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M. S. B«D«

. •




UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
FRANCES PERKINS, Secretary
WOMEN^S BUREAU
MARY ANDERSON, Director

W o m e n i n t h e E c o n o m y of the
U n i t e d S t a t e s of A m e r i c a
A Summary Report

By
M A R Y ELIZABETH PIDGEON

UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTmG OITICE
WASHINGTON : 1937

For sole by the Superintendent of DocumeulB, Waahmgton, D. C.




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-

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Price 15 cents




CONTENTS
Page
Letters of transmittal
vii, i x
Introduction
1
World-wide interest i n the Bituation of women
1
Women's Bureau requested t o prepare report
2
Variations among the 48 States
2
Major themes included i n this report
3
General summary
5
Women's opportunity for livelihood
5
Trends i n women's occupations
5
Unemployment among women
6
Compensation of women
6
Women's share i n the support of their families
7
Effects of labor legislation on conditions of women's w o r k
8
Experience of women under the National Industrial Hecovery
Act..,_.
8
Experience of women under minimum-wage laws
8
Experience as t o effects of labor legislation for women on their
employment opportunities
9
Part I.—Women's opportunity for a livelihood
11
Ch. I . — T h e t r e n d i n the occupations of women i n the United States of
America
Shift f r o m household t o factory manufacture
Machine development and the decline of hand skills
Their skills superseded, women went into factories
Other effects of the factory era on occupations
Women's occupations affected by changes i n their education and
i n attitude t o w a r d their work
Large numbers of women now gainfully employed
Relation of employment of women t o that of men
Shifting occupations w i t h i n each m a i n group
Domestic and personal service—
Clerical occupations
Manufacturing and mechanical industries
Occupations i n trade
Professional occupations
Agricultural occupations
Women as homemakers
Importance of the homemaker i n t h ^ c o n o m i c s t r u c t u r e —
Homemaker n o t assisted by paid help i n most families
Use of newest household equipment limited
Time spent i n household duties
The housewife's major piece of work




III

11
11
12
13
14
15
17
19
20
20
21
22
24
25
26
27
28
28
29
29
32

IV

CONTENTS

Part I.—Continued.
Ch. 2.—Unemployment of women
Extent of women's unemployment
Normal occupations of unemployed women
Lessened employment of women due to ccrtain industrial conditions or practices
'
Part-time employment
Irregularity of employment
Technological changes
Replacement of one sex by the other
Ch. 3.~Compensation of women
Policy of Government to maintain women's wages
Evidences as to the levels of women's earnings i n major women's
occupational groups
^
Two basic questions i n relation to women's wages
Differences i n occupations of women and men
Wage levels i n woman-employing and in man-employing
industries
Women provide products traditionally attributed t o them
at low pay
^
The question.of s k i l l . .
'
General levels of women's and men's wages i n m a n u f a c t u r i n g —
Levels of men's and women's wages i n particular manufacturing industries
Piece-work pay a large factor i n women's wages
Wages of women and men i n special manufacturing occupations
I
Wages of w^omen and of unskilled men
Industrial home work a factor i n depressing women's wages,
General levels of men's and women's w^ages i n domestic and personal service
'
1:
General levels of men's and women's wages i n clerical occupations.
General levels of men's and Women's wages i n sales occupations^
General levels of men's and women's earnings i n professional
service
1
:
'
Wage rates i n union agreements as applied to womtMi
^
Ch. 4.—Responsibilixy of employed w^omen for the support of others_
W^omen who are the sole support of their families
Women responsible for support of dependents
Contributions of ^vomen's earnings to the family sui^port
Women as heads of families
Families w i t h no men wage earners^.
Part II.—Experience of women under labor legislation
Ch. 1.—Experience of the effects of the National Industrial Recovery
Act on women's employment, hours, and wages,' and on collective
bargaining
Hours and employment under t h e N . R.
Employment under the N. R. A _ :
Hours of work under the N . -R^A
Women's hours and employment under the N . 11. A
Wages under the N . R. A
Women's wages under the N . R. A
Labor relations under t h e N . R. A
Summary as t o effects of the N . R. A_




35
35
37
38
38
39
41
44
46
47
48
49
49
50
51
52
53
56
58
60
63
66
70
71
72
73
76
79
79
81
84
84
85
86

89
90
90
91
91
93
94
96
99

CONTENTS

Y

Part II.—Continued.
Page
Ch. 2.—Experience as to the effects of minimum-wage laws
101
States w i t h continuous minimum-wage experience for many years,
101
, Califumia
101
Massachusetts
103
Wisconsin
105
States w i t h recent minimum-wage experience
106
Effects of m i n i m u m - w a g e laws other t h a n i n raising wage levels. _
107
E m p l o y m e n t of women where minimum-wage laws exist
107
Wages of women above the m i n i m u m
110
S u m m a r y of t h e effects of minimum-wage laws
111
Ch. 3.—Experience as t o t h e effects of labor legislation for women on
their opportunities f o r employment
112
J.
Cliaracter a n d p a r t s of study of effects of labor legislation
, 113
F i v e i m p o r t a n t woman-employing industries studied
113
Special lines of employment a n d characteristic occupations
studied
114
Agencies cooperating i n special parts of the survey
114
115
I n t e r v i e w s w^ith i n d u s t r i a l women as t o t h e i r experiences
Coverage of t h e survey
115
Conclusions of study of effects of labor legislation
116
Effects of hour laws
117
Effects of n i g h t - w o r k laws
118
Effects of p r o h i b i t o r y laws
119
I n d u s t r i a l , social, economic factors influence more t h a n laws_
120
APPENDIXES
Appendix A.—Evidences as t o women's wages
Domestic a n d personal service
Service i n homes
B e a u t y shop operation
H o t e l a n d restaurant service
Laundries
Clerical occupations
M a n u f a c t u r i n g industries
Professional w o r k
School teachers
T r a i n e d nurses
Librarians
Social a n d welfare workers
H o m e economics occupations
Occupations i n trade

123
123
123
124
124
125
125
126
127
128
128
129
129
130
130

Appendix B.—References
Women's occupations a n d their recent changes
I r r e g u l a r i t y of women's e m p l o y m e n t —
U n e m p l o y m e n t of women
Compensation of women
Responsibility of women f o r the s u p p o r t of others
Effects of labor legislation

132
132
132
132
133
134
135




VI

CONTENTS
Page

Appendix C.—Recent action by official international organizations on the
economic status of women
Resolution passed at 16th session of the assembly of the League of
Nations, September 1935
Extract from the report of the Director of the International Labor
Office for 1935Resolution passed by International Labor Conference, June 21,1937- -

136
136
136
137

GRAPHS
Occupations of women, 1930
Frontispiece
Average weekly wages of men and women in manufacturing industries,
1923-1936
54
Minimum-wage laws for women and minors, June 1, 1937 (map)
100




LETTERS OF TRANSMITTAL
U N I T E D S T A T E S D E P A R T M E N T OP L A B O R ,
WOMEN'S

BUREAU,

Washiiigton^ May
19S7.
M A D A M : I have the honor to transmit to you a compiled report on the
situation of women i n the economy of the United States of America,
with especial empliasis on their opportxmity for a livelihood and their
experience under labor legislation.
This study has been prepared at the request of ofl5cers of 10 large
national organizations of women (listed on next page), which were
not themselves equipped to do this work, though they desired that a
report presenting facts along these lines should be sent to the International Labor Office and also should be made available for use by
their organizations w i t l i i n this country. These women have been i n
touch w i t h the outlines and progress of this work, some of them have
made valuable suggestions as to its content. Several of them read i t
and made appreciative comments on its content and organization
just before i t went to the International Labor Office, to which i t has
been sent.
The report represents a general compilation of such available information as i t has been possible to bring together within the limitations of funds, staff, and time. The material was collected under the
direction of M a r y Elizabeth Pidgeon, chief of the Research Division
of the Women's Bureau, who organized the data and wrote the report.
Respectfully submitted.
M A R Y A N D E R S O N , Director,
H o n . FRANCES

PERKINS,

Secretary of Labor.




vn




D E P A R T M E N T OF L A B O R ,
U N I T E D S T A T E S OP A M E R I C A ,
WOMEN'S

BUREAU,

Washiiujton, May 1937,
Hon. HAROLD

BUTLER,

Director of the International

Labor Office,
Geneva, Switzerland,
SIR: I have the honor to submit to you a report on the status of
women i n the economy of the United States of America. This factual
study has been prepared at the request of representatives of the
following large national organizations of women which were not
equipped to do this w^ork themselves but desired that such a report
should be sent i n answer to the request of the International Labor
Office for such information:
American Association of University Women,
American Home Economics Association.
Interprofessional Association.
National Board, Young Women's Christian Association.
National Consumers' League.
National Council of Catholic Women.
National Council of Jewish Women.
National Federation of Business and Professional Women's
Clubs.
National League of Women Voters.
National Women's Trade Union League.
Some of these organizations are preparing supplementary data from
studies being made wdtliin their own organizational membership to be
submitted to the Office.
The facts i n the following report represent a general compilation
of such available data on women's economic situation as i t has been
possible to bring together within the limitations of funds, staff, and
time. They include unpublished material from tliis Bureau as well
as information collected from a wide variety of sources. The report
was prepared by M a r y Ehzabeth Pidgeon, chief of the Research
Division of the Women's Bureau.
Sincerely yours,
M A R Y A N D E R S O N , Director,




