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The Status of Women
in the
United States


Martin P. Durkin, Secretary
Frieda S. Miller, Director

The Status of Women
in the
United States


Women’s Bureau Bulletin 249


Martin P. Durkin, Secretary
Frieda S. Miller, Director

Washington : 1953

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office
Washington 25, D. C. Price 15 cents

United States Department of Labor,
Women’s Bureau,

Washington, June 8,1953.
Sir: I have the honor of transmitting a report on the status of
women in the United States, 1953. Reports similar to this have been
prepared since 1949, primarily for use of the United States Delegate to
the Inter-American Commission of Women.
As the material is not available in summarized and popular form
elsewhere, the Women’s Bureau is printing this report to facilitate
answering the frequently recurring requests for information of this
type. The report deals with women in the United States in their own
organizations, as voters, as officeholders, and as workers—in business
and industry, in the Armed Forces, and in the professions. There is
also a section on labor laws for women.
Much of the material was collected and the report was written by
Lucile Furman under the supervision of Adelia B. Kloak, Chief,
Special Services and Publications Division.
Respectfully submitted.
Frieda S. Miller, Director.
Hon. Martin P. Durkin,
Secretary of Labor.




Women’s voice in government and politics
Presidential appointments
In national elective offices
Women in State elective offices
Other public offices
Women in political parties
Under civil service
In the foreign service
Employed women
Employment trends
Occupational shifts
Occupational opportunities
Economic status of women workers
Movement for equal pay
Economic importance of women’s earnings
Women’s chances for advancement
Women in the armed services
Professional opportunities
Education and training
Medicine, law, engineering
Women as school administrators
Women teachers—personnel practices
Labor laws for women_____________________________________
Minimum wage
Hours of work
Equal pay..............................
Other legislation of special interest to women
State jury service
Proposals for tax deduction for child-care expenses_______________
Women in unions
Women’s organizations






Status of Women in the United States
Women’s Voice in Government and Politics
Politically, the past year stands out as one in which women exercised
their voting rights more fully than in any other year since they won
the franchise in 1920. Women’s active interest in the 1952 presidential
campaign, their well-organized efforts to “get out the vote” and the
fact that record numbers of women flocked to the polls has been
credited by some with swinging the national election from a Demo­
cratic to a Republican administration. Whether or not the women’s
vote was the deciding factor in this historic political changeover,
women’s efforts in the 1952 campaign won for them a recognition of
their potential power as voters and an increased respect as participants
in party politics.

During the campaign, both General Eisenhower, the Republican
candidate, and Governor Stevenson, the Democratic candidate, an­
nounced that, if elected, they would give important government posi­
tions to women.
Declaring he would use the contributions of outstanding women to
the fullest, General Eisenhower said: “I will do my best to find and
appoint the individuals best qualified to serve our country, regardless
of whether they are men or women.”
“I have reviewed the growing reliance upon qualified women for
high public posts,” said Governor Stevenson, “because it is a pattern
in which I believe and with which I intend to go forward.”
In line with his promise and recognizing the significant part played
by women in his election, President Eisenhower placed qualified women
in nine major posts during the first 3 months of his administration.1
To a position which has since acquired Cabinet rank, that of Federal
Security Administrator, he appointed Mrs. Oveta Culp Hobby, former
director of the Women’s Army Corps, editor of a Texas newspaper and
a leader in the “Democrats for Eisenhower” movement. When the
Federal Security Agency was advanced to Cabinet status through
Congressional action in April 1953, Mrs. Hobby became the Secretary
of the newly created Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
She is the second woman to serve as a Cabinet member in the United
1 Editor’s Note: The text Includes some appointments made after the bulletin went
to press.




States. The first was Miss Frances Perkins, who served as Secretary
of Labor during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, and later
as Civil Service Commissioner during the Truman administration.
As Ambassador to Italy, President Eisenhower appointed Mrs. Clare
Boothe Luce, author, playwright, and public speaker, long active in
the Republican Party and a former Congresswoman from Connecticut.
Later in the year, Miss Frances E. 'Willis, a career diplomat, was
elevated by Presidential appointment to the post of Ambassador to
Switzerland. One other woman has held a United States ambassador­
ship : Mrs. Eugenie Anderson, who served as Ambassador to Denmark
under President Truman. Three women, Mrs. Ruth Bryan Rohde,
Mrs. Daisy Harriman, and Mrs. Perle Mesta, have served as United
States Ministers to European countries.
In the new administration, the position of United States Treasurer
went to Mrs. Ivy Baker Priest who, as assistant chairman of the Re­
publican National Committee, headed the women’s organization of
that party during its successful 1952 campaign. As U. S. Treasurer,
she succeeded Mrs. Georgia Neese Clark, appointed by President Tru­
man and the first woman to hold this office. The new Assistant
Treasurer is also a woman, Catherine B. Cleary, who was formerly a
bank official in Milwaukee, Wis. Mrs. Mabelle Kennedy held this
position in the Truman administration.
Mrs. Hiram C. Houghton of Red Oak, Iowa, active organizer of
women’s votes during the 1952 campaign and a former president of the
General Federation of Women’s Clubs, became Assistant Director for
Refugees, Migration and Travel, in the Mutual Security Agency.
Representative Frances P. Bolton of Ohio was appointed as a
United States Delegate to the Eighth Session of the United Nations
General Assembly. In each session of the Assembly there has been
a woman delegate, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt having served in all pre­
vious sessions. Mrs. Oswald B. Lord of New York City was appointed
as United States Representative on the Human Rights Commission
of the United Nations Economic and Social Council and was also
made Alternate United States Delegate to the Eighth Session of the
United Nations General Assembly. Mrs. Lorena B. Hahn of Omaha,
Nebr., received the appointment of United States Representative on
the United Nations Status of Women Commission. Mrs. Elizabeth
Heffelfinger of Wayzata, Minn., was sent as Alternate United States
Representative to the Paris meeting of the UNESCO General Con­
ference. Mrs. Floyd Lee of San Mateo, N. Mex., was named United
States Delegate to the Inter-American Commission of Women, replac­
ing Miss Mary Cannon, Chief of the International Division of the
Women’s Bureau, who had served 9 years in this office.



