of women engaged i n the spray painting of stoves, with
special attention to the effects of this vitreous-enamel work on the
health of the women. Thus far only a limited number of women
and plants have been visited, but additional investigation is planned.
From the firms already covered information has been obtained on
occupations, days lost, and separations for all workers over a 12month period. Through home visits an effort has been made to get
in touch with all women who are or have been vitreous-enamel
workers and to ascertain from them causes of absence and separation
as well as any symptoms manifested as a result of their occupation.
Hours and production.
A study of hours and production was an important part of the
work of the field force during the past year. The object of the study
is to show the relation of hours—^long or short—to piecework production, giving special emphasis to the effect on output of an increase or
decrease in daily hours. The selection of plants whose pay rolls contained the data required was a difiicult task, since only such plants
could be included as had made a change in scheduled hours during
the year, manufactured an identical product under different hour
schedules, or had periods of overtime o f six weeks or more. Obviously
no formal schedule could be used in plants under such different circumstances, and the records copied i n one plant can not be made
comparable to those i n another because of changes i n scheduled hours
or in overtime schedules, or because of the various types of changed
conditions. Accordingly, the data from each plant require separate
tabulation and analysis. I n six basic industries—candy, cigars,




clothing, metal and metal products, textiles, and watches—records
were copied from the pay rolls of about 15 plants by the agents of
the Women's Bureau.
Women in the medical profession.
I n cooperation with the University of Chicago the Women's Bureau
has been engaged in a survey of women in the medical profession in
order to obtain information on the following points: Whether
women are selecting specialized types of practice within the profession; to what extent limitations such as sex prejudice, custom, or
outside responsibilities affect their choice and the nature of their
practices; and to what degree women practitioners cooperate in professional enterprises. Approximately 3,500 questionnaires were sent
out to women physicians selected from the directory of the American
Medical Association. About 1,000 replies were received.
Human waste in industry.
The past few months have seen the formulation of the preliminary
program for an important study of human waste in industry, which
w i l l be wide in^ scope, of great significance, and i n line with the
Women's Bureau function of formulating policies and standards and
conducting investigations to safeguard the interests of women workers and to make their services most effective for the national good.
The.main purposes of the survey are: (1) To study from the viewpoint of women workers the effects.of changed methods i n industry,
the extent of unemployment resulting from such changes, and the
systems used by wise managements to guard against t & o w i n g employees out of work by th^e shift from one method to another^
through absorption and adjustment of displaced workers within
the plant or industry or within other industries; and (2) to compile
information of value to other managements faced with similar problems and seeking help i n the solution of such problems. The
Women's Bureau already has undertaken a part of this investigation, working i n cooperation with the Bell Telephone System,
which, i n changing over to the dial system, has made careful study
and evolved efficient solutions of these problems of displacement and
Women in the Government service.
Because of the many inquiries received i n regard to the status,
salaries, and opportunities of women i n the service of the United
States Government, considerable work has been done i n collecting
available and recent information on the subject. I n this study particular attention has been given to the status of the professional
woman. Figures have been collected from the departments showing
the number of women in professional service i n 1930 in relation to
the number of men, and the proportionate numbers of each sex with
salaries below $3,000 and of $3,000 or more. Study has been made of
the civil-service examinations given during the year 1928—the
latest available data—^in an attempt to determine the number and
variety of professional and scientific positions potentially open to
women, and this has been supplemented by figures showing the actual
number and quality of appointments of women made during the
fiscal year 1928 and by a brief account of the opening of the civil