OCCUPATIONS OF W O M E N
1930
[Figures from U . S. Census]

DOMESTIC AND
PERSONAL
(3.180.251)

CLERICAL
(1^830)

MANUFACTURING
AND
MECHANICAL
(1.886.307)

EI S -

PROFESSIONAL
(1.526.234)

TRADE
(962.680)

AGRICULTURE
(909.939)

TRANSPORTATION
AND
COMMUNICATION
(281.204)




W o m e n i n the Economy of the U n i t e d
States of A m e r i c a
A SUMMARY REPORT

INTRODUCTION
WORLD-WIDE INTEREST I N T H E SITUATION OF WOMEN

Women i n many parts of the world have become increasingly articulate i n their desire to improve the economic situation of women, and
especially t o make more effective, through wider organization and
fuller study, the contribution of women toward the advancement
of policies t o better the employment conditions and the opportunities
for fidlness of life for both women and men.
. W i t h such Knes of thought and action being pursued by women i n
many countries, i t was natural t h a t attention should be paid to these
questions b y the international body i n which so many of these cotmtries
are represented. The Assembly of the League of Nations, at its session i n the a u t u m n of 1935, officially expressed a hope t h a t the International Labor Organization, of which the United States is a member,
'will, i n accordance w i t h its normal procedure, undertake an examination of
those aspects of the problem within its competence—namely, the question of
equality under labor legislation—and that i t will, i n the first place, examine
the question of legislation which effects discriminations, some of which may
be detrimental to women's right to work.*

The International Labor Organization undertook such a study,
enlarging its investigation to include more f u l l y the entire economic
situation of women. The Director of the International Labor Office
stated i n his annual report for the year 1935:
The Governing Body agreed t h a t the suggestion made by the Assembly
should be carried out and that a report should be prepared in regard to the
legal status of women i n industry w i t h particular reference to any discriminatory measures which may have been taken against their employment.
This is t o be followed by a more extensive investigation covering not only
the legislation affecting women's employment but also their actual position
in respect of conditions of employment, wages, and economic status. Clearly
this inquiry involves many difficulties and w i l l require considerable time.
I t w i l l be carried out i n consultation w i t h members of the correspondence
committee on women's work, and i t may be hoped t h a t i t will throw some
light on the various questions relating t o women's work and position in
industrial and commercial occupations about which controversy has been
provoked.2
\ For full text of the resolution, see appendix C.
^ International Labor Office. Report of the Director, 1036. pp. 64-65.
Dii




2

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S
WOMEN^S BUREAU REQUESTED TO PREPARE REPORT

When the request for such information came td the regular" International Labor Office correspondents i n the United States, the research
representatives of several " o f ' t h e national l)rgamzations of women
expressed the desire that the Women's JBureau i n the Department of
Labor should take the leadership i n preparing a report, or a series of
reports, on the economic situation of women, since this agency, tlirough
its many technical studies and its continuous examination of the problems of employed women; has formed the repository i n this country
for such factual d a t a . "
\
. -.
, ,
.
I n making this request these women expected that a preUminar}^
report based on these and further investigations would make^ possible
the more widespread Imowledge and use of this type of information,
which is greatly desired and needed by the women here, and they
thought that i t also could be used i n answer to the inquiries from the
International Labor Office.
' ' '
Meanwhile, several of those large national organizations of women
t h a t were making this request of the Women's Bureau—for example,
the Young Women's Christian Association, the Federation of Business
and Professional Women's Clubs, and the American Associtition of
University W^omen—also have had i n progress surveys among the
gainfully occupied women within their own membership, covering
certain phases of the subject, and particularly inquiring into the family
status of employed women and the extent to wliich they are responsible
for the support of dependents. Others of these organizations, such
as the National Women's Trade Union League and the National
League of Women Voters, determined to rely entirely on the Women's
Bureau report and not to undertake their o^vn supplemental studies,
though they as well as many other oi^anizations freely furnished to
the Women's Bureau all the material they could possibly make available from studies they had made and from their files.
The time w i t h i n which the present report must be completed does
not permit the undertaldng of new investigations. These must be
planned subsequently. I t enables only a preliminary collection and
examination of the data already available, both from primary and
secondary sources, whether from the Women's Bureau, from other
governmental authorities, from studies made by various national
women's organizations, from special technical'Studies of other agencies,
or from data collected by the Women's Bureau so recently that i t has
not yet been possible to organize them for general use.
V A R I A T I O N S AMONG T H E 48 STATES

A n evaluation of the economic situation of women at a given period
is exceedingly complicated, particularly i n an intensively developed
industrial society such as exists today i n the United States of America.



INTRODUCTION'

'

3

Wide generalizations for this country'are turther precluded along some
lines by the great variations among the States in' extent of industrial
development, i n types of occupations and industries prevailing, and i n
status of legal control. Variatioii i n the last named is accentuated by
the fact that many of the matters that affect industrial and economic
conditions here lie ^vithin the legal provincfe that the Federal Constitution has reserved to the individual States; and hence i t is possible to
have 48 different stages of action, a separate one for each State.
Thus on the one hand a particularist control has tended to develop,
though on the other hand economic organizations and influences have
followed much broader lines and areas that overlap State borders.
To some extent the tendency to isolated solutions or efforts has been
offset by consultation among the authorities of States having similar
economic problems and industrial growth, and by national action i n
certain fields.
MAJOR THEMES INCLUDED I N T H I S REPORT

I f a complete consideration be given to the situation of women i n
the economy of tliis country, this necessarily must be based upon a
general description of the main features of the entire economic setting,
and the chief observable currents of its direction of change or movement. While the many and varying phases of women's place i n the
life of the United States can be included i n a broad %vorking outline,
i t is obvious that sustained research along a variety of lines is necessary
for full understanding of such a complex situation.
Certain outstanding parts of this whole can be selected for more
immediate investigation and presentation, w i t h the understanding
that these do constitute only parts of what later must be expanded
much further %vitliin the same and added fields i n order to approximate a more complete picture. The present report therefore has
concentrated upon two major themes of primary importance in the
situation of women.
First: Women's opportunity for a liveliliood. This includes a consideration of the occupations i n wliich women are engaged and the
apparent directions of occupational change; evidences as to the unemployment of women, the irregularity of their employment, and
certain employment problems that confront their sex ydth. special
difficulties; the levels of compensation ordinarily available to employed
women, particularly i n comparison with"the levels afforded to men;
and the family status of women, especially as to the extent to w^hich
they are responsible for the support of others.
Second: The other main theme of this report deals w i t h available
evidences as t o the results of labor legislation affecting women, having a bearing on their employment opportunities and on their wages
and conditions of work. Such effects do not confine themselves to



4

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

legislation for women only, but include the effect on women (as well
as men) of labor legislation applying to both sexes.
I t is apparent immediately that i t has been necessary to omit from
the present report many important phases of the economic situation
of women—^for example, their security of livelihood outside their
occupational situation, being developed now i n the broad socialsecurity program recently inaugurated; their opportimities to secure
adequate training; the control of wealth that is said to rest i n their
hands; the extent to which they participate i n local, State, and Federal government; the extent to which certain factors, such as marital
status for example, particularly affect women's opportunities to
obtain and keep employment; the activities and influences of women's
national and international organizations of various types. The list of
important subjects of investigation lying outside the present report
could be extended more or less indefinitely. These just enumerated
and many more must be the subjects of future study as rapidly as they
can be approached vdth confidence.




GENERAL S U M M A R Y
Following the general outline of the present study, the brief summary
of the chief findings here presented is concerned w i t h (1) consideration
of a variety of questions bound up w i t h women's own means of livelihood and their contributions to family support, and (2) examination
of the effects of legislation designed to improve the conditions of
women's work and compensation.
WOMEN'S OPPORTUNITY FOR LIVELIHOOD

Trends i n W o m e n ' s Occupations.

(For details, see p t . I , ch. 1.)