Mrs. Katherine G. Howard of Boston, Mass., former secretary of
the Republican National Committee, was made Deputy Civil Defense
Administrator. Mrs. Robert W. Leeds, of Atlantic City, N. J., a
patent attorney of long experience, has become the first woman Assist­
ant Commissioner of Patents. Two women have been named as
Assistants to the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare: Mrs.
Georgia France McCoy of Oklahoma City, who has been in adminis­
trative and research work in New York University’s Bellevue Medical
Center; and Mrs. Jane Morrow Spaulding, an executive board mem­
ber of both the National Association of Colored Women and the
National Council of Negro Women. Mrs. Dorothy McCullough Lee,
former mayor of Portland, Oreg., has been appointed a member of
the Parole Board of the Department of Justice and Miss Catherine
Burton Kelly of Washington, D. C., has been made an assistant
United States attorney. Dr. Beatrice Aitcliison of Washington, D. C.,
has the position of Director of Transportation Research in the Post
Office Department. Named as Assistant Director for Women’s
Affairs in the Civil Defense Administration was Mrs. Clayton Lytle
of Wilmington, Del.
The President appointed two women as Superintendents of United
States Mints: Mrs. Daniel J. Schneider at Denver and Mrs. Rae V.
Biester at Philadelphia. Three received appointments as United
States Collectors of Customs: Miss Albina Cermak at Cleveland,
Ohio; Miss Cleta Smith at St. Louis, Mo.; and Mrs. Olivia E'rpenbach
at Minneapolis, Minn. A number of women have been named to
boards and commissions connected with the Federal Government.
Appointment of women to other important posts is expected from
the President since he has already demonstrated through definite
action his belief that women are capable of holding high office with
distinction and should receive recognition for their efforts toward good
Very few women have gained such long-term appointments as
judgeships; of the 307 Federal judges in the United States, 5 are
women. Altogether, in the various courts of the country, about 150
women hold important judicial posts.

Women gained one seat in the United States Congress as a result
of the 1952 election, rounding the number out to an even dozen. There
are now 11 women in the House of Representatives and 1 in the Senate.
Two new women members, both of them Democrats, were elected: Mrs.
John B. Sullivan, first woman to represent Missouri, and Mrs. Gracie
259709—53------ 2



Pfost, from Idaho. Nine women former House members, six Re­
publicans and 3 Democrats, were reelected. One former House mem­
ber, Judge Reva Beck Bosone, Democrat, of Utah was defeated.
There were some 50 women candidates for seats in Congress, but not
all of these had the backing of one of the two major parties. Some
of them ran independently or represented minor parties. In the 1950
election only 17 women ran for Congress, of whom 8 were elected.
Mrs. Margaret Chase Smith (R) of Maine is still the only woman
Senator. She was a member of the House from 1940 to 1949 before
her election to the Senate. Her present term will end in January
1955. Dean of women in the House of Representatives is Mrs. Edith
Nourse Rogers (R) of Massachusetts, first elected to succeed her hus­
band in 1925; Representative Frances P. Bolton (R) of Ohio has been
a member since 1940. Other former members returned through re­
election in 1952 are: Mrs. Marguerite Stitt Church (R), Illinois; Mrs.
Cecil M. Harden (R), Indiana; Mrs. Katharine St. George (R), New
York; Ruth Thompson (R), Michigan; Mrs. Edna F. Kelly (D), New
York; Mrs. Vera Buchanan (D), Pennsylvania; and Mrs. Elizabeth
Kee (D), West Virginia.
Generally women, even those most interested in national affairs, are
reluctant to run for national office. Few women align themselves
closely enough with party politics or devote enough time, money, and
attention to a party organization to gain its support. Of the 52
women who have served or are serving in Congress, 25 were placed
in office originally to fill the unexpired term of a deceased husband.
Only 27 have succeeded in winning a first election without having been
preceded in office by their husbands. However, a high proportion of
those who succeeded their husbands in office have subsequently been
reelected, some of them for many terms.
The idea that a woman might run for election to the Presidency is
not considered seriously as yet in the United States. However, the
1952 political conventions saw a first step toward recognizing women in
top administrative office as at least a future possibility. Two able
women were nominated as Vice President in the Democratic Conven­
tion, both with good qualifications for the office: Mrs. India Edwards,
competent and energetic co-chairman of the Democratic National
Committee and Judge Sarah T. Hughes of Houston, Tex., a national
leader among women and former president of the National Federation
of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs. Margaret Chase Smith,
an outstanding Senator by any standard, had been mentioned as a
Republican vice-presidential candidate, but asked that her name be
withdrawn from the proposed nominations.




In election to State legislatures women have made a much better
showing. From a total of 29 serving in the first year of nationwide
woman suffrage (1920) the number of women lawmakers in the States
has gradually increased to an all-time high of 286 in 1953. Of these,
20 are State Senators and 266 are Representatives. There was a jump
of 50 over last year’s total of 236 reflecting the big turn-out of women
voters in the 1952 elections.
In the New England States particularly there has been an im­
pressive increase in the number of women officially participating in
lawmaking for the States. Vermont, New Hampshire, and Con­
necticut take the lead with women legislators numbering 52, 50, and 43,
respectively. In Vermont women gained 15 new seats this year, in
Connecticut 9 and in New Hampshire 6. Of significance too is the
fact that Vermont’s Speaker of the House is a woman, Mrs. Consuelo
N. Bailey. It is interesting to note that 35 of the 52 women in Ver­
mont’s legislature list their occupation as housewife.
Other States in which women gained new seats this year were Ari­
zona, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, New Mexico,
Ohio, and Rhode Island. Last year there were eight States with no
woman legislator, this year there are only four: Alabama, Nebraska,
Oklahoma, and Virginia.

Besides the State legislators there are 31 women in other Statewide
elective positions in 21 of the States. Six hold the office of Secretary
of State, four are State treasurers, four superintendents of public in­
struction, two State auditors, one a judge of the court of appeals, and
the others in various posts. In State appointive positions, women
continue to make impressive yearly gains. Today more than 3,000
women are serving in appointive State positions of authority and
responsibility. In addition to the top policy-making posts, women
are being appointed to more and more boards and commissions which
deal with education, social welfare, public institutions, industrial
problems, finance and business development.
Proportionately women have made more progress in the holding of
official positions in county government than in any other govern­
mental unit. It is estimated that there are at least 10,000 women now
serving as county officials in the 3,072 counties of the 48 States. In
city governments women hold many responsible positions, but there
are few women mayors. Mrs. Katherine Elkins White was reelected
as mayor of Red Bank, N. J., this year, and Mrs. Dorothy McCullough



Lee finished a 4-year administration as mayor of one of the Nation’s
largest cities, Portland, Oreg., in which she introduced many reforms
and improvements. She has now been appointed as a member of the
Parole Board of the United States Department of Justice. There are
quite a number of smaller towns with women mayors. One of the
largest cities in the country, Philadelphia, Pa., has a new woman
member on its council, Mrs. Constance Dallas.

For women’s large participation in the 1952 election and their grow­
ing sense of political responsibility as citizens in a democracy, much
credit is due the women’s divisions of the Republican and Democratic
Parties. From national headquarters in Washington, D. C., women
leaders in the two great parties have for years conducted a continuous
campaign to interest women in public affairs and draw them into po­
litical activity. Since the 1952 election, Republican women, headed
by Bertha S. Adkins, assistant to the National Committee Chairman,
have made a great effort to maintain the organized voting strength
among women who helped put President Eisenhower into office. In
April 1953, Miss Adkins called a conference of 12,000 Republican
women delegates from all the States to the Capital city, where they
were briefed on the objectives and the progress of the present admin­
istration program. They heard talks by the President and members
of his Cabinet as well as other prominent Republican leaders.
Democratic women, led by veteran organizer Mrs. India Edwards,
Committee Co-Chairman, are conducting a campaign of “positive and
intelligent opposition” designed to swing votes away from Repub­
lican candidates in 1954 and put more Democrats into office. Hailed
by Democratic women leaders as a landmark of women’s progress in
party organization was the integration of the Women’s Division into
the entire operations of the Democratic National Committee, which
took place this year, giving men and women the same status and com­
bining their activities at all levels of party organization.