service to women, the methods and possibilities of promotion for
women, and the number and variety of their positions i n each department at the present time.
Domestic-service employees in Philadelphia,
Another piece of work handled by the bureau was the tabulation
of data contained on questionnaires answered by domestic workers i n
an extensive study of domestic employment being conducted by the
Philadelphia Council on . Household Occupations. As part of this
study the bureau also prepared tables of data collected by the Philadelphia organization from employers of domestic workers. The report now being prepared by the Philadelphia agency in consultation
with the bureau w i l l be published by the bureau and w i l l prove a
valuable contribution to the controversial "servant problem."
Married women workers.
From work sheets prepared in Bryn Mawr College the bureau has
drawn up tables for a study on married women in industrial plants
in and around Philadelphia, the survey having been inaugurated by
Dr. Susan M. Kingsbury, of the department of social economy of
Bryn Mawr College, as a piece of research work for students in her
department specializing in the problems of women i n industry. The
work sheets were made up from questionnaires answered by employers of women as to the position and status of married women i n
their employ, as well as to their preference for married women
workers and their willingness to employ them.
The study of material contained in such sources as the State labor
laws and the publications and records of the various State labor departments, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United
States Bureau of the Census, the International Labour Office, and
nongovernmental organizations has been an important factor in the
bureau's program during the past year.
Much material of this nature has been compiled and sent out in
leply to requests constantly being received from individuals and
organizations throughout the United States and in other countries.'
Information is collected also from numerous publications and records
for use in connection with the bureau's own. surveys.
The following studies, discussed in preceding pages of this report,
have been or are being prepared within the research division of the
Chronological Development of Labor Legislation f o r Women i n the U n i t e d
A Study of T w o Groups of Denver M a r r i e d Women A p p l y i n g f o r Jobs.
Industrial Home Work.
I n d u s t r i a l Accidents.
PrevaUing Wage Standards f o r Women i n Some Countries T h a t A r e Members
of the Pan-Pacific Union.
The Sanitary Service of D r i n k i n g W a t e r i n Places of Employment.
Study of State L a w s and Regulations P l a i n i n g to the I n s t a l l a t i o n and Maintenance of T o i l e t F a c i l i t i e s i n Places of Employment.

Lists of references on various subjects, including unemployment,
vocational guidance, and budgets for wage-earning women, have
been prepared and sent out upon request.




The Wews Letter.
The News Letter has been issued periodically throughout the yeai^
reporting current activities relating to working women in this and
other countries. Such information has included legislative enactments in the various States and countries; the findings of investigations relative to hours, wages, working conditions, occupationSj
budgets, health and safety problems, trade-unions, of women at work
here and abroad; notes on conferences and meetings of interest
changes i n personnel among State labor officials; and other matters
that come to the attention of the bureau through constant researcli
and observation.
labor legislation for women in 1929-30.
A close watch has been kept on all labor legislation pertainiiia
to women workers in foreign countries as well as in the United
States. A record has been kept of any new laws passed and changes
i n old ones during the year, and information has been given out
from time to time in various forms, in answer to inquiries about these
laws, in the News Letter statements dnd in special articles.
Regular legislative sessions in 10 States and special sessions in
several others during 1930 yielded little in the way of legislation
directly affecting women workers. I n New York, however, amendments to the hour law now require in factories and mercantile
establishments a weekly half holiday if more than eight hours are
worked on any day in the w^eek, and they also forbid any overtime
in connection with the 48-hour 6-day week. Several fair-Avage or
minimum-wage bills were introduced in both houses of the New
York Legislature, but were defeated, and a bill to allow the emplovment of women in restaurants between 10 o'clock at night and
6 o'clock i n the morning again was introduced and defeated.
Although previously held unenforceable by the attorney general
of the State, the night-work law^ in New Jersey, without additional
legislative action, was put into effect during the past year by the
newly established bureau for Avomen and children. A bill further
regulating home work by requiring the licensing of contractors and
distributors was passed by the legislature i n this State, was ap
proved by the governor, and is now law. Another bill to extend
the night-work prohibition to women in restaurants was defeated.
Several pieces of legislation affecting women were before the
Massachusetts general court. Notable among these was a bill to
change the wording of the hour law so as specifically to cover women
employed " i n or in connection with " the listed industries or establishments. The law as it still stands specifies women " in laboring "
and, according to a decision of the State supreme court, covers only
women who do physical labor. Another bill not enacted called for
an investigation or married women gainfully occupied, their financial condition, and their other means of support.
Unsuccessful efforts were made in South Carolina to establish a
48-hour week in cotton and woolen mills, to prohibit the employment
of women and girls after 10 o'clock at night, and to limit the number
of looms to be operated by a mill worker.
Though not the result of legislative action, i t is important to note
that Pennsylvania established in the bureau of inspection a women's