Over 10% m i l l i o n women were i n gainful employment i n the United
States at the time of the 1930 census—almost six times as many as
were so occupied 60 years before. Thus two women were in gainful
work to every seven men so employed.
The introduction of machinery, superseding the hand skills formerly
carried on i n the home, opened to women factory employment on an
increasing scale, and t h e textile, clothing, food, leather, cigar and
tobacco, p r i n t i n g and paper, electrical, and certain metal industries
are major manufacturing employers of women today. The development of education for women made i t possible for them to assume
clerical and professional duties. The growth of the modem structure
of commerce, trade, and commiinication accelerated the entrance of
women i n t o clerical w o r k and opened to them further occupations i n
the field of trade. Recent technological changes, which have broken
up factory w o r k i n t o more and more minute processes, also have required additional technicians b o t h i n laboratory and shop, and many
of these are women. However, i n spite of the great variety of employments open t o both sexes, the largest proportion of gainfully occupied
women—three-tenths of them—still arein domestic and personal service.
The net result of the various economic changes more recently has
been to place increasing numbers of women i n the ranks of clerical
and other white-collar workers, while the hand trades have declined
and entrance i n t o factory employments has been less rapid than
formerly. I n professional service women have increased i n numbers
as helpers and i n semiprofessional work, b u t i n most of the major
professions there has been a slowing up and i n some even a decline.
Three-fourths of all women professional workers still are school
teachers and nurses. The growth of life i n urban centers has been
accompanied b y a decline i n agricultiu'al occupations and an increase
or development of certain types of service.
More t h a n three-fourths of aU women are not i n gainful occupations,
and of these the great m a j o r i t y are homemakers, whose value to the
5




6

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

f a m i l y is signified b y the fact that 95 percent of the families i n this
country have no paid help. The contribution these 24% million homemaking women make to the economy of the N a t i o n still is paramount,
despite the difficulties of measuring its value.
Unemployment Among Women.

(For details, see p t . I , ch. 2.)

T h e extreme depression t h a t began toward the close of 1929 bore
w i t h great severity upon women i n three ways: (1) I t caused many
to lose jobs, (2) i t made demands on women t o institute various
f a m i l y economies t h a t would help to offset the privation i t created,
and (3) i t impelled many women to seek jobs to make up for declines
i n the income of men wage earners.
Practically one-fifth of the women normally employed were out of
work, and though the proportions unemployed were larger among men
than among women, there were important woman-employing indiistries
i n which larger proportions of women than of men were the sufferers—
for example, the electrical supply, woolen and worsted, and certain
food industries. The proportions of women service workers and of
those i n sales occupations were larger among the women unemployed
than among those employed. Moreover, practically one-tenth of all
jobless women i n 1930 were heads of families.
i
Women were greatly affected by certain industrial factors closely
bound up w i t h the depression, such as the prevalence of part-time
work, seasonal and other irregularities i n employment, and numerous
technological changes. Women also had to cope w i t h employment
discriminations t h a t bore upon them w i t h especial severity because they
were women, such as those having to do ^vith sex, age, and marital
status.
' .
•- '
Compensation of W o m e n ,

(For details, see p t . I , ch. 3.)

A n i m p o r t a n t point i n the assurance of opportunity for a hvelihood
is the scale of compensation t h a t can be commanded. On the whole,
women's occupations differ f r o m men's and the wages i n women's
jobs almost invariably are a t a lower level than those of men. Even
where the two sexes are employed i n the same industries the levels of
women's wages are much below those of men.
Indeed, i t is remarkable t h a t this difference is so universal, b o t h i n
extent and i n degree, no matter what the year, the locality, or the
type of occupation. Despite the fact t h a t >vomen generally are found
i n semiskilled processes, i n work that often requires considerable dext e r i t y and care, while unskilled jobs ordinarily employ men, even i n
such .a comparison women's wage rates are well below those of the
unskilled men.
T h i s arises p a r t l y f r o m the fact t h a t women so often are used as a
fill4n labor supply for higlily seasonal industries; p a r t l y f r o m the fact
t h a t women's work, formerly concerned so largely w i t h unpaid house-




GENEUAL SUMMARY

7

hold tasks, traditionally has been considered of low money value;
partly f r o m the fact t h a t women form large proportions of the workers
i n the great piece-work industries and piece rates for such jobs often
are fixed on the old customary basis of considering women's work as of
slight money value.
I t is because women thus have constituted an especially exploited
group so far as their wages are concerned, t h a t efforts have been made
to establish m i n i m u m wages for women w i t h the sanction of the
Government, i n order to fix a b o t t o m figure below which women may
not be paid, and thus to draw their wages i n the lower brackets more
nearly up to the levels already maintained i n the payment of men.
I n some cases i t has been impossible to overcome the traditional idea
of low pay for women's jobs even through trade-union action, and the
customary low wage rates for certain women's jobs have been continued even i n some union agreements.
W o m e n ' s Share i n the Support of T h e i r F a m i l i e s .
see pt. I , ch, 4.)

(For details,

The responsibilities of women as contributors to the family exchequer are considerably larger than many persons have realized.
Probably more than one-tenth of the employed women i n the United
States are the entire support of famiUes of two or more persons, i n
many cases of those t h a t are much larger. Large numbers of these
are single women, many are married; they are engaged i n industrial,
professional, clerical, domestic and' personal, and other types of
employment.
A very large body of women i n addition to those who are the sole
family wage earners are supporting dependents, either whoUy or i n
part, and m a n y of these are f u l l y responsible for the support of some
persons and have partial dependents as well.
M a n y employed women contribute all their earnings, and a very
large proportion t u r n over at least half of w h a t they make, for the
family expenses.
Of the f a m i l y heads i n the U n i t e d States one-tenth are women.
This number is a m i n i m u m when extent of responsibility is considered,
since the census enumerators normally report a m a n as the family head
wherever possible to dp so.
I n practically one-sixth of the urban families i n tliis country the
only wage earners are women. Since two or more women m a y be
sharing the family support, this does not show the responsibility of
individuals, b u t i t does f o r m one indication of the large share \vomen
are bearing i n the financial economy of families i n the U n i t e d States.
A further indication of women's share i n this economy lies i n the fact
that weU over one-third of all wage-earning women are homemakers as
well, thus carrying a double responsibility to those depending upon
150483^—37




2

8

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

them for money aid as well as for the social ministrations required i n
the home.
EFFECTS OF LABOR LEGISLATION ON CONDITIONS OF WOMEN'S WORK

Experience of W o m e n Under the N a t i o n a l I n d u s t r i a l Recovery
Act. (For details, see p t . I I , ch. 1.)
T h e National Industrial Recovery A c t sought to secure for both
sexes shortened hours, increased wages, and further protection of
collective bargaining rights, and i t d i d secure advances for workers
along all these lines, especially i n its earlier stages. So far as women
were concerned, operation of the act gave a v i v i d illustration of two
facts:
(1) As legislation applying to both sexes, i t benefited most the sex
formerly suffering from the lowest wages—^women—though there was
a considerable area w i t h i n which i t l e f t women^s wages below men's.
T h a t the powerful force of t r a d i t i o n keeps women's wages down even
under legislation applying to b o t h sexes shows t h a t there s t i l l is need
of special measures t o assist women i n attaining adequate standards.
(2) This act for b o t h sexes gave relatively l i t t l e assistance to two
major occupation groups consisting chiefly of women—the service
and clerical w^orkers. This again illustrates the present need of special
measures for women, and several of the States having minimum-wage
provisions for women recognized this and applied their earliest action
to women i n service occupations, such as laundries and beauty shops.
Experience of W o m e n U n d e r M i n i m u m - W a g e Laws.
tails, see p t . I I , ch. 2.)

(For de-

A t the present time minimum-wage laws i n this country apply to
women and minors only i n nearly all the 24 jurisdictions i n which they
are i n effect. (See p . 101.) While their application to men i n some
instances would be desirable, they have been m u c h more greatly
needed b y women, since women are so largely employed i n low-wage
industries and under conditions of exploitation. A n added consequence of the fact last named has been t h a t organization of workers to
secure wage improvements presented much greater difficulties for
women t h a n for men. Moreover, up to this time the constitutionality
of minimum-wage legislation has been less clear for men t h a n for
women.
T h e universal experience w i t h minimum-wage legislation, wherever
i t has been introduced into the various States i n this country, is t h a t
i t has very materially raised the wages of large numbers of women.
I n some cases this effect has been most marked.
F a r f r o m reducing the wages of those receiving above the m i n i m u m ,
this type of law has resulted i n raising the wages of many of those who
previously had received more than the m i n i m u m fixed, and experience