In the executive branch of the Government a considerable number
of women have attained higher-level positions through the Civil Serv­
ice system. Latest Civil Service Commission figures (December
1952) show 2,377,896 Federal civilian employees in the continental
United States. Of these, 582,500, approximately one out of every
four, are women. About 1,000 of these women occupy positions of
marked authority at policy-making and administrative levels. Last
year (1952) a partial summary showed some 100 women in Govern­



mental administrative positions with salaries at or above $10,000. A
large proportion of these high bracket jobs are appointive, but ap­
pointments are usually made on the basis of qualifying experience
in Government service and some of the near top positions have been
gained entirely through civil service promotion.
Some of the major bureaus are directed by women and the number
of smaller governmental units headed by women runs up into the
hundreds. Among the women who are serving as bureau chiefs or in
other high administrative positions in the Federal Government are:
Euth B. Shipley, for many years chief of the State Department’s Pass­
port Division; Dr. Hazel K. Stiebeling, Chief, Bureau of Human
Nutrition and Home Economics in the Department of Agriculture;
Dr. Martha M. Eliot, Chief, Children’s Bureau in the Department of
Health, Education and Welfare; Frieda S. Miller, Director of the
Women’s Bureau, U. S. Department of Labor; Mrs. Helen Harrison
Castle, Assistant to the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission;
Miss Koberta Church of Chicago, Consultant to Minority Groups, Fed­
eral-State Employment Agencies, Department of Labor; Mary D.
Keyserling, Director, International Economic Analysis Division, De­
partment of Commerce; Mrs. Clara M. Beyer, Associate Director,
Bureau of Labor Standards; Ethel B. Dietrich, Chief, Trade Section’
Mutual Security Agency ; Lucile Petry, Assistant Surgeon General,
U. S. Public Health Service; Grace M. Stewart, Executive Assistant to
the Attorney General, Department of Justice; Mary E. Switzer, Direc­
tor, Office of Vocational Eehabilitation, Department of Health, Edu­
cation and Welfare; and Mrs. Aryness Joy Wickens, Deputy Commis­
sioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. Department of Labor.

_ There are about 3,000 women in the foreign service of the United
States. Highest ranking women in the career service are Kathleen
Molesworth, Commercial Attache, in London, and Jane Martin, per­
sonnel officer, in Athens. About 500 women have positions in the
higher classifications of the various categories in foreign service.
Approximately 580 women are consuls, vice consuls and hi^h-rankinoattaches.
Employed Women
Of the 58 million women in the population of working age in April
1953,19 million, or about one-third, were in the labor force. For the
two previous years, the number of wage-earning women had ex­
ceeded 19 million. In 1952 the average for the year was 19.5 million



and in 1951 it was 19.3 million. The Korean outbreak in 1950 brought
a considerable jump in women’s employment, and the 1951 figure was
600,000 more than that of 1950 when there were, on the average, 18.7
million women working. Since then, enough women have entered
the labor market to maintain a working force during the 1951-53
period at about the pre-Korean level.
While the Korean emergency, like the two World Wars, gave im­
petus to women’s employment, it only accelerated a long-time trend
in which a constantly increasing number of women were working on
jobs outside the home. Industrial expansion in the United States
has meant an increasing need for women’s work as well as men’s and
as new industries and occupations have developed the proportion of
women in the labor force has increased. In 1950, according to the
decennial census, there were 4Vo times as many women working as
there were 60 years earlier. Of even more significance than this
numerical increase (since the population is much larger now than in
1890) is the growing proportion of women in the population who are
working. This proportion increased by 50 percent in the past 60
years. Today, 3 out of every 10 women are working; in 1890 the
proportion was only 2 out of 10.

Two significant trends as revealed by employment figures con­
tinue to be apparent in the 1952-53 computations: (1) the growing
proportion of married women in the labor force; and (2) the increas­
ing employment of older women.
Since 1940 there has been almost a complete reversal in the pro­
portion of single and married women in the woman labor force.
Single women in 1940 made up almost half of the total number of
working women whereas in 1952 they were less than one-third. For
married women this ratio has been fully reversed; they now make up
more than half of the woman labor force whereas in 1940 they were
only one-third. One reason for this is that the proportion of married
women in the population has increased, while that of single women
has decreased. But it is also true that a higher proportion of women
who are married are working outside the home today than in 1940.
Of all married women, 27 percent are now in the labor force, a
proportion as high as that reached at the peak of World War II
and higher by 10 points than the proportion of married women who
were working outside the home in 1940.
There were more older women in the labor force in 1953 than there
were in 1950; this continues a trend which was very marked between
the 1940 and 1950 decennial censuses. Over the 10-year period there



was a 60-percent increase in the number of working women whose ages
ranged from 35 to 54 years. The current census reports show that the
number of working women in this broad age group has continued to
increase since 1950. It has been estimated that women workers 55 to
64 years of age more than doubled in the 1940-50 period and increased
by 5 percent in the past 3 years. This group, of course, constitutes
only about one-tenth of all women workers. The age group between
35 and 54 made up only a third of the labor force in 1940 and in 1953
they were two-fifths of all women workers. The increase in laborforce participation of women was almost entirely among women 35
years of age and over. There was a decided decrease (8 percent
from 1940 to 1950 and 6 percent from 1950 to 1953) in the number of
those 20 to 24 years of age, a decrease due in part to the low birthrate
of the depression years. In the age bracket 25 to 34 the number of
women workers has changed only slightly in the past 13 years. The
median age of women workers has risen from 25.8 years in 1900 to
37.5 years in 1953.