and children's section with power to supervise generally the enforcement of laws and regulations governing the employment of women
and minors. This section is distinct from the bureau of women and
childrenj which is a research bureau except for its supervision of
home work, labor-law enforcement always having been conducted by
the bureau of inspection.
The activities of the Women's Bureau in broadcasting its findings
do not stop with the publication of its bulletins. Since the material
these contain is largely of a scientific, technical, and statistical nature,
it is necessary to translate i t into popular form, with emphasis on its
human interest, so as to make an appeal to the general public and to
carry on the educational program necessary to bring about an underttcanding not only of the function and value of the bureau but of the
importance of giving due consideration to all matters pertaining to
\fage-earning women.
Such popularization of facts and figures constitutes the special
task of the division of public information. This work has shown
steady progress and considerable expansion during the year. I t has
mcluded the preparation and distribution of news releases on all the
bureau publications issued in the 12 months; on the outstanding
activities of the bureau; on speeches by the director and other members of the staff; on their participation i n conferences throughout the
country; and on exhibits prepared and circulated by the bureau. I n
all, about 50 news releases have been written and sent out, the great
majority of them to approximately 3,000 correspondents and ecfitors
of newspapers and periodicals, these constituting a veritable and
efficient network for spreading broadcast the various types of information to be disseminated by the bureau.
Under the direction of this division have been prepared many
special articles—seventj^-odd i n number—on the bureau's activities;
on its new bulletins as they have been issued; and on various other
timely subjects, such as health problems, labor laws, family and
economic responsibilities, hours, wages, working conditions, standards of employment, economic old age, and married-women workers,
all from the viewpoint of women. These articles have been prepared
for a variety of uses, chiefly for newspapers and periodicals ranging
in type from the extremely popular to the most scientific and technical. Several different kinds of yearbooks and encyclopedias have
requested and been furnished with summaries of the bureau's activities or discussions of particular subjects. Special messages for Labor
Day and New Year's Day were sent out and were given considerable
space in the press. Several radio talks were delivered by the director of the bureau in cooperation with nongovernmental organizations. Upon request a number of reviews of reports on women
workers issued by agencies outside the Government were written by
members of the bureau staff for use in educational periodicals.
A new service, entitled "Uncle Sam and the Woman Worker,"
was inaugurated i n June of the present year, on the tenth anniversary of the bureau as a permanent organization. The series consists
of short popular articles issued weekly and designed for use by the




woman's page or column i n newspapers and periodicals, about 1,400
publications being served in this way. Women responsible for a
woman's radio program also have been receiving and making use of
this material. I n general the articles are everyday, common-sense
talks along the line of economic and social problems relating to
women workers. The activities and standards of the Women's
Bureau as well as the various problems pertaining to wage-earning
women as workers, breadwinners, home makers, mothers, citizens,
members of a community, have formed and w i l l continue to form
the themes of these releases. They w i l l include also discussions of
occupations and personal data as related to women workers, humaninterest stories, word pictures of jobs, and descriptions of changes
in industrial methods affecting women. W i t h the constant growth
in the number and proportion of women wage earners, there is increasing interest on the part of most women in these matters and
increasing demand for material along these lines i n the daily press
and periodicals. Not only wage-earning women themselves but
many others, because of the demands of club work, citizenship duties,
or family interests', are seeking such information.
Copies of all articles and releases are kept on file and constitute
a storehouse of valuable information that is drawn on again and
again i n response to appeals for information on various topics
concerning women workers constantly pouring into the bureau.
Another type of work requiring considerable time and expert attention is that of interviews with individuals, representatives of organizations, correspondents and special-feature writers for newspapers,
and magazine editors and writers who apply to the bureau for
authentic material and data for use in their own activities.
Several popular bulletins containing attractive illustrations have
been in the process of preparation, one consisting of a series of short
articles about the contents of bureau publications on various topics,
another dealing with the exhibits circulated by the bureau, and a
third discussing the history and achievements of the Women's
The preparation and circulation of popular exhibits, such as
models, motion pictures, maps, charts, 'posters, and folders, has
always formed an important feature in the Women's Bureau program. These displays are lent free of charge, the borrower paying
transportation charges on all material that can not be sent under
frank. Certain wall exhibits, however, are not only sent free but
given for permanent use. A i l material is used intensively and
extensively by schools, colleges, universities, churches, employers'
associations, labor and industrial groups, and women's organizations
everywhere i n the United States and also i n a number of foreign
countries, particularly in connection with educational courses, con-,
ventions, conferences, and other meetings. During the past year
exhibits have been sent to 41 States, the District of Columbia, and
Hawaii, and to the following foreign countries: Argentina, Canada,
Japan, Scotland, and Switzerland. The special exhibit, " The American Woman at Work," sent to the Iberian-American Exposition in
Seville i n the spring of 1929, continued to be used at the exposition



until its close i n the spring of 1930. A t that time the exhibit was
awarded a gold medal by the Iberian-American Commission and
then was lent by the bureau to Spanish authorities for continued
educational use i n Spain.
Participation i n such international expositions as well as in
national ones of a less pretentious nature is one of the important
ways in which the bureau aims to reach and to educate the public
in regard to important facts about women workers. For this reason the bureau welcomed the opportunity to participate i n the National Industrial Exposition held i n Chicago in March, 1930, sponsored by industrial engineers, free space being granted the Women's
Bureau for its exhibits. I n this way the bureau's activities and its
standards for the employment of women were brought to the immediate attention of executives i n industry, employers and managers
of companies exhibiting under the same auspices, and delegates and
speakers at the National Management Congress held i n Chicago
during the same week and i n close connection with the exposition.
I n many instances these representatives were from firms employing
large groups of women engaged in the manufacture of the industrial equipment on display at the exposition and were concerned
about many of the same problems pertaining to women workers as
fall within the scope of the Women's Bureau studies. As part of
the Women's Bureau program at the exposition were health features for women workers put on by industrial organizations of
national importance, employing large groups of women and noted
for the high standards in force in their plants. Considerable interest
was shown i n the Women's Bureau booth by participants in and
visitors to the exposition,number of requests for information on
various technical subjects being received and complied with by the
division of public information.
Another type of exhibit, of which gratifying use has been made,
comprises pictures of women engaged i n various processes and
illustrates good and bad conditions in plants and service facilities found m up-to-date establishments employing women. These
pictures are actual photographs taken in many different plants
throughout the country and in most cases presented to the bureau
for use by employers. A file of these pictures is maintained in the
bureau, i n order that copies with appropriate captions may be given
or lent to individuals and organizations for illustrative and educational purposes.
The new exhibits prepared by the bureau during the year consisted of a poster for use with the motion picture, " T h e Story of
the Women's Bureau," and the following charts: A set of five charts
on negro women, showing 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; and six
graphic and pictorial charts on salesgirls in 5-and-lO-cent and other
limited-price shops, showing their daily, weekly, and Saturday hours
as well as rates, earnings^ age, marital status, and living conditions.
A new popular folder giving an outline of the bureau's functions and
a topical presentation of its publications also was prepared and given
wide circulation.




The use of exhibits was greatly stimulated through the distribution from time to time of descriptive lists and circular letters concerning the exhibits.
The fact that women have been i n a weaker economic position than
have men necessitates greater consideration and control of standards
for their employment. Therefore the upbuilding of safeguards is
necessary, to conserve alike the industrial efficiency and the health
of women and to make i t impossible for selfish interests to exploit
them as unwilling competitors in lowering those standards of hours,
wages, working conditions, and industrial relations that are for the
best interests of the workers, the industries, and society as a whole.
This important function of the bureau is limited only by the lack
of an adequate appropriation. The small amount of money that has
been allotted to i t does not meet the numerous requests for information i n regard to the employment of women that continually are
being made of the bureau, nor does i t permit the proper response to
the msLXij appeals for the cooperation of the bureau with other
organizations interested in the advancement of wage-earning women.
To be able to supply all the required information, the bureau should
. conduct a number of additional studies of the many complex situations confronting women workers. Every year the bureau has
been obliged to refuse requests for surveys and investigations that
are essential for compiling and supplying the types of information
Of the over eight and one-half million women gainfully employed,
according to the census of 1920, almost half are working in the present-day complex business and industrial situation. I t is these
women who help in the making of all the things that go to furnish
the home and clothe and feed the family, of practically all the articles in everyday use, in fact, and who also help through their earnings to replenish the family budget so that these numerous things
may be purchased, thus playing an important part in upbuilding
and maintaining prosperity for the country as a whole.
There are many hazards that confront these women at work. One
of the most outstanding is the hazard of the long day, which is
dangerous to the health of the workers. Then there is the hazard
of unemployment, met especially by the older women i n this mechanized world. A l l such questions need to be studied and analyzed
with care, so that reliable information on the many vital issues of
to-day can be secured and made available.
A f t e r all, the job is the biggest thing in the working woman's life,
because on the job depends her whole existence and m so many instances that of the family to which she belongs. The theory that
women work only for pin money has long been exploded. Through
its investigations the Women's Bureau has found that instead of
engaging in gainful occupations for extra money to spend on unessentials, w^omen as a whole have definite financial responsibilities
and are contributing their share to the family budget. Contraiy
to the belief that women are or should be set apart from the economic





scheme of existence, they are found now to be doubly responsible
in the family life, fipt through the money that they make and
contribute to the family purse, and second through their performance of inescapable home duties. Women do much of the work i n
the home and in many cases have the entire financial responsibility
as well.
Certain much-needed studies that have been advocated and discussed in some detail in previous annual reports are as follows:
Occupational hazards, the piece work system, the married woman
in industry, posture at work, and women in semiprofessional and
professional pursuits.
Occupational shifts.
When the figures from the census of 1930 become available, i t is
hoped and believed that they will afford considerable data to enable
the bureau to make at least partial replies to some of the inquiries
it frequently receives as to the status and occupations of women i n
the population of the United States. These inquiries include, for
example, questions as to whether the proportion of women who are
entering industry and the professions is on the increase, to what
extent women are displacing men or men are supplanting women in
the various types of employment, and what is the trend of any occupational shifting that may be ascertainable. I t is hoped that the
new census of unemployment may furnish a basis for determining
in some degree the extent to which women are affected by this condition, and that the Women's Bureau can make the necessary analysis of census data pertaining to gainfully occupied women.
State reporting and organization for handling problems affecting employed
The data the bureau has assembled on industrial accidents show
the extent to which i t is possible to obtain such information from
reports by the States. Additional reports on this subject should be
followed and the material they afford collected and analyzed from
time to time with a view to'obtaining further knowledge of the
frequency, character, causes, and means of prevention of such accidents. I n addition, the bureau's information on legal changes and
court decisions in the States should be kept up to date and studies
should be made of the organization maintained or the facilities
provided in the various States for the handling of problems affectmg employed women.
Employment experiences.
A n important part of the knowledge that constitutes the foundation for employment adjustments that w i l l meet the needs of employed women and contribute to the efficiency of industrial organization lies in the mass of individual experiences. Every opportunity
should be taken to build up an increasing body of information in
regard to the personal experience of women as to regularity of employment, adequacy of earnings, extent of economic responsibilities,
effect of age on opportunities, and other factors i n their industrial
life whether in various jobs or for considerable periods i n the same




Standard equipment for health and safety.
I t is important for the bureau to make detailed and scientific
studies, similar to the ones conducted during.the past year on drinking and toilet facilities, of such important factors making for the
health, safety, and comfort of women workers as seating, ventilation,
lighting, heating, and service facilities, including wash rooms, cloak
rooms, lunch rooms, test rooms, and first-aid equipment i n places of
employment; to analvze State laws relating to such problems; and to
present as guides to State departments, industrial and business establishments, and all other groups seeking aid along these lines, the most
advanced and scientifically worked out standards possible.
Industrial poisons.
The bureau urges an intensive and extensive investigation of
special hazards to women employed in occupations involving the use
and handling of materials that may affect their physical well-being;
the study of methods used by employers to protect them; and the
effectiveness of such protection.
Each year brings changes in industrial practices that involve the
use of materials that may prove dangerous to women—for example,
the development of the use of radium in paint and the new substances
that are appearing constantly in pastes, dyes, and other compounds.
These hazards to women are increasing everywhere at an alarming
rate. Comparatively few employers are aware of this insidious type
of danger and few recognize the need of precaution. Most States
have no legislation on the subject, and those that have laws experience
difficulty i n controlling the situation because of the constantly changing processes and substances involved. Research to prevent or to
reduce such hazards must keep step with these changes, and must be
undertaken by the bureau i f its duty in formulating policies and
standards of employment for women is to be fulfilled.
The technical reports available on the subject of industrial poisons
are of value chiefly to experts. Moreover, only the informed would
know how to secure and to take advantage of them. There is great
need of general information about the poisons that are known to
exist i n materials used for certain purposes, the jobs that may involve
contact with poisonous substances or fumes, the symptoms indicating
poisoning, the working conditions surrounding such occupations, and
the precautions that can be taken to reduce these hazards. Women
workers themselves, as well as employers, constantly are requesting
of the Women's Bureau information of this kind, and a small beginning has been made in supplying such information for a single
type of work—the coating of sheet and cast iron w i t h vitreous
enamel. Owing to lack of funds, even this one study can not be
carried out completely, and i t is obvious that the more comprehensive research that is so greatly needed w i l l require considerable
increases i n the funds of the bureau.
I t is a recognized fact that the preparation of such technical information i n popular and readable form for general distribution involves
great difficulties. The subject and type of study require special attention to insure the best results at the lowest cost, and certain technical
aspects require expert knowledge that can be supplied only by the
highest authorities in their respective fields. Hence, the bureau's




desire is to be enabled to hold frequent consultation with recognized
authorities, so that employers of women may have confidence that its
conclusions and recommendations are based upon scientific method
and experiment, as well as being wise and practicable.
The field work in a study of industrial hazards in women's employment requires a knowledge of industries and occupations that
can be sup|)lied by the Women's Bureau, and the Women's Bureau
only, since its staff has expert knowledge of conditions in industry
and since the problems involved are national i n scope.
Respectfully submitted.
M A R T A N D E R S O N , Director.