View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

HIGHLIGHTS
1920 - 1960

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
James P. Mitchell, Secretary
WOMEN'S B U R E A U
Mrs. A l i c c K . Leopold, Director

H I G H L I G H
The Past

1920

m i l l i o n women workers

T S
Today - I960
22y m i l l i o n women workers

The average woman worker—single and 28 years o l d

The average woman worker—married and 40 years o l d

Less than 1 out of every 4 women a worker

More than 1 out of every 3 women a worker

About 1 out of every 5 workers was a woman

About 1 out of every 3 workers i s a woman

Largest occupations f o r women ( i n order):
Factory workers; private-household workers;
farm workers; stenographers, t y p i s t s , and
s e c r e t a r i e s ; teachers; saleswomen

Largest occupations f o r women ( i n order):
Factory workers; stenographers, t y p i s t s , and
secretaries; private-household workers; saleswomen; teachers; waitresses and cooks
This l i s t i n g shows the increased importance of
the stenographic group and saleswomen, as w e l l
as the sharp decline among farm workers. However, a variety of other occupations have been
gaining i n importance f o r women—nurses and
other p r o f e s s i o n a l health personnel,
office
workers of many kinds, research workers, techn i c i a n s , l i b r a r i a n s , s o c i a l workers, and spec i a l i s t s i n food and home management

Less than 1/3 m i l l i o n women e n r o l l e d i n college
Degrees granted to women:
16,642 Bachelor's
1,294 Master's
93 Doctorates
A t o t a l of 18,029 degrees




Almost 1 l / 4 m i l l i o n women e n r o l l e d i n college
Degrees granted to women (estimated):
132,000 Bachelor's
23,600 Master's
1,000 Doctorates
A t o t a l of 156,000 degrees—almost 9 times the
number i n 1920

The Future - 1970
30 m i l l i o n women workers
The average woman worker~married and 41 years o l d
Except f o r teen-age g i r l s and women over 65. about 2 out of every 5 women w i l l be a worker
About 1 out of every 3 workers w i l l be a woman

N)




Further expansion i n the employment of women i n occupations i n which they have long been
established, such as teachers, o f f i c e workers, l i b r a r i a n s , s o c i a l workers, home economists, nurses, laboratory technicians, medical and other health workers
Greater opportunities f o r women w i t h the required a b i l i t y and educational q u a l i f i c a t i o n s
as mathematicians, s t a t i s t i c i a n s , s c i e n t i s t s , engineers, technicians of various kinds,
and higher l e v e l o f f i c e workers with t r a i n i n g i n the use of e l e c t r o n i c data processing
and other business machines
Over 2 m i l l i o n women e n r o l l e d i n colleges
Degrees granted to women:
234,000 B a c h e l o r ' s
45,000 Master's
1,700 Doctorates
A t o t a l of 280,700 degrees—almost twice as many as i n 196O

Chart 1.

Women in the Population and Labor Force: 1920-Projected 197 0
(14 Y e a r s a n d O v e r )
36,190,0001
44,013,000 r

POPULATION

] 8,229,000

1920

1940

'50,549,000 L

] 13,015,000

1950

57,103,000 1

116,512,000

1960

64,074,000 L

LABOR
FORCE

10,396,000

1930

I 22,548,000

March

1

1970

77,444,000 [[

29,649,000

Projocfed

Sourc*: U. S. Otparlmtnt of Commcrci. Burtau of th« Ctntut.
,U. S. Otpartmtnt of Labor. Suraiu of Labor SUtlttlc*

The number of women in the lobor force hos increased more roptdly than their number in the population.
In 1 9 2 0 , 2 3 percent of the women were m the labor force; in 1 9 4 0 , 2 6 percent; and t o d o y , 3 5 percent.
Though populotion growth has been the bosic factor in the tremendous rise in the number of women workers, other foctors such as notionol emergencies and high levels of production ond employment since World Warll
hove contributed significantly to this development.

Chart 2.

Men and Women in the Labor Force: 1920 an^ Projected 1970
{14 Years a n d O v e r )
P«rc«nt of a l l work«rs

80%

78%

.

76%

73%

68%

66%

MEN

u^WOMEN
1920

24%

22%

20%

i

1930

i

1940

Sourer U. S. Dfpartnwnl ol Commtrte. Surtau of t § Ctntui
h
U S. D«paftni«nl of Labor. Surtau of Labor Statlstks.

I I
27%

1950

34%

32%

I

1960

1970

March

Projected

The proportion of women workers in the labor force has i n c r e a s e d markedly since 1 9 2 0 .
In 1 9 2 0 , the approximately 8 1/4 million women workers represented I out of every 5 workersjin 1940,the
13 million women workers represented about I in 4 workers; today they represent almost I m 3, It is expected
that they will represent

I in 3 by 1970.