GENERAL S U m i A I t Y

9

has shown t h a t the m i n i m u m p u t i n operation does not become the
maximum.
I n regard to women's employment, the usual experience has been
that i t continues to increase regardless of whether or not there is
minimum-wage legislation, and indeed i n the State where the highest
minimum was maintained over a long series of years (California)
women's employment increased considerably more than i n the country
as a whole. T h e constant changes i n employment t h a t are occurring
are attributable to many factors n o t connected w i t h the m i n i m u m
wage, and there is no evidence t h a t such legislation has any general or
controlling effect toward inducing the replacement of women by men.
Experience as to Effects of Labor Legislation for W o m e n o n
Their E m p l o y m e n t Opportunities. (For details, seept. I I , ch. 3.)
The development of gainful employment for women has been accompanied b y extensive increases i n the labor legislation applying to
women; and j u s t as the growth of women's opportunities has shown
different trends i n different places, so has the legislative regulation of
their work. I n some States the legal regulation of most phases of
women's employment i n industry is v e i y complete; i n other States there
is practically no regulation whatsoever. I n some States the laws i n
question cover a large proportion of the women who are at work; i n
other States they apply to only a small group. I n practically no
State, however, does the law apply to women i n agriculture, i n household service, i n business and professional occupations, to women who
work independently, or to women i n supervisory positions.
The Women's Bureau made a v e r y extensive siirvey of the effects
of labor legislation on women's employment opportunities, sampling
a wide variety of types of employment under the kinds of laws usually
i n operation for women. The investigation covered more t h a n 1,600
establishments employing over 660,000 men and women, and i n addition i t included objective interviews w i t h more t h a n 1,200 women who
actually had experienced changes i n labor laws.
I t was f o u n d t h a t regulatory hour laws as applied to women engaged i n the manufacturing processes ordinarily do not handicap the
women b u t serve to regulate employment and to estabUsh the accepted
standards of m o d e m efficient industrial management. Legislation is
only one of the influences operating to reduce hours i n manufacturing
establishments. Other factors t h a t have the same effect, and t h a t
operate to a greater or less degree according t o the locality and type
of industry, are agreements w i t h employees or w i t h other firms, competition w i t h other firms, production requirements, and business
depressions.
I n most localities and industries night work for either men or w^omen
is frowned upon and is decreasing. The m a j o r i t y of employers i n




10

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

industry consider night work to be even more undesirable for women
than for men, and they would not employ women at night even i f the
law permitted. Laws prohibiting night work for women i n industry
are chiefly a reflection of the usual attitude of employers regarding
such practice, but occasionally they have resulted i n a limitation of
women's employment.
Labor legislation divides broadly into two parts—(1) laws definitely prohibiting employment of women; (2) laws regulating their
employment. The effects of the laws prohibiting employment in
certain occupations are very different from those of the regulatoiy
laws. The occupations prohibited for women by the laws of one or
more States are limited i n number. M a n y of these laws are insigniflcant i n their possible effect on women, but certain of them deserve
very careful consideration. From the fact that at the time of the
survey women were successfully employed elsewhere i n a number of
the prohibited occupations, i t appeared that the prohibition must
have been something of a restriction where i t existed. This restriction
afforded the outstanding example of possible discrimination against
women resulting from labor legislation.
I n almost eveiy kind of employment the real forces that influence
women's opportunity were found to be far removed from legislative
regulation of their hours or conditions of work.




Part I.—WOMEN^S OPPORTUNITY FOR A
LIVELIHOOD
Chapter 1 . — T H E T R E N D I N T H E O C C U P A T I O N S O F W O M E N
I N T H E U N I T E D STATES OF A M E R I C A ^
The work of women has been employed i n some way i n all types of
economy f r o m tho most primitive to what is thought of today as the
moro highly organized. Indeed, there are indications that larger
ffo'portions of women are gainfully occupied i n the less industrialized
countries t h a n i n those having a high state of industrialization.^
Whether women have or have not found their occupations chiefly
in their homes and more largely i n gainful than i n unpaid employment, and the special skills used or the particular nature and variety
of the contributions made b y their work, have depended largely upon
the form, constitution, and requirements of the economic system of
which they are a part. Therefore a fair understanding of women's
present occupational situation and the direction of its trend requires
some consideration both of the cliief influences that have surrounded
women and helped to shape their destiny and of the major factors that
have influenced and are influencing the development of the entire
modern economic organization ^nthin which women's work is being
carried on.
S H I F T F R O M HOUSEHOLD TO FACTORY MANUFACTURE

According to the U n i t e d States census, well over one-fifth of the
women of this country were engaged i n gainful work i n 1930. The
history of woman employment i n this country has been a history of
the transition from household manufacture to factory and oflice and
sales occupations outside the-home. This shift has developed w i t h
the growth of macliine fabrication as a substitute for the older skilled
handcrafts and the consequent industrialization of society, and w i t h
the parallel change i n public t h i n k i n g as to the education and position
of women.
Alexander Hamilton's report on the subject of manufactures i n
1791 described " A vast scene of household manufacturing'' and
stated:
I t is computed in a number of districts that two-thirds, three-fourths, or
even four-fifths of all the clothing of the inhabitants are made by themselves.^

The Census of 1810 reported the greater p a r t of 51K million dollars'
> A brief list of important references on this subject will be found in appendix B. United States decennial
census of occupations is source of data on employment in the United States.
' Data lor women in gainful employment tabulated by Woytmsky; also Die Welt in Zahlen, vol 11,
Berlm, 1926, p. 71, as cited in Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, vol. 16, p. 453: Women m Industry—General
Principles, bv M a r y van Kleeck»Works of Hamilton, vol. I, pp. 210-11. as cited by Thomas Woody in A History of Women's Education
in the United States. 1929. vol. U , p. 6.




12

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

worth of cotton and wool products as made in the home, but by 1840
the total value of home products had fallen to 29 million doUars.*
I t is reported that i n 1816 Indiana had 2,512 looms and 2,700 spinning
wheels "most of them i n private cabins, whose mistresses, by their
slow agencies, converted the wool which their own hands had often
sheared, and the flax which their ovm fingers had puUed, into cloth
for the family wardrobe." ® B y 1831, when the "Convention of the
Friends of I n d u s t r y " was held i n New York, 39,000 females were
employed i n various cotton factories i n the United States.®
Though some industrial home work now exists on a commercial
scale, the very large part of i t i n clothing manufacture or processes
incident thereto, its continuation is opposed by those influences that
seek a more adequate standard for women's wages i n the factory.^
The amount of work done by women at home has decreased steadily,
and the amount of their gainful work done outside has increased,
usually w i t h greater rapidity than the woman population, as the
following shows for the more recent decades:
Percent increase in—
Woman employrnent

1870
1880
1890
1900
1910
1920

to
to
to
to
to
to

1880
1890
1900
1910
1920
1930

Woman population

44. 2
51. 3
32. 8
51.8
8 5. 9
25. 8

29. 0
27. 9
22. 5
22.3
17. 1
20. 6

« Changes i n census dale and in instructions to enumerators are considered responsible for much of the
reduction m this figure.

A number of careful studies of the status and the direction of change
i n woman employment i n this country have been made, a few of the
more outstanding of which are listed elsewhere i n the present report.®
Perhaps one of the most succinct statements made as to the general
causes of the occupational shifts that may be observed for the entire
working population during the latest census period (and indeed extending over a longer period) is that " T h e occupational shifts of the last
decade exhibit the marked characteristics of a maturing industrial
and commercial civilization."
M A C H I N E DEVELOPMENT A N D T H E DECLINE OF H A N D SKILLS

As the major forces that impelled economic development along the
lines that now are known may be listed the progress of invention and
introduction of machinery, and later the splitting up of machine work
into more and more minute processes and the consequent intensive
development of technology now customarily referred to as the first and
< U . S. Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census, 1900: vol. V I I , p. liff
« From History of Woman Suffrage, as quoted by M a r y R. Beard in America Through Women's Eyes.
1931 tT 103
e Abbott, Edith. Women in Industry. 1924. p 54.
? See p 66.
»Appendix B .
1 H u r h n , R ^ p h G , and Meredith B. Givens. Shifting Occupational Patterns, ch. V I of Recent Social
0
Trends in the United States. 1933. Vol. I , p. 269.




TREND I N T H E OCCUPATIONS OF WOIMEN

J5

Becond industrial revolutions. These had a profound effect on the
entire life and work of women.
Early inventions led to the later development of machinery of
various kinds designed to take over both the heavy operations and the
tedious household tasks. Of most importance to woman employment
was the machinery for spinning and weaving, operations done in the
home i n the early colonial days. A t the beginning of the eighteenth
century women still were spinning at home but the yarn was brought
for weaving to large rooms where looms were i n use. The earliest
cotton m i l l was established i n Rhode Island i n 1789." The power
loom was introduced i n 1814, and thereafter weaving became a factory
occupation. B y the middle of the centuiy the sewing machine came
into effective use, usually operated by women.^^ Such inventions
resulted in a break-down of certain of the particular crafts formerly
carried on by women i n their homes.
T H E I R SKILLS SUPERSEDED, WOMEN WENT INTO FACTORIES

W i t h the dechne i n the special hand skills i n which women had been
expert arose the demand for persons to carry on the routine of tending
the rapid and exacting machinery being introduced, and of inspecting
with speed and accuracy the products they turned out.*® Women
began to go into the factories to do this work. I n describing one of
these new cotton mills in Boston, President Washington said of the
workers: ''They are daughters of decayed families, and are girls of
character—None others are admitted." **
Enterprising entrepreneurs were quick to see their own advantage
in the employment of women as cheap labor, for the work of women
at home had not received a money wage. I n a time when gainful
occupation was much restricted for women, there was no dearth of
benign arguments that even the low pay accorded women enabled the
poor to obtain bread.
Another factor operating to send more women to outside employment was the excess of women over men, especially i n the large cities,
a condition very different from that of earlier colonial times.^® This
meant that many women could not marry, i n a monogamous society,
and many of these could honorably support themselves as "spinsters"
in the early cotton mills, even though the pay received was indeed a
mere pittance.
Reports of cotton-mill wages i n the first quarter of the nineteenth
century show women almost never earning so much as $4 a week,
though as weavers they sometimes were paid that much, while men
" See Abbott, cit. Ch. I l l gives a history of this period. The mill here referred to was the Slater mill.
'»The Elias Howe sewing machine was patented i n 1846.
For'a^dl^iSSon S^chang^^
to the factory state, tee Stuart Chase's
M e n and Machines. 1929. ch. I X .
. ,
.
,
,
Abbott, cit., p. 40. See also ch. I V for farther discussion of types of girls going into early cotton mills
in New England.
" W o o d y , c i t . , v o l . n , p . I.