As new occupational opportunities have opened to women large
numbers have shifted from the less remunerative types of employment
to those that offer more pay and better working conditions. For in­
stance, the number of women employed as private household workers
has declined rapidly since 1940, particularly during World War II
when war production opened many new jobs to women. Out of a
total of 12 million employed women in 1940, there were 2 million
household workers. In 1945, while World War II was still in process,
there were only 1 y2 million doing household work out of a total of
more than 19 million employed women. Although more women
workers entered private household employment after the war, neither
the number nor proportion of women so employed has risen to the
prewar level. Today only 10 percent of women workers are employed
in private household work, whereas 18 percent were in this occupation
before the war.
In contrast, the growth since 1940 in the number of women doing
clerical work has been spectacular—from 2y2 million in 1940 to more
than 5 million in 1953. Office jobs and other types of clerical work
employ far more women today than any other occupation group, with
3 out of every 10 women workers so classified.
Women operatives, primarily factory workers, constitute the second
largest group of employed women and number nearly 4 million.
Since 1940, slightly more than one-fifth of all employed women have
held factory jobs except during World War II when almost one-fourth



of all employed women were working as operatives. The number of
women in factory work has fluctuated with the need for increased
production to meet the country’s defense needs and, at present, is
11/2 million more than in 1940, and three-fourths of a million less than
at the height of World War II.
The number of women in professional and technical wmrk has in­
creased, but forms a smaller proportion of the woman labor force than
in 1940. During World War II so many women workers left pro­
fessional and technical work for other jobs that the proportion shrank
even lower, to 8 percent in 1945. In 1940 it was about 13 percent, and
today 10 percent of all employed women are professional or technical
Women service workers—those employed as hospital attendants,
beauticians, elevator operators, practical nurses, waitresses, etc.—
have almost doubled in number since 1940; and today more than 2
million women are engaged in the service occupations, other than
private household employment.
In sales work there are about 1 y2 million women, almost twice as
many as in 1940, but in about the same proportion as then to the
total number of employed women.

The above occupations are those in which the great majority of
women workers are found. But women have entered practically all
types of employment and there are thousands of women on jobs that
in earlier days would have been considered “men’s work.” Never,
more than now, have women in the United States enjoyed a freer
choice in the kind of work they do. Recent years have been a period
of full employment, and there are openings, at least from time to
time, in a great variety of vocations. Women as well as men are en­
couraged to exercise this choice, and to prepare for the type of work
for which they are best fitted and at which they are most likely to
succeed. In seeking employment and in planning future careers,
women and girls have access to the free counseling services that are
provided through schools, employment offices, and nonprofit service
organizations. High schools and colleges hold career conferences for
girls as well as boys. Several of the women’s magazines have sections
devoted to exploring job opportunities and guiding women workers
toward successful careers.
So great has been the demand for young women to enter various
types of employment that shortages have developed in some of the
fields depending largely on women for their labor supply and there
is a general shortage of young women workers between the ages of 18



and 34 who are without family responsibilities that tie them down.
As the demand for young adult workers has increased, the population
in this broad age bracket has been shrinking due to the low birthrates
during the depression years. Hence a situation has developed in
which there is urgent need for women to enter or take training for
some of the professions and occupations most essential to the public
welfare—teaching, nursing, social work and occupations in the medi­
cal field such as X-ray and laboratory technicians, public health nu­
tritionists and dietitians. To help overcome these shortages the
Women’s Bureau has suggested such measures as the removal of
arbitrary age specifications that bar older women, improved salaries
in the public service occupations, increased training opportunities,
and employment on a part-time basis of trained women who cannot
arrange to work full time. In these shortage occupations, of course,
women can be fairly certain of future employment as well as present
opportunities since population forecasts indicate that the supply of
young women workers will not soon catch up with the demand.

During the postwar period there has been a substantial increase in
the wage rates of women workers, particularly professional, tech­
nical, and clerical workers and operatives in factories and service in­
dustries. Yet the median income of women, nearly all of which is
derived from wages and salaries, has risen only slightly in the postwar
period, from $901 in 1945 to $1,045 in 1951, while that of men (also
obtained largely through earnings) rose from $1,800 in 1945 to about
$3,000 in 1951, latest year recorded in the Consumer Income Report
of the Bureau of the Census.
Women’s average income from wages and salaries in 1951 was
less than half (44 percent) of that received by men in 1951. Only
(4 of 1 percent of women wage earners received as much or more
than a $5,000 income from their work, whereas 12 percent of the
men workers received wages or salaries of $5,000 or more. At the
lower end of the scale, 81 percent of the women and only 37 percent
of the men received less than $2,500 from wages or salaries.
Part of this wide differential between men’s and women’s earnings
is due to the fact that most men work continuously during the year,
while women’s employment is more intermittent, particularly that
of married women, whose earnings tend to be low, according to the
explanatory statement of the Bureau of the Census. But there are
other more fundamental reasons why census figures show up such a
wide discrepancy between the earned income of men and women
workers. One of these is the fact that women workers still tend



to congregate in occupations traditionally employing women and
that these occupations have a relatively low wage scale. In some of
the occupations newer to women and with a higher wage scale, women
are slower than men to receive advancement to the better-paid posi­
tions. Another reason for the discrepancy between men and women’s
income from salary or wages is the fact that women still are paid
less than men, in a multitude of cases, for doing the same or com­
parable work. While the principle of equal pay for equal work is
generally accepted in theory, it is by no means universal in practice.
In Colorado, one of the States in which women’s organizations are
supporting an equal-pay bill in the State legislature, the Business and
Professional Women’s Clubs recently completed a State-wide spot sur­
vey which revealed that in most instances Colorado women are being
paid less than men for doing comparable work. In one community
of 15,000 residents, the survey revealed that:
Men employed in manufacturing work in the town received $1.45 an hour;
women doing similar jobs are paid 97t4 cents an hour.
In dry-goods stores, women employees receive $237 a month to a man’s $300.
Bookkeepers in one garage—if they are men—earn $350; women only $237.
In another garage there was no salary discrimination.
One bank pays women $191.37 for doing the same job that pays a man $304.50.

There is no reason to believe that what is true in Colorado would
be measurably different in other States where there are no equal-pay
laws. Even in the States that have equal-pay laws, the coverage is in
most cases limited, and legal loopholes exist which make it difficult
to enforce them completely. However, the principle of equal pay is
being put more and more into practice not only in compliance with
State laws, but by voluntary action on the part of employers. Trade
unions frequently include equal-pay clauses in union contracts, since
equal pay benefits men as well as women by discouraging employers
from hiring women for less money, or, as sometimes happens, from
replacing men with women at lower rates.

The Women’s Bureau of the U. S. Department of Labor, women’s
organizations, civic groups, unions, and individual leaders have been
active for many years in promoting the equal-pay principle. Last
year (1952) the Women’s Bureau called a National Conference on
Equal Pay, and following the conference a national committee was
formed of voluntary organizations and trade unions to stimulate
further efforts toward the elimination of wage inequalities between
men and women. Known as the National Committee for Equal Pay,
it has headquarters at 1817 Eye Street NW., in Washington, D. C.



Both the Republican and Democratic parties had equal-pay planks
in their 1952 platforms.

Women workers in this country carry financial responsibilities of
major importance to family and community life. Thousands of fam­
ilies depend entirely on income produced by women. In addition,
census data show that there is an inverse correlation between the labor
force activity of married women and the income of their husbands.
The proportion of wives who work is only 13 percent in families
where husband’s income is $10,000 or more, but rises to 29 percent
where husband’s income is between $2,000 and $3,000. The median
income of families in which both the husband and wife work was
$4,631 in 1951 as compared to $3,634 in families where the wife did
not work. The money women earn and spend adds to the national
income and consumer purchasing power. Thus women’s work is of
prime importance to the economic life of the country from the stand­
point of marketing as well as of the production of goods and services.
The contribution women make to family upkeep plays a significant
part in maintaining the high living standards in the United States.
Wives who work do so largely to help out with day-to-day living
expenses, but their earnings also often enable the family to buy or
build a home or send sons and daughters to college. The April 1953
issue of the magazine Glamour gave credit to women’s earnings
for the fact that more people own their own homes now than in
previous times.
“The two-paycheck family has helped to bring about a revolution
in home ownership,” the magazine states. “In 1940 only 44 percent
of families owned their own homes. Now 51 percent do, and the
figure is expected to hit 55 percent or more in a few years. This is
having a profound effect on family life: more stability, more sense of
property, more feeling of ‘belonging’ to economic society.”

Women’s chances for advancement to the better positions in business
and industry are, as yet, not so good as those of men. Many of the
better jobs are still considered “men’s jobs,” but this traditional at­
titude is breaking down as more and more women prove themselves
capable of handling positions of responsibility. A constantly increas­
ing number of women are to be found in really important posts in the
business and industrial world. As for example: The four top execu­
tives of one of the large water-heater manufacturing firms are women.



Its owner, Milton J. Stevens, has been quoted as saying, “They’ve
made a millionaire out of me.” Vice president and sales manager of
this firm, the Republic Heater Corporation in California, is Mrs.
Opal Mitchell, who supervises the work of 17 regional sales managers,
all men. Mrs. Tillie Lewis is the founder, owner, and president of
a large independent cannery, the Flotill Products in California,
which also manufactures sugar- and salt-free canned foods for dietary
Two large New York department stores have women executives:
Lord and Taylor has a woman president, Dorothy Shaver, and more
women executives than men; Macy’s has as its vice president Mrs.
Beatrice Rosenberg. Garfinckel’s, Washington store specializing in
women’s wear, has a woman vice president, Elizabeth Fairall. There
are three women among the top executives of Auerbach’s department
store in Salt Lake City. One-fourth of the buyers and department
heads in stores are women, numbering 36,127 in 1950.
Three women railroad executives are Mrs. Beatrice Joyce Kean,
president of the Tremont and Gulf Railway; Mrs. G. W. Page, chair­
man of the Board of Directors of the Cape Fear Railways; and Mrs.
Edith Alden, secretary, assistant treasurer and transfer agent of the
Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad. Many women are hired
by the railroads of the country and many have been advanced to re­
sponsible and remunerative posts. Carlene Roberts, who started her
career as a secretary to one of its officials, is now a vice president of
American Airlines. Of some 1,000 women certified as commercial
pilots, two hold airline transport pilot ratings. Mrs. Mildred McAfee
Horton, former president of Wellesley College and commander of the
WAVES during World War II, is a director of the National Broad­
casting Company and the Radio Corporation of America.
Mrs. Madeleine Sloane, daughter of Thomas A. Edison, is on the
Board of Directors of the Western Union Telegraph Company. Mrs.
Millicent C. McIntosh is a director of the Home Life Insurance Com­
pany of New York. Employed to decorate the luxury liner United
States were Dorothy Marckwold and Anne Urquhart. It took 3 years
to complete the job. Mrs. Wallace Clark is president of Wallace
Clark and Co., a New York firm of consulting management engineers.
Banking is a field in which women have rapidly gained recognition
as competent workers and good executives. Latest figures show that
more than half of bank employees in the United States are women.
The greater proportion of them are on clerical jobs, but there are more
than 6,000 women officers in banks throughout the country including
6 women bank owners and partners, 27 board chairmen, 96 bank presi­



dents, and 337 vice presidents, according to a report of the Association
of Bank Women.
In newspaper work and other writing and publishing fields women
have long been accepted as valuable workers. Mrs. Ogden B,eid is
vice president of the New York Herald Tribune. The University of
Minnesota Press is directed by Mrs. Margaret Harding; her staff is
composed entirely of women. Many women’s names have become
well known through the publications to which they contribute. In
1950, there were 28,595 women editors and reporters, nearly twice as
many as the 1940 number of 14,750; their proportion of the total grew
from one-fourth to nearly one-third.
The motion-picture industry, radio, and television, employ women
in numerous jobs connected with production and advertising. Names
of women appearing on the screen or before the microphone are well
known and carry the same prestige and popularity as do men who
work in similar capacities. While women make good as performers
and are accepted on an equal footing with men, in general, these fields
present very limited employment opportunities because of their highly
competitive nature.

Having proved themselves useful and competent on military jobs
during World War II, women were integrated into the Armed Forces
by a law passed in 1948. Today there are 35,599 officers and enlisted
personnel in the WAC, Navy, Air Force, and Marines; 11,106 (all offi­
cers) in the Nurse Corps and Medical Specialist Corps. Except for
combat duty, they have the same responsibilities as men in service, with
equal pay and the same benefits and privileges.
Many of the same jobs as those handled by military men are open to
women and training courses are available on the same basis; in fact,
men and women take the same courses and training is coeducational
in many cases. Women are excluded by law only from duty in com­
bat, ships, and aircraft; and by policy from those jobs clearly un­
suitable to women, such as heavy duty. The majority of enlisted
women are assigned to jobs in six main categories: personnel, clerical,
communications, administration, medical, and supply. A great
variety of fields are open to them, however, and training is provided
while they also receive service pay. Hundreds of women in uniform
are working in journalism, electronics, food-service, photography, and
various specialities connected with aviation.
The Medical Specialist Corps in the Army and Air Force offer ex­
cellent opportunity to young women with college training in physical



and occupational therapy, dietetics, or closely related subjects. Like
the Nurse Corps, these are made up entirely of commissioned officers;
each offers advanced training on officers’ pay. This year, for the first
time, an 18-month training course was provided in the physical
therapy field. The other two fields had previously had equivalent
courses. The Army, Navy, and Air Force Nurse Corps provide ad­
vanced training in specialized nursing fields. The educational stand­
ards are superior and the jobs to which nurses are assigned are better
and more responsible than was formerly true.
Women doctors were admitted to the Regular Army by legislation
passed in the 82d Congress. In March 1953, a former WAC was
sworn in as the first woman physician to be commissioned in the United
States Regular Army. She is 1st Lt. Fae M. Adams, MC, of San Jose,
Calif. The first women interns were accepted by the Army Medical
Service in July 1952, when three medical college seniors began duty.
Professional Opportunities

Altogether there are 1,907 institutions of higher learning in the
United States, most of them coeducational. Practically all the pro­
fessional schools (law, medicine, etc.) which formerly barred women
students are now open to them. As far as opportunity to enter schools
of higher learning is concerned, women have little cause for complaint.
In the population 25 years of age and over, according to the 1950
Decennial Census, more women than men have completed high school;
fewer women than men, however, have attended college. Men far
outnumbered women in college classes graduated during the academic
year 1951-52, but the proportion was not so large as in the two pre­
ceding years, when graduating classes were swelled to record-breaking
figures by men students taking college courses under the “GI Pill of
Rights.” As the composition of the college student population re­
turns to a somewhat more normal distribution between men and
women, there has been an accompanying increase in the proportion of
first degrees granted to women. In 1951-52, women students com­
prised about 32 percent of those earning first degrees, according to a
report by the U. S. Office of Education on earned degrees. In the
1949-50 period, the percentage was 24, and in 1950-51, it was 27.
In all types of institutions, with the exception of the teachers’
colleges, the number of men earning first degrees outnumbered the
women by a considerable margin, the report said. About 25 percent
of the first degrees conferred by universities were earned by women.



In the liberal arts colleges, 42 percent of the graduates were women.
Of the first degrees conferred in teachers’ colleges, 55 percent were
earned by women.
There were women taking bachelor’s or first professional degrees
in nearly every major field of study listed in the United States Office
of Education report, including 15 in animal husbandry, 8 in veterin­
ary medicine, 7 in astronomy, and 11 in aeronautical engineering,
and 49 in other types of engineering.
By far the largest number of first degrees earned by women were
in the field of education. There has been an increase for several
years in the number of women taking their degrees in this field, bring­
ing education to the top of the 1951-52 list in the total number of
earned degrees. There were 38,352 women and 24,599 men taking
first degrees in education. In business and commerce, which had
headed the list in previous years since World War II, the first degrees
earned in 1951-52 totaled 5,623 for women and 41,060 for men. Home
economics degrees (bachelor’s) were earned by 7,652 women and 64
men. I here were 4,091 women and 46 men receiving first professional
degrees in nursing.
The relation between the number of master’s degrees conferred on
men and women has remained practically unchanged for the past
20 years. In 1951-52, 68.6 percent of all master’s degrees were earned
by men. Uiroughout the thirties the percentage of master’s degrees
conferred on male students ranged slightly above 60 percent. Degrees
in medicine (M. D. only) went to 330 women and to 5,871 men; in
dentistry (D. D. S.) 23 to women and 2,895 to men.
A broad new study of the education of women, made possible by
a Phillips Foundation grant was started this year by the American
Council on Education. The new commission, to direct this study,
headed by Dr. Esther Lloyd-Jones, professor of education at Colum­
bia University, will explore the current and long-range needs of
women as affected by changing social conditions. Dr. Althea K.
Hottel, dean of women at the University of Pennsylvania, will serve
as project director. The three main objectives as listed by the com­
mission are:
To ascertain what education is offering relevant to making women more ef­
fective as individuals, as members of a family, as gainfully employed workers,
and as participants in civic life. These studies would include consideration
of spiritual and moral values and the constructive use of leisure time.
To develop plans for continuing the education of women after college, and
to encourage pilot studies in this field.
To offer a consultative service on women’s education and affairs for insti­
tutions of higher learning.




The professional fields offer increasing opportunities for women,
although not as many women as men seek and acquire professional
degrees, and those who do find some difficulty in establishing them­
selves in a traditionally men’s field. Employed in the medical pro­
fession in 1950, there were 11,714 women physicians, and 180,233 men
physicians. A smaller proportion of women physicians than of men
are in private medical practice, and a considerable proportion use
their professional training on salaried jobs. There were almost twice
as many women dentists in 1950 (2,045) as there were in 1940 (1,047);
women increased their proportion of the total from 1.5 to 2.7 percent.
Among lawyers, the number of women grew nearly 50 percent, from
4,187 in 1940 to 6,256 in 1950; and their proportion of the total legal
profession increased from 2.4 to 3.5 percent. Women who study law
face stiff competition from men in trying to establish themselves in
private legal practice, and many go into salaried positions.
Engineering, a field long closed to women by tradition, now offers
good opportunities to women as well as men because of the acute need
of trained engineers resulting from the defense effort. In 1950, there
were 6,475 women engineers, nearly nine times the 1940 total of 730.
In spite of the fact that men engineers doubled in number in this
decade, making engineering by far the leading profession for men,
women gained percentage-wise from less than 0.3 to 1.2 percent.

Teaching is still women’s stronghold among the professions, with
women outnumbering the men, although not at the higher levels. But
men hold the great majority of administrative jobs in education, as
they always have. Women are only 7.9 percent of all public highschool principals, practically the same proportion as 50 years ago.
The number of women superintendents of city school systems is very
small, and has decreased in recent years. As recently as 1939, 46 of
the city superintendents of schools were women. By 1951 there were
8 in the 1,583 cities with over 2,500 population and only 1 in the 360
cities with over 30,000 population. However, in these larger cities,
more than half the principals of elementary schools are women.
On university faculties men predominate in the better positions
and few women are to be found at the policy-making levels. In 1952,
the National Council of Administrative Women in Education (NEA)
published a survey of the opportunities for women in administrative
posts in 971 public and private colleges and universities, coeducational
and separate. This showed that fewer than 10 percent of the women



in administration are presidents, vice presidents, provosts, deans of
the college, or business managers.
The American Council on Education has 161 institutions on its
1952 list of 4-year accredited colleges for women. Of these 78 are
nondenominational (3 are exclusively teacher-training institutions,
one of the latter headed by a woman), with 13 women administrators.
In 1932, the Council’s list had a total of 109 such colleges, 70 nonde­
nominational and 13 headed by women. The current total is 10
women presidents and 3 deans.

Discrimination against women teachers on the basis of sex or marital
status is far less general than in the past, the National Education
Association of the United States reports in its recent study entitled,
“Teacher Personnel Practices, 1950-51.” Pay differentials based on
sex were reported by only 20 percent of the cities in 1951, compared
with 47 percent in 1941. Wage discrimination was less common in
cities of 30,000 and over than in smaller cities. Marriage is still a
basis for discrimination in hiring women teachers, but a marked
improvement is noted. In 1941, 95 percent of the cities reported mar­
riage a handicap, but only 59 percent in 1951. An unconditional
policy against appointment of married women was reported by 58
percent of the cities in 1941 as against 8 percent in 1951. Termination
of service as a result of marriage was also far less common in 1951
than in 1941. As compared with 30 percent in 1941, 90 percent of
the cities reported in 1951 that the employment status of a woman
teacher already employed was not affected by marriage.
Labor Laws for Women
Although there is not a single State or Territory without legisla­
tion which regulates some aspect of women’s employment, there are
still thousands of women workers who are not covered by laws which
protect them from unreasonably long working hours, from wages too
low for maintaining good living standards, or from working condi­
tions which are hazardous or detrimental to health.
In areas and occupations where they are unionized, women workers
reap benefits from collective bargaining agreements which establish
desirable working standards for both men and women. But some of
the occupations in which large numbers of women are traditionally
employed have little or no union organization. Even where unions
are strong, legislation is needed to insure decent working standards
for those who are unorganized.




A minimum wage of 75 cents an liour is set by Federal law for most
workers employed in interstate industry. The Fair Labor Standards
Act also requires that these workers be paid 1 % times their regular
rate of pay for time worked in excess of 40 hour's a week. This law
protects only those who work in industries that produce or ship goods
in interstate commerce.
Laws which provide for establishment of minimum-wage standards
for workers engaged in activities of a local or intrastate character
are on the statute books of 26 States, the District of Columbia, Alaska,
Hawaii, and Puerto Pico. No new laws have been passed since 1941.
However, a number of States and Territories have strengthened their
laws through amendments in the past few years, among them Connect­
icut and Massachusetts, both of which have set a 75-cent minimum by
statute (with provision in Massachusetts for a 65-cent minimum by
wage orders in individual industries). In 1953, Nevada increased
its statutory minimum wage for women to 75 cents an hour. Hawaii
increased its statutory minimum to 65 cents, effective July 1. Other
States have established minimum wages of 75 cents an hour or more
through the issuance of wage orders for individual industries or
During the past year (June 1, 1952 to June 1, 1953) the District of
Columbia and seven States (California, Massachusetts, Minnesota,
New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah) revised their wage orders
to increase the minimum for workers previously covered or to bring
new workers under minimum-wage protection. California issued re­
vised orders for 10 industries or occupations, establishing a uniform
minimum wage of 75 cents an hour. New York State revised 5 orders
covering beauty services, cleaning and dyeing, laundry, hotel, and
restaurant industries. Two of the revised orders—'beauty service and
cleaning and dyeing—which established a basic minimum of 80 cents
an hour, are among the first State orders to provide minimum wages
for intrastate workers higher than the 75-cent minimum now in effect
for interstate commerce under the Federal Fair Labor Standards
Act. The District of Columbia Office Workers Order, issued in
1949, was the first order to set a minimum higher than 75 cents an
hour. The District of Columbia order sets $31 for a week of 32 to
40 hours, which amounts to 77% cents per hour.) New York also
issued an order bringing janitors and other building service workers
in the State under minimum-wage protection for the first time. In
Oregon, women and minors employed in preparing poultry, rabbits,
fish or eggs for distribution were given minimum-wage protection



through an order setting 75 cents an hour as the minimum. The
Minnesota Public Housekeeping Order set a 75-cent hourly minimum.
Rhode Island’s revised Retail Trade Occupations Order increased all
wage rates and established a basic minimum of $28 (instead of $22)
for a 36-44 hour workweek and 95 cents an hour (instead of 75
cents) for hours over 44 a week. Hourly rates for less than 36 hours
a week were raised from 55 to 70 cents. The two revised wage orders
in Massachusetts—for Building Service, and Amusement and Rec­
reation Occupations, respectively—also established minimum wages
of 70 cents per hour.

Laws limiting women’s daily and weekly hours of employment are
in effect in 43 of the 48 States. The standard of an 8-hour day or
48-hour week (or less) is established for one or more industries in
half (24) of the States and the District of Columbia. Five of the
States have no legal restrictions on the. number of hours women can
be employed. Nearly half the States and the District of Columbia
prohibit employment of women for more than 6 days a week in some
or all industries. Some limitation on the hours adult women may be
employed at night is set by 19 States and Puerto Rico. Meal periods
are provided by law in 27 States and the District of Columbia, and
rest periods in 8 States.

Widespread and continuing interest in equal-pay legislation is evi­
denced by bills introduced in 1953 in State legislatures and in the
Federal Congress. New bills were introduced in nine States—Colo­
rado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon,
Utah. In addition, in seven States that now have equal pay laws on
the statute books—California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Mon­
tana, New York, and Pennsylvania—amendments were proposed to
extend coverage or otherwise strengthen existing standards. Seven
bills which would require employers engaged in interstate commerce
to provide equal pay for comparable work have been introduced in
the 83d Congress, six in the House and one in the Senate.
Equal-pay laws applying to private employment are in effect in 13
States and one Territory, Alaska. Sixteen of the 48 States and the
District of Columbia have laws requiring equal pay for men and
women teachers and the principle is set forth by school board action
in many of the city school systems. Equal-pay clauses in collective
bargaining agreements cover thousands of women workers; in addi­
tion, in many plants the principle of equal pay is established through



job classification systems. The Federal Government pays its em­
ployees on the principle of “rate for the job,” first expressed in the
Civil Service Classification Act of 1923, and reaffirmed in the Act of
1949. The Department of Defense has reaffirmed its equal-pay policy
established during World War II for women production workers in
installations of the Armed Forces.
Other Legislation of Special Interest to Women

Women are now eligible to serve on juries in all the Territories and
all but six States: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina,
Texas, and West Virginia.
A resolution was adopted by the Texas Legislature in the 1953
session which provides for a jury service referendum in 1954. A
similar resolution was adopted in West Virginia; however, no ena­
bling act was passed. Jury service bills have also been introduced in
the 1953 legislative sessions of Alabama and Georgia, where women’s
organizations have carried on coordinated campaigns. There has
also been some activity in South Carolina. Mississippi is the only
one of the six States which does not have a legislative session this

Proposals for amending the Federal Internal Revenue Code to per­
mit taxpayers to deduct expenses of child care from their taxable in­
come have gained considerable attention during the past year. At
present (May 1953) 28 such bills are pending in the 83d Congress, 26
in the House of Representatives, and 2 in the Senate. Hearings have
been scheduled by the House Ways and Means Committee to begin on
June 16th.
The bills vary widely in scope. Most of them would make only
widows and widowers eligible for child-care tax deduction; some list
as eligible any “taxpayer gainfully employed outside the home with
children under 16 years of age” and others would cover only women
gainfully employed and with young children. Most of them stipulate
a maximum income status from $5,000 to $7,500 above which the tax
exemption would not apply. Some ask for deduction of ordinary and
reasonable expenses incurred to provide care for a child or children,
and others for actual cash wages and nursery school fees paid for child
care or supervision.
Similar proposals have been introduced in at least two State legis­
latures—Minnesota and Oregon.



Women in Unions
In compiling information for the 1953 Directory of Labor Unions,
the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the first time included in its ques­
tionnaire a request for figures on the number of women members.
Estimates based on the replies to the questionnaire set the total 1952
union membership at between 16^ and 17 million and the number of
women members at approximately 3 million. Thus, about one out
of every six union members is a woman.
The bulk of the woman membership—2y2 million—was concen­
trated in 45 unions from among the 146 unions reporting. Most of
the unions (125) had either no women members or a proportion
under 10 percent (see table below). In 28 of the unions women made
up 50 percent or more of the membership. Among unions having
large numbers of women workers are those in the apparel trades,
service trades, communications work, textile mills, and electrical goods
or Women Trade-Union Members in 213 Unions 1
Percent of Women in Labor Unions
Number of Unions
Under 10
10 and under 20
20 and under 30
30 and under 40
40 and under 50__________________________ ____________________
50 and under 60
60 and under 70
70 and under 80
80 and under 90
90 and over

1 Directory of Labor Unions in the United States, 1953, Bulletin 1127, U. S. Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 35 cents.

In the listing of union officials at the national level there were very
few women as compared to men. However, there are a number of
women who hold important and influential positions in national
unions. Two are high officials of large trade unions, Gladys Dickason of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers and Jennie Matyas of
the International Ladies’ Garment Workers. Mrs. Katherine Poliak
Ellickson holds the position of associate director of research at the
national headquarters of the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
Mrs. Esther Murray is National Representative of the CIO Political
Action Committee. Mrs. Caroline Davis holds an office of importance
to women in the automobile industry as director of the United Auto­
mobile Workers Women’s Bureau. Two of the unions listed in the



1953 Directory have women presidents: the International Air Line
Stewards and Stewardesses Association, headed by Mary Alice Koos;
and the Screen Writers Guild, with Mary McCall, Jr., as its president.
Florence Marston is Eastern Representative of the Screen Actors
The national office in which the largest number of women is found
is that of research director. Eleven women serve in this capacity in
the national headquarters of unions listed in the Directory. Ten
serve as secretary or secretary-treasurer; 5 as editors of union publica­
tions; 3 as treasurer; and several others as educational director,
executive secretary, or executive assistant. The CIO United Shoe
Workers has the distinction of having five women on its executive
Women officers are also scarce at the regional and State levels, but
women are much more active in local union groups where many hold
offices of responsibility. There are numerous women presidents and
vice presidents of union locals, particularly in the trades and indus­
tries employing large numbers of women. For instance, the Detroit,
Mich., local of the CIO Communications Workers elected a woman
president this year, Mrs. Jennie M. Hills, who is also secretary-treas­
urer of the Detroit CWA Council. The Montclair, N. J., local of the
United Textile Workers has a woman president and women in three
other offices. A recent issue of the weekly publication of the Inter­
national Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (IUECIO News) lists women officers in 10 of 18 local elections reported in
the publication. The slate elected this year by the IUE local at
Sandusky, Ohio, is all women; 10 out of 11 officers including president
and vice president of the local at Dover, N. PL, are women; 6 out of 9
officers including the two top positions at Easton, Pa., are women ;
the president, vice president, and secretary of the local at Boston are
There has been an active movement in the International Association
of Machinists to interest women in union activities and to promote
leadership among its women members. Articles featuring women
officials of IAM locals have appeared regularly in the union’s weekly
publication, The Machinist. Hailed in the March 1953 issue as the
first woman ever to head a district IAM lodge was Mrs. Martha
Olinger, elected as president of Rockford, 111., district lodge with more
than 3,000 members. Earlier articles cited women’s contribution to
union work in such offices as trustees, stewards, recording secretaries,
district council members, and members of committees including com­
mittees for negotiating contracts.



In their 1952 conventions both the American Federation of Labor
and the Congress of Industrial Organizations took action aimed at
integrating women workers into the labor movement and improving
their status as union members. The CIO also passed a resolution
urging equal pay for equal work. The Executive Council of the
AFL officially recommended for the ensuing year:
1. That every national and international union within whose jurisdiction
women workers are employed initiate a special organization program to turn
these women workers into good trade unionists.
2. That the AFL Director of Organization assist this movement by promoting
common undertakings and pooling experience. “The Women’s Bureau of the
U. S. Department of Labor provides excellent data and other information on the
problems of women who work,” the AFL recommendation states. “This mate­
rial would be most useful to such an organization drive. It is high time for
unions to realize the importance of organizing all women workers as an integral
and essential part of the labor movement.”

The resolution passed by the Congress of Industrial Organizations
states in part:
“As a part of its belief in industrial unionism, the CIO has supported equal job
rights, equal opportunities, and equal pay for equal work for all its members.
CIO contracts have brought great gains to women workers, and in many sit­
uations our women members have been indispensable in the establishment of
strong unions ...
“Now, Therefore, be it Resowed :
The CIO reaffirms its support of effective Federal and State legislation to safe­
guard the principle of equal pay for equal work. We shall continue to support
the Women’s Status Bill and to oppose the miscalled Equal Rights Amendment.
We urge our affiliates, in cooperation with the CIO Committee to Abolish Dis­
crimination, to intensify their efforts to oppose discrimination against women
on the job or in the community, and to support actively protection of women’s
rights through clauses in union contracts against discrimination in pay, hiring,
upgrading, training, layoff or similar procedures. We continue to support com­
munity programs that make it easier for women to earn a living without jeopar­
dizing the welfare of their families or their own health. We urge our affiliates
and the National CIO to renew their efforts to draw women into active par­
ticipation in our unions as officers as well as members. Similarly, women
should be encouraged to play an important role in our community and political
activities in order that our goals may be achieved.
“In supporting measures to meet the special needs of women workers, we again
affirm the fundamental position of the CIO that all workers are entitled to
co-equal rights and responsibilities in the labor movement and in public

Women’s Organizations
In a report on the status of women it would be a grave oversight
to omit comment on national women’s organizations. These volun­
tary groups with local branches throughout the entire country have



been “a force that has greatly affected American life in the last 60
years,” to quote an eminent woman and newspaper columnist. “In
no other country has there been anything like it,” she goes on to say,
“this indirect influence on public affairs of organized women, this
widespread cultural and political education of housewives, this open­
ing of new windows on the world from kitchen and boudoir that the
woman’s club movement of the 19th century started.”
Nowhere do we find a complete list of women’s organizations, nor
can we say authoritatively how many members there are throughout
the country. One woman often belongs to several organizations.
What is more important, however, is the programs these groups
develop and implement through the activities of their membership.
Whether it is the American Association of University Women, the
Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, organizations of church
women, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Young
Women’s Christian Association, or other women service clubs, the
League of Women Voters of America, National Council of Jewish
Women, National Council of Negro Women, or a professional or­
ganization like the Society of Women Engineers, there is a common
thread of purpose through them all, namely, to improve women’s
status and by so doing strengthen the entice social and economic life
of the United States.
' * ~
In a report recording gains in women’s status over a year it would
be impossible to assay the record of what is due national women’s
groups, because the results of work in areas of social and economic
change are not measurable in a statistical fashion or on a short-time
Throughout the preceding pages of this story on women’s position
in the United States, however, are woven evidences of the concrete
contributions that national women’s organizations have made.
Increase in the number of women active in government and politics,
women in policy-making positions, women in elective office, women
taking a stand on public issues reflect the interest of such groups.
Their influence is again shown when one looks at the constructive
legislation that has been supported, and passed in some States, on
such subjects as equal pay for equal work, on the right to serve on
juries, and on issues of good government. A rather new field of legis­
lative activity is indicated by the number of Federal bills being con­
sidered which would provide for tax deductions for child care
expenses of working mothers. Again we can point to the interested
support of women who participate in national women’s organizations.