Early retirement from the lobor force of older men and the trend toward higher educational attainment
of the younger men ore f a c t o r s which have contributed to the changing proportions of men ond women in the
labor

force.




Chart 3.

Distribution of Women in the Civilian Labor Force: 1920-60
N u m b e r of W o m e n in the Civilian Labor Force

8,229,000

— I

10,396,000

r

1

13,840,000

18,063,000

1940

1950

22,516,000

Percent

100
45

yeori

a n d over

80

25-44
years

60

40

under

25
years

20

1920

1930

1960
(March)

Soutt#j U S D»pirtmtnt of Comm«rt». Bureau of th« Centuf,
U S Drpartmtnt of Labor, Buriau of Labor Statistic*

Important

shifts in ttie age distribution of women workers have token ploce since 1920,partly

because

of the changing age composition of the populotion and partly because of the higher labor force p a r t i c i p a t i o n
rotes of older women.
The proportion of women over 4 5 yeors of age in the lobor force has more thon doubled since 1920.
The proportion of young women under 2 5 in the lobor force has declined to less than holf during t h i s
period.
T h e p r o p o r t i o n of women in the labor force from 2 5 to 4 4 y e a r s of age has remained relatively stable.
A s 0 result, the medion age of women workers has r i s e n from 2 8 to slightly over 4 0 in I 9 6 0 .




Chart 4.

Marital Status of Women in the Labor Force, 1920-59
P«rc«nt

Percent

100

100
/Widowed,/X divorced

V//^

1 %/
6 /

y

/

Widowed,/
divorced y^

80

80
Single j
Singlel

' 32% "

23%

,Single)

60

60

; and^
unkn

40

40

Married

6%
1

20

20

0 L
1920

1930

1940

1950

1959

Sourtt. US. Dtpirlment o Conimfrtt. B r a of ihe CrniuL
f
ue u
US. Otpartmtnt of Ubor. Buretti of Libor StaUsticl.

The trend toword early marrioge» the increasing tendency of

women to seek paid employment, ond

chonqes in women's occupations occount for the striking increose in the proportion of morried women among
women workers.
The rise has been especially rapid since 1940, and has been accompanied by o simultaneous decline in
the proportion of single women workers.




Chart 5.

Occupational Groups of Employed Men and Women: March 1960

C l t r i c a l Workers

Op«rattv«s

Service Workers (except household)

Professional Workers

Private Household

WOMEN
Sales Workers

M a n a g e r s , O f f i c i a l s , Proprietors

Form Laborers, Foremen

Craftsmen, Foremen

Farmers, Form M a n a g e r s

Laborers (except form, mine)

Sourct U S Dfpirtmtnl of Labor. Burtiu o Labor Statiitfci.
f

Women tend to work in different oocupotions from those in which men work. While they constitute more
thon two-thirds of the clerical workers, there ore few women omong the craftsmen, form managers and workers,and
the unskilled laborers.
Some of these differences ore undoubtedly due to differences in the nature of the work, its requirements
and its suitability or attractiveness to women, but others persist largely because of conventional attitudes toword
women and work.
Women tend to remain concentrated in a few occupotions. While they represent more than one-third of
the professionol workers, most of them ore teachers or nurses. There are still relatively few women among the
scientists,engineers, physicians, lowyers and other professional groups, though their numbers hove been i n creasing in these occupations.




Chart 6.

Distribution of Employed Women,by Major Industry Group: March 1960
1
0

Percent
20

30

40

S«rvictts, (finarK«, Insuranct,
r«al #»tat»; butin«ts; p«rtonal;
profvssional )

Trad*

Monufacturing

Privof* Household

Public Adminitrration

Transportation, Communication,
Public Utilities

Agriculture

Construction

Mining

Forestry, Fisheries

Sowrtr U. & Dvpartmtnl of Lati«r. Sarttu of Lahor Statiitkt.

Women workers ore highly concentrated in the rapidly growing service industries. These include finance ond insurance services and many professional and business services, as well as personal services; many
women work otso in retail trade ond in monufocturing.




Chart 7.

Educational Attainment of Women in the Labor Force: 1940-59
(18 to 6 4 Years of A g e )
P«rc»nt

P«rc«nt

50

50

ELEMENTARY

COLLEGE

HIGH S C H O O L

40

40

1940*

B M

1952
1957

30 -

30

1959

20

20

w
w

111

10

Less rhan 5

m
m WM

years

1-3

years

Souit*. U.S. DtoM-timnt of Libor. Btirnu of Ltbor Stitiltks.

10

i M
1 mm
i m
m
4
sors

1-3

4 o r more

years

years

*N<ite: Oali on educational attainment not atailibU prior to 1 4 .
90

The educattonol ottamment of women in the tabor force has risen s i g n i f i c a n t l y
T o d a y , a l m o s t three-fifths of the women workers have at least a high school education. About two-fifths
had a high school education 2 0 years ago.
T o d a y , only 3 percent of the working women have less thon 5 years of schooling; 2 0 years ago, 6 percent
hod less than this.
Todoy.o lorger proportion of women workers have completed ot least 4 y e o r s of c o l l e g e thon 2 0 years
a g o , b u t the relative Inert-use has been much s m a l l e r t h a n that for h i g h s c h o o l




graduates.

Chart 11.

Chart 8.

Resident College Enrollment: 1920-58

Bachelors Degrees Earned: 1920-58
Thousand

MitUon

400 r

4

300

"H

M«n

Wom«n

1919-20

1929-30

1939*40

SoHrtr U S Otpanmtnt of Htallh. Educitien,
btficf or Edutitien.
'

1949-50
Wtlfirt,

1957-58

200

Women

100

m .
1919-20

1929-30

1939-40

1949-50

1957-58

Sourec U S Dfpartmcnt ot Health. Education, a d Welfart,
.
n
Oltica of tducation.

More and more women ore attending ond graduoting from institutions of higher learning.
Since 1920, enrollments of women in colleges and universities have olmost quadrupled. The number
of baccalaureate degrees granted to women during the same period has multiplied more than 7 times.
The increases in enrollments for men, however, have been even greater during most of this period. The
percent of women enrollees in the total, therefore,dropped from 5 0 percent in 1 9 2 0 to 3 0 percent in 1950, when
mony veterans took advontoge of the educational aid made available to them. Since then enrollments

of women

hove ogoin increased at a faster rote than those of men, and they now represent more than one-third of the total
enrollments.




Chart 11.

Chart 10.

Median Income of Women,
by Educational Attainment: 1958
(14 Years of Age and Over)

Labor Force Participation of Women,
by Educational Attainment: March 1959
(18 Years of Age and Over)
Paront
60
IELEMENTARY] [HIGH SCHOOTI
50

-

40

Median Incomt rin Thouundi)
$5
HIGH
ELEMENTARY
SCHOOL

[COUEGEJ

-

30

ICOLLEGEI

-

$2

20
1
0
0

-

l«t*
5-7
than 5 y«ari
ycort

8

y*art

than 4
yvofi

4
Ltii
4
ymart thon 4 O mor»
r
y«ari y«ar]

8

y«ar>

4
y«art

4
yvari

5 O mof«
f
y«ari

Sourci- U S Dtparlmtnl o C m tc. B ra o tht CtniHi
f o mr t ut u f

S*urtt US OvDJirlmtnl at L b f lurtiu tf Libor SUIiilIti
*«

C h a n c e s thot o woman will seek paid employment tend to i n c r e a s e with the amount of education

Educotion is on importont determinant of the
average income of women.
One-half of the women who had completed a

she has received.
In M o r c h 1959, more thon one-half of the

yeor or more of graduate study hod incomes of ot least

women in this country with a college degree were in

^4»38l in 1 9 5 8 . T h i s was I 1/2 times the m e d i a n in-

the work force as compored with somewhat morB than

come of women 4 - y e o r c o l l e g e graduates-,more than

one-fourth of the women who left school prior to or

2 times that of high school groduates; and almost 5times

on c o m p l e t i n g the 8th g r a d e .

that of elementary s c h o o l g r a d u a t e s .

Chart 12.
Educational Attainment of Women In Selected Occupational Groups: March 1959
(18 Y e a r s of A g e a n d O v e r )
SELECTED OCCUPATfONAL GROUPS

Profcssionol workers
Manogers, officials, proprietors
Clehcol workers
Sales workers
Service workers (except household)
Operatives

Percent Distribution
SOME C O L L E G E

HIGH SCHOOL

EOUCATtON

EDUCATION

73
19
17
12

LESS T H A N

22
40
65
43
29
24
14

Private-household workers

6
2
3

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION

5
40
18
42
63
72
80

Sount; U.S Dtp«/tfn«nt of Libor. BurMu of Labor Statittkt.

E d u c o t i o n strongly a f f e c t s a women's occupation.
Neorly 3 out of every 4 women in the p r o f e s s i o n s have had some c o l l e g e education.
T h e vest majority of women in c l e r i c a l , m o n a g e r i a l and soles occupations hove hod at l e o s t o high
school

education.
Most of the women employed in service o c c u p o t i o n s or f a c t o r y o p e r a t i o n s hove had less than o h i g h

school

education.