14

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H'J^VTES

received at least $4.50 and $5, usually more.^® B y no means the
earliest of the men's complaints as to having wages so undercut was
the following from a labor paper i n the 1860's:
After t r y i n g many experiments in vain to keep down wages to the old
standard, w^hen paper and gold w^ere equal in value, they now attempt to
substitute female for male labor * * * [or bring down wages] to the
female standard, which is generally less than one-half the sum paid to men."
OTHER EFFECTS OF T H E FACTORY ERA ON OCCUPATIONS

The vast acceleration of mechanical invention over the past 50 years,
accompanied by the division of labor into minute industrial processes,
has demanded not only machine-tending operations, but much more—
increased technical service both i n laboratory and shop, the organization of management, added clerical services, and expansion i n all
facilities for the distribution, sale, and delivery of new and increased
numbers of products.
This growth of mass production by factory process, and its accompanying additions to managerial and clerical forces, have been followed
very closely b y an almost continuous shift in population from rural to
urban areas, w i t h all the characteristics of closely concentrated human
existence, crowded living, smaller-scaled family operations, and increased demands for community services, as, for example, those having
to do w i t h housing, the provision of food, or recreation. The magnitude of the change from rural to city living is dramatized b y the fact
that i n the days of the early Republic only 3 percent of the population
resided i n cities of over 8,000.^®
The contrasting urban concentration of today has required a development of many conunimity household services hitherto unknown or
minor i n their place. Increased apartment living, great additions to
numbers of hotels and public eating places, ^vith corresponding increases i n a long line of occupations needed to maintain such establislmaents, have been among the results of this movement.
I n consequence i t is not surprising to find a decline i n the numbers
follo^ving agricultural pursuits, and an accompanying concentration
on the improvement of agricultural techniques and organization, including the further development of different types of large-scale farming
and the introduction of such occupations as those of farm agent, home
demonstration agent, or organizer of girls' and boys' clubs, some of
these usually supported as a public service by the State, and to a
considerable extent also vnth the aid of Federal funds.
Closely allied to these developments have been the increases i n
transportation, commimication, and sales facilities, each further added
to i n an almost pyramiding scale by new inventions and the develop1 See Abbott, cit , ch X I L
8
Fincher's Trades' Review, Jan. 28, 1865, as citod in Report on Condition of Woman and Child Wage
Earners in the United States. U . S Bureau of Labor. 1910. vol. I X , p. 29.
» Beard. Charles A. AuEconomiclnterpretationofthp Constitution i f the United States. 1913. p. 242.
8




TREND I N T H E OCCUPATIONS OF WOIMEN

J5

ment of new ingenuities such as the perfection of the radio and the
extension of telephone service, which have increased greatly the
numbers employed i n the occupations connected m t h transportation
and communication.
Finally, the complexity, haste, physical concentration, and generally
advanced tempo of modem living have induced new and increased
demands for types of personal service hitherto unknown or little used.
Examples of the way this has affected women's occupations appear
in the greatly increased numbers of beauty-shop operators, and also
of laundry operatives, though the progress of machinery also is a
contributing factor here.
As the foregoing paragraphs indicate, there has occurred a great
shift from manual labor and the older hand skills to the so-called
white-collar jobs, including those requiring quick adjustment of
thought and activity of brain. This has been accompanied by marked
advances i n professional-service occupations and added demands for
technical and professional training.
WOMEN'S OCCUPATIONS AFFECTED BY CHANGES I N T K E I R EDUCATION
A N D I N A T T I T U D E TOWARD T H E I R WORK

The fact that women have had some (if not always sufficient)
preparation to meet the needs of the gro\ring educational, professional,
and clerical services is due not so much to any economic factor as to
the gradual change that has occurred i n the entire status of women,
based primarily on a definitely changing thought and attitude of
society toward women's education, capabilities, and position. That
the shift i n emphasis i n the development of women's education that
has occurred from 1800 to the present time is quite remarkable is
indicated from a few instances.
Throughout the home stage of production i n this country, relatively
little thought was given to the general education of women outside
the household arts. Of course, there were outstanding individual
women, especially those of the upper classes, who were highly educated, but this was not the situation of the great majority. Even
a woman such as Abigail Adams, ^vife of John Adams and later first
lady of the land, who had the best opportunities of learning accorded
women i n the early days of the American Republic, ^vrote her husband
during his sojourn abroad: " W e l l ordered home is my cliief delight,
and the affectionate domestic wife, with the relative duties which
accompany that character, m y highest ambition."^® A n enterprising
school official i n those earlier times made some such statement as
that ''girls are a tender and interesting branch of the community, to
whose education too little attention has been given."
I n the days of the early Republic i t was the exceptional \voinan
who was prepared to teach, or who conducted a "dame*s school" for
" Bobb6, Dorothie.

Abigail Adams»the Second First Lady.




1929. p. 202.

27

WOMEN

I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

small children. Even Emma Willard, of New York, an early advocate
of more substantial training for girls, who prepared an address for
the New York Legislature i n its behalf, stated that the ''absurdity of
sending, women to college must strike everyone."^ Even the beginnings of public schooling such as we know i t today were unthought of.
The results of Emma Willard's efforts were referred to b y Governor
Clinton, a warm sponsor, as "the only attempt ever made i n this
country to promote the education of the female sex by the patronage
of government." I n 1826 New York and Boston public high schools
were opened for girls, but both were closed shortly, the one i n Boston
having been such an ''alarming success'' that i t was thought the
city could not afford to continue it.^^
I t was not u n t i l the 1830's that practical efforts came to fruition for
the establishment of colleges for women equivalent in standing to
those of the day for men.^^
I n 1852 the earliest American woman's magazine, Godey's Lady's
Book, known to the youth of the grandmothers and great-grandmothers of the present day, a publication that was thought very
advanced in its time, declared: " W e only want our sex to become
fitted for their sphere", i n which they included preparation for physicians, nurses, teachers, social workers, and managers of savings banks.®
I t was about this time that two young women—^Elizabeth and Emily
Blackwell—were struggling to obtain the first medical education in
this country for their sex. Elizabeth sought admission at 12 different
medical schools before she was finally allowed to study at Geneva,
N . Y . , graduating i n 1849. She and her sister founded the first
women's dispensary, which developed into the New York Infirmary,
chartered i n 1854.^^
As late as 1861, the founder of Vassar College, i n his address to its
first board of trustees, could make a point of saying: " I t seemed to
me t h a t woman, having received from her Creator the same intellectual constitution as man, has the same right to intellectual culture
and development."^
From the viewpoint of workers, as late as 1867 the address of the
National Labor Congress to the Workingmen of the United States
deplored the prejudice against the employment of women and declared:
We claim t h a t if they are capable to fill the position now occupied by the
stronger sex—and i n many instances they are eminently qualified to do so—
M Goodsell, Willystine.

T h e Education of Women.

1923. p. 18.

Woody, cit., vol. I I , pp. 138,147.

M Goodsell, cit., p. 24 ff and Woody, ci^t., vol. I I , p. 140. See also Journal of the American Association of
University Women, April 1937, p. 162. T h e Georgia Female College i n Macon, 1836, and Oberlln Collegiate
Institute, 1833, are those usually cited as the earliest. The first incorporated academy for girls in New
England, probably i n the world, established by the fi^st legacy ever left for their education, was founded
in 1822. Vassar College, chartered in 1861, was considered the first fully equipped modem college for women
commensurate w i t h those of the day for men.
" Woody, cit., vol. I I , p. 2, quoting Godey's Lady's Book, March 1852, p. 228.
" Jacobi, M a r y Putnam. Woman i n Medicine, ch. V I I of Woman's Work i n America, Annie Nathan
Meyer (Ed.). 1891. pp. 151-153.
" Talbot, Marion. T h e Education of Women. 1910. pp. 109-110.




T R E N D I N T H E OCCUPATIONS OF WOIMEN

J

5

they are entitled to be treated as their equals, and receive the same compensation for such services.28

From the advancement i n the education of women i t was a logical
result that they should be able to take up the kinds of work that led
to their great increase as school teachers; social workers; stenographers,
typists, and other clerical w o r k e r s a s technicians; and i n a wide
variety of white-collar and professional occupations. That i n many
cases these also are the types of work into which women have gone
in greater and greater numbers even i n the most recent decades
is indicated b y the following list of occupations i n which woman
employment increased i n this countiy by more than 100,000 from
1910 to 1930:28
Servants.
Clerks (except in stores).
School teachers.
Stenographers and typists.
Store clerks.

Trained nurses.
Bookkeepers and cashiers.
Waitresses.
Operatives—Clothing industries.
Telephone operators.

LARGE NUMBERS OF WOMEN NOW GAINFULLY EMPLOYED

Obviously, these influences affecting the' occupations of a people
have had a profound effect on the work done by women, on the wages
in which their livelihood is maintained. The accelerated invention
of machinery and the subdivision of manufacturing into even more
minute processes, the destruction of old and substitution of new skills,
the concentration of living and the decline i n agricultural occupation,
the rapid development of sales techniques, of commimication and
transportation facilities, and of new types of service, as well as the
advance i n women's education, have been accompanied by such an
increase i n the gainful employment of women that their number i n
paid occupations has increased b y one-third since 1910, and is almost
six times as great as i n 1870. Their total advance through the past
50 years—from 152 to 220 i n every 1,000 employed persons—^is
quite sufficient to demonstrate that the economic causes that have
carried them from their homes into the market for paid labor have
taken them there to stay.
A t the present time, when more than a fifth of the women i n the
country are i n gainful work chiefly outside their homes, the subject
of woman employment i n the United States deals w i t h very large
numbers and includes a vast scattering of workers i n all sorts of jobs,
many of them difficult to classify precisely. The immensity of the
subject is indicated by the fact that the latest census (1930) reported
more than 10% million women i n gainful occupations.
I t is not surprising that in a land geographically so widespread
there should be more women in paid work than in some of the countries
" Woman and Child Wage Earners, cit., vol. I X , pp. 29-30.
. ^ , .
" The first practical typewriter was patented In 1868, earlier patents Roing back to 18^.
U. S. Department of Labor. Women's Bureau. The Occupational Progress of Women, 1910 to 1930.
Bui. 104. 1933. pp. 76-79.




18

AVOAIEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

of smaller area, though even the large proportion jVinerican women
form of all persons i n gainful work is exceeded elsewhere. A few
sample comparisons w i t h recent census data available from other
countries illustrate this, as follows:
Country

England and Wales
(1931)
France so (1926)
U S S. R.31 (July 1933)
United States
(1930)
Germany
(1925)

Age

14 and o v e r . .
11 and over. _
N o t shown...
10 and o v e r . .
All ages

Number of women
employed

Percent tc omen
formed of all
uorkers

5, 606, 043 '
7, 837, 776
7, 066, 900
iq^ 752, 116
11, 478, 000

29. 7
36. 6
37. 7
22. 0
35. 9

Census of England and Wales, 1931, Industry Table-'. I). 1.
Statistiquc Gcnerale de L a Franco Annuaire StatistKiuc, Cmquantieme volume, 1934, pp. 10,12.
" Internation-il Labour Review, February 1935, p 232. _
, .
,
^
32 U S Bureau of the Census.. Fifteenth Census, 1930* Population, vol I V , Occupations, p. C.
33 There were 10,&i5,740 of 16 years and over, or 21 9 percent of all workers of thebe ages.
i* Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, vol. 11, p. 432, Occupation, Statistics

The characteristic shifts i n the United States, the marked decline
i n agriculture and the marked increase i n clerical, professional, and
trade occupations, are illustrated from the percent distribution of
women i n the various main occupational groups in 1880, 1910, and
1930, as follows:
Percent distribution of women in—
1880

Agriculture and allied industries
Manufacturing and mechanical industries
Trade, transportation, and communication
Clerical occupations
Professional service
Domestic and personal service
Public service (not elsewhere classified)

19t0

22. 5
23. 8
2. 1
.3
6. 7
44. 4
.2

22. 4
22. 5
7. 3
7.3
9. 1
31. 3
.1

19S0

8. 5
^s 17. 5
11. 6
18.5
14. 2
29. 6
.2

3s This represents a decline chiefly in the earlier manual skilled work, such as that of talloresses and dressmakers and seamstresses. I f the figure bo taken on factory occupations alone, the proportion in 1930 is
greater than i n these earlier years. Also see summary immediately following.

This picture of occupational shifts is rounded out by consideration
of the marked increases i n woman employment i n the five major
groups i n which they are found. From 1910 to 1930, their numbers
more than doubled i n the clerical, professional, and trade groups,
increased by one-fourth i n domestic and personal service, and by
two-fifths as factory operatives, though declining heavily i n the chief
hand trades, as shown i n the following:
Percent increase in
number cfit omen em.ployed,
mOtolQSO

A l l occupations
Domestic and personal service
Clerical occupations
Manufacturing and mechanical industries
Chief hand trades
Factory operatives
Trade
Professional service

,
:

33. 1
25. 7
237. 5
3. G
3 05, 3
6
39. 7
103. 7
107.7

I n this c^se a decrease, as group comprises dressmakers and seamstresses not in factories, and milliners
and miilmery dealers.

I t is true that, due to a variety of causes, this country, like others,
recently has passed through the greatest economic depression ever
known. However, an advanced state of recovery now is evident,




T K E M )

IN

TIIK

OCCUPATIONS

OF

WOMEN

JQ

and certain outstanding economists and others, not without definite
evidence as to trends supporting their belief, are predicting confidently
that a short span of years w i l l see a very considerable increase i n
employment, and indeed under some conditions a shortage of labor
in this country.
This points to increased employment of women, especially since
any employment shortage tends to draw more women into gainful
work. Moreover, certain of the occupations counted on to help
produce this situation are those i n which a large proportion of the
present employees arc women, such for example as educational and
recreational work, or salesmanship and promotion.
The effective occupational placement of women and the situations
under wliich they may be enabled to work w i t h satisfaction to themselves and their jobs must be given a definite and growing consideration i n the economic management of this country.
The adjustment of youth to the occupational aspects of the times
is likely to require ready adaptation to the routines of frequently
changing machines; the inventiveness and the ingenuity to develop
possible new types of work; or the ability to give superior and varying
kinds of personal ser^-ice. I n education, these tendencies mean, on
the one hand, the intensification of teclmical training, and on the
other, training i n adaptability to a series of divergent but closely
allied occupational possibilities.
RELATION OF EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN TO THAT OF MEN

I n discussing the great increases in women's employment, i t also is
of importance to note their changes in certain occupation groups in
relation to employment of men.
Though woman employment had increased by about one-third
since 1910, and also had increased somewhat more than men's employment, the number of men in gainful occupations i n 1930 was Sji times
the number of women. Naturally, the distribution i n the main occupational groups differs considerably for the two sexes. The chief ones
for men, i n order of their importance, are manufacturing, agriculture,
and trade, wliich together employ seven-tenths of the men; for women
they are domestic and personal servdce, clerical occupations, manufacturing, and professional work, which together employ eight-tenths
of the women.^^
I n their five major occupation groups, women outnumber men only
in domestic and personal service, though thoy almost equal men i n
clerical work and are not far beliind them i n professional service, the
last mentioned being due i n a large measure to the number of women
who are teachers. I n the manufacturing and mechanical group and
in trade there are more than 5 men to every woman.
" See also p. 49, in secUon on Compensation.
" Exclusive of the b u i l d i n g i n d u s t r y , which consists almost w h o l l y of men's occupations, b u t s i i l l including the large woman-employing groups dressmakers and seamstresses and m i l l i n e r y and m i l l i n e r y dealerb.




20

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

Since 1910, women have lost out somewhat to men i n domestic and
personal service and very considerably to men i n the manufacturing
and mechanical group as a whole (but only slightly among factory
operatives) and there are now more men per 100 women i n these types
of w o r k t h a n was the case i n 1910. O n the other hand, women have
gained i n relation to men i n professional service (but more especially
i n semiprofessional work and as attendants and helpers), and very
considerably i n trade and i n clerical occupations. The figures upon
which the foregoing discussion is based are as follows:
Men per 100 women in—

7m
A l l occupations
Domestic and personal service
Clerical occupations
Manufacturing and mechanical industries
Factory operatives
Factory laborers
Trade
Professional service
Professional persons (not including attendants and helpers,
semiprofessional and recreational pursuits)

Im

373
48
192
485
162
2, 404
669
133

354
56
103
648
167
1, 740
532
113

128

104

Exclusive of the buildmg trades, these figures are 382 and 516.

SHIFTING OCCUPATIONS W I T H I N EACH M A I N GROUP

T h e general shifting i n women's occupations and their proportionate
distribution \vithin the major occupational groups have been indicated.
W i t h i n each of these groups, however, there have been significant
changes i n the types of occupations performed.
Domestic a n d Personal Service.
T h e division of occupations i n which the largest numbers of women
are found has been t h a t of domestic and personal service, which
employed more t h a n 3 m i l l i o n women i n 1930. Some of the work
followed i n this group has been i n line vnth. the age-old employments
of women—those of household service. For example, i t is reported
t h a t i n the days of Charles I I the gentlemen of the Court " t h o u g h t
t h a t w^omen were educated enough if they could spell out the recipes
of pies and puddings, the manufacture of which nature had entrusted
to their tender mercies."
O n the other hand, new service industries have arisen, some of which
have been almost of mushroom growth, such as the occupations i n
beauty shops. The greater m o b i l i t y of m o d e m society, as well as the
shifts i n household economy arising f r o m the ramifications of the
factory and business systems of today, have accelerated the growth
of the hotel and restaurant industries.
T h e coverage i n certain of the census classifications i n domestic
and personal service varies somewhat i n different years, and clear
comparisons cannot be made i n all cases. However, by 1930 there
" Annals of American Academy of Political and Social Science^ November 1914, p. 38.
of Women and Sex Equality. B y Gertrude S. Martin, Cornell University.




T h e Education

T R E N D I N T H E OCCUPATIONS OF WOIMEN

J

5

had been a 25-percent increase i n the entire group over the figure
for 1910, and still greater increases over earlier dates. M o s t of the
chief occupations i n the group also show increases, and these are
especially great i n those lines of work that reflect the major economic
trends of the period. For example, while a marked falling off occurred i n one large group representing a hand occupation pursued
along older lines, t h a t of laundresses not i n laundry, which declined
from 1910 to 1930 b y nearly one-third, i n the same period the number
of operatives i n laundry establishments more than doubled. Other
increases i n major occupation groups were as follows:
PtTceTit increase in
number of women employed, 1910 to mo

Domestic and personal service
Cooks a n d other servants
Waitresses
Housekeepers and stewardesses
Hotel, restaurant, and boarding-house keepers
Midwives and nurses (not trained)
Barbers, hairdressers, and manicurists

26. 7
34. 1
170. 4
36. 4
10. 4
22. 2
407. 6

Though there stiU are many more women than men i n the domestic
and personal service groups, women lost out somewhat as compared
to men i n the period f r o m 1910 to 1930. I n this time men had a
slight gain as cooks and other servants, including, of course, those i n
hotels and restaurants as well as those i n homes, and a considerable
gain as proprietors of hotels, restaurants, and boarding houses. On
the other hand, women's employment grew more rapidly than men's
as operatives i n laundries and very much more rapidly as waiters and
as beauty shop operators. The relation of the two sexes i n these
occupations was as follows:
Men per 100 Komen in—
1910

Domestic and personal service
Cooks and other servants
Waiters and waitresses
L a u n d r y operatives
Hotel, restaurant, and boarding-house keepers
Barbers, hairdressers, and manicurists

mo

48
24
119
40
74
776

56
26
70
30
99
231

Clerical Occupations.
The occupational group second i n importance i n woman employment is the clerical, i n wluch nearly 2 million women were at work
in 1930. T h i s number is almost 2K times t h a t of the women i n the
clothing and textile industries combined, the largest and the more
traditional manufacturing employers of women.
The phenomenal growth i n the nimiber of women i n clerical occupations, w h i c h increased by 16 times between 1890 and 1930 (by 40
percent between 1920 and 1930), illustrates perhaps more v i v i d l y t h a n
any other the two major forces influencing women's employment t h a t
already have been referred to—the industrialization and commercialiI n the other two major women's occupations in this main classification, housekeepers and midwives
and nurses (not trained), relatively few men are found.




22

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

zation of our economic society, w i t h i t s many added requirements
for clerical w o r k , and the changed attitude toward the education of
women w i t h its opening t o them of increased educational opportunities. T h e g r o w t h during recent decades i n the nimibers of women i n
the chief clerical groups as they are reported i n the census has been
as follows:
Percevi tncreaie i n
number of women employed, 1910 to 19S0

Clerical occupations
Stenographers and typists
Office clerks
Bookkeepers and cashiers

237.
194.
476.
153.

5
4
0
7

Today clerical work naturally is thought of as one of the primary
occupations of women, and indeed this is the one group i n w h i c h the
ntmibers of men and women are most nearly equal. Furthermore,
though i n b o t h factory and domestic and personal service employment
women have lost ground i n comparison with men, i n the clerical groups
women have gained considerably.
Women have done most of the typing and stenographic w o r k since
this k i n d of employment came to the fore, and i n 1930 there were 20
women to every m a n so employed. Of late years women also have
definitely outstripped men as bookkeepers and cashiers. M e n stUl
retain the edge on women as general office clerks, b u t their position
here has declined greatly; though i n 1910 there were nearly five men
to one woman i n this occupation, b y 1930 there were less t h a n two
men to every woman. T h e following shows the relative position of
the two sexes i n the chief clerical occupations:
Men -per 100 women in—
mo

Clerical occupations
Stenographers and typists
Office clerks
Office-appliance operators
Bookkeepers and cashiers

192
20
487
N o t reported
144

1930

103
5
183
16
59

T h e tendency i n offices, as i n manufacturing plants, has been to
spUt up the w o r k more and more into minute processes w i t h the great
increase i n mechanical devices. Machines for adding, computing,
tabulating; for bookkeeping and billing; for addressing, dupHcating,
and a host of other tasks, are i n wide use.
Office-appUance operators were reported separately for the first
time by the census of 1930, and the figures show t h a t women vastly
predominated at w o r k on office machines, there being more t h a n six
women to every m a n so employed.
M a n u f a c t u r i n g a n d M e c h a n i c a l Industries.
The general group for which this title is used ranks t h i r d i n the
gainful employment of women. I t includes, besides factory operations,
the building trades and the sewing and other hand crafts. I n 1930 i t



T R E N D I N T H E OCCUPATIONS OF WOIMEN

J

5

engaged something under 2 mfllion women. WMle as a wnole the
group of women declined slightly i n recent years, analysis shows that
this decrease was i n the hand trades rather than i n factory operations.
The total includes three large groups i n nonfactory employments
ordinarily performed i n homes or small shops, and woman employment
in these decreased between 1910 and 1930 i n the following proportions:
Percent decrease in number of
women employed
mo to 1930

Dressmakers and seamstresses (not i n factory)
Milliners and millinery dealers
Tailoresses

64. 7
67. 2
46.6

1920 to mo

32. 9
42. 4
31.5

On the other hand, there was a great increase through the same
period i n women i n factory employment, especially as operatives,
since women i n such occupations very greatly outnumber the women
factory laborers. The following shows the increases:
Percent increase in number of
women employed
1910 to 1930

Factory operatives and laborers
Operatives
Laborers

40. 8
39.7
56. 6

19m to 1930

5. 0
8.6
« 26. 1

« I n this case a decrease.

From 1910 to 1930 the numbers of women employed as semiskilled
operatives increased i n most textile industries, i n some to a considerable extent, and i n the clothing, food, shoe, electrical machinery,
chemical, rubber, and certain metal industries. Comparison of 1930
census figures w i t h those as far back as 1880 shows a great increase i n
number of women factory employees i n each industry where comparison is possible.
I f the relative employment of women and men i n manufacturing and
mechanical industries be compared, women's position is seen to have
declined very definitely i n the past two decades, a situation exactly
opposite to t h a t i n clerical occupations, where women have increased
in relation to men. While i n 1910 there were less than 5 men to every
woman i n manufacturing and mechanical industries, i n 1930 there
were more than 6 men to every woman, the numbers of men per 100
women i n the manufacturing and mechanical industries being as
follows:
1910.

486

19201930...

•

565
648

I n actual numbers women have exceeded men as operatives in
textile and clothing manufacture, and i n 1920 and 1930 i n the cigar
and tobacco industry. M e n have gained ground somewhat i n the
textile, electrical machinery, chemical, paper, and rubber industries,
and women have done so i n the clothing, shoe, food, tobacco, and
150483'»—37

3




24

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

certain metal industries. A comparison of the numbers of men and
women factory operatives i n these industries follows:
Men

per

100

IEOTJUTI

in—

Im

79
124
191
107
203

Clothing industries
Shoe factories
Food and allied industries
Cigar and tobacco factories
I r o n and steel, machinery, and vehicle industries
Metal industries (except iron and steel)

89
159
307
161
280

63
205
256
111
1, 467
235

Textile industries
Electrical machinery and supply factories
Chemical and alliecf industries
Paper, printing, and allied industries
Rubber factories

1930

'

41
167
153
53
972
198

Occupations i n Trade.
The great increase i n numbers of women employed i n the selling
trades, i n which they have more than doubled i n the past 20 years,
reflects the growth i n the distribution incident to mass manufacture
combined w i t h a highly organized system of money and credit. Moreover, added types and methods of selling have developed, and the
number of women has increased i n such work as t h a t of real-estate
and insurance agents very much more rapidly t h a n i n store selling.
Almost any c i t y homemaker could testify as to the frequency of doorto-door selling. The trade occupations engaged something under a
million women i n 1930. T h e increases i n recent decades i n the chief
woman-employing groups i n trade are as follows:
' •• '

Trade
Saleswomen and store clerks
Retail dealers
Real-estate agents and officials
Insurance agents
7----

PtTctnt incTfase in
• number of women em>
ployed, 1910 to 19$0 '

103.7
94. 9
64. 2
986. 0
• . 410. 6

-

I n general,, trade has been more of a man^s t h a n a woman's pursuit.
Nevertheless, i n recent years women have gained over m e n i n this
occupation group and i n its separate branches under consideration.
T h o u g h even now there are more t h a n 5 men t o every woman so
employed, i n 1880 there were 19 men to every woman. This g r o w t h i n
proportion of women is especially marked i n the case of real-estate
agents a n d officials and of insurance agents, while the change i n the
relative position of the two sexes as store salespersons has been
comparatively slight. The relative place of women and m e n i n the
chief woman-employing groups i n trade is as follows:
.

,

'

Men per 100 women in—
Im

'

Trade
Salespersons and store clerks
Retail dealers
Real-estate agents and officials
Insurance agents




1

669
249
681
4,200
3, 387

Im

' 632
239
1, 446
655'
1, 884

T R E N D IN T H E OCCUPATIONS OF WOIMEN

J

5

Professional Occupations.
I n the professional occupations as i n the clerical, women and men
approach equal numbers, though i t is i n the groups of helpers and i n
semiprofessional work t h a t women find their major activities outside
teaching and nursing. The change f r o m 1920 to 1930 was practically
the same for the two sexes. A v i v i d illustration of the effects of
extending fxiUer education to women is shown i n the marked contrast
between the two white-collar groups, professional and clerical, and,
for example, manufacturing and mechanical industries, where there
are more t h a n six men for every woman. F r o m 1910 to 1930 woman
employment i n the professional group increased i n actual numbers
more than i n any other major group but clerical, though trade is a
close t h i r d and, like professional, more than doubled i n the 20 years.
More than VA million women were i n professional service occupations
in 1930. Their increase over 1910 and their relation to the men so
employed were as follows:
Percera increase in number ofwoTnen employed,
i9wtoi9so

Professional service
Professional persons (not including attendants
and helpers, semiprofessional and recreational pursuits)..^

Men -per 100 women ir—
1910

mo

107.7

133

113

100,7

128

104

A closer scrutiny shows t h a t the increase is very largely i n women's
traditional fields of teaching and nursing and t h a t about one-tenth of
the growth is i n the number of women attendants and helpers or i n
semiprofessional work.
I t is especially i n semiprofessional work and i n positions as
attendants and helpers t h a t women's increase since 1910 has far
outstripped men's, though i n some of the more advanced professions, where men much more greatly outnumber women, for
example, i n the legal and w r i t i n g professions, women have gained
relatively. I n at least one of great importance—that of physicians and surgeons—woman employment has dropped off practically a f o u r t h since 1910.
Considering the 16 major professional occupations (those i n which
as many as 50,000 persons were reported i n 1930) women form b u t
very small proportions of the dentists, draftsmen, lawyers and judges,
and clergymen. Since practically no women are engineers these
groups ^vill n o t be considered separately. M e n f o r m negligible proportions of the trained nurses and school teachers, and the number of
women nurses more t h a n trebled after 1910.
Women remained very nearly stationary or lost out i n relation to
men i n six of these major professional occupations, though i n one of
them women outnumbered men and the actual numbers of women




26

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

' increased. As school teachers there were more than four women to
every man, and the number of women increased by nearly four-fifths
i n the 20 years. The figures shomng changes i n these occupations
are as follows:
PtTcent ofincrtase
( + ) or decrease (—)
in number of women Men per 100 women inemployed, 1910 to
mo
mo
mo

Schoolteachers
Actors and showmen
Artists, sculptors, teachers of a r t
Musicians, teachers of music
Physicians and surgeons
Dentists

+79.1
+58.7
+40.3
—5.8
—24. 3
+2.6

25
269
121
65
1, 576
3,090

22
262
165
107
2, 154
5,421

I n 2 of the 16 major professional occupations women not only outnumbered men and advanced i n numbers i n the 20 years, b u t they
gained i n comparison w i t h men, as follows:
Percent increase in
number of women
employed, 1910 to
19S0

1910

mo

401. 1
277.4

80
8

40
2

Social, welfare, religious workers
Trained nurses

Men per 100
women in—

« T w o groups combined, since separate figures for social workers not reported in 1910.

I n the remaining five of the major professional occupations (excluding the engineering occupations, t h a t employ practically no
women) women advanced markedly after 1910, b o t h i n numbers and i n favorable position i n comparison w i t h men, though
i n all of them men still greatly outnumber women. The legal
group, for example, had 46 men for every woman i n 1930. The
figures are as follows:
Percent increase in
number of women
employed, 1910 to
mo

Lawyers, judges, and justices
Draftsmen
Editors and reporters
College presidents and professors
Clergymen

506.6
274.2
185.2
580,6
378.2

Men per 100 women
1910

20,456
8,420
722
430
17,128

in-

1950

4,645
5,363
335
208
4,444

A g r i c u l t u r a l Occupations.
A g r i c u l t u r a l occupations engage fewer than 1 i n 10 (8.5 percent) of
the women i n gainful employment, and less than a m i l l i o n women
were i n agricultural and allied work i n 1930. I n line w i t h the general
economic trends, their number declined markedly ia the 20 years,
being cut practically i n h a l f ; however, there was only a very small
decrease i n f a r m owners and tenants, who formed about 15 percent
of t h e women i n agriculture i n 1910.
Seven-tenths of the women i n this type of gainful work i n 1930
were f a r m laborers, though there were nearly six men to every woman
so employed.




TREND I N T H E OCCUPATIONS OF WOIMEN

J

5

Women i n agricultural work not only have declined i n number in
recent years, but they have lost out in relation to the employment
of men, so t h a t while i n 1910 there were only about 6 men to every
woman i n such work, i n 1930 there were more than 10 men to every
woman so engaged. The figures are as follows:
Percent decrease in
number of women
1910 to mo

Agriculture, forestry, and
Farmers (owners and tenants)
Farm managers and foremen
Farm laborers

fishing

49. 6
3. 8
87.6
57.6

Men per 100 women
in—
1910

599
2, 145
' 547
307

mo

1
2
6
'

078
189
880
580

NOTE.—It was hoped to include at this point information as to
women i n the public service, but i t has not been possible to prepare
such a section at this time.
WOMEN AS HOMEMAKERS

• Up to the present point this section has dealt w i t h women who are
in gainful employment—22 percent of all those i n the countiy 10 years
of age or older.
Of the more than three-fourths of the woman popxdation remaining,
many are less than 16 years old, many others are sisters and
daughters living at home and not wholly responsible for the housekeeping, b u t the great majority are homemakers. The numbers are
as follows:
Gamfully occupied:
AU (10 years and over)
1
Homemakers (16 years and over) ^^
A t home
Away from home
Not in gainful employment:
A l l (10 years and over)
Aged 10 to 15 years
Aged 16 years and over (other than homemakers)
Homemakers (16 years and over)

Number of women

(m millions)
10. 75
3. 92
.76
3. 15
38. 02
6. 87
6. 67
24. 48

" For analysis of the situation of almost 3 H million homemakers who are in gainful occupations besides
their home duties (exclusive of l-person f a m i l i e s ^ f which there were 570,757—and excludmg races other
than the native and forpign-born white and Negro), sec Women's Bureau Bui. 148, The Employed Woman
Homemaker in the United States

These homemakers are to a large extent married women, but many
of them are single daughters keeping house for fathers, sisters maintaining homes for brothers, or i n other similar relationships to their
families. M a n y of these homemakers (whether married or single) also
help i n the family support through wage earning outside the home,
as the foregoing data show. Moreover, i n the case of 2)2 million
families i n the United States consisting of two persons or more, a
woman was the head of the family and i n almost 1 million of these
families she was a gainfully-employed homemaker as well; 58 percent
of these 2K milUon families had at least one child under 21 years of age
(data for younger children not available) and 18 percent had three
children.




28

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OP T H E U N I T E D STATES

I m p o r t a n c e o£ the H o m e m a k e r i n the Economic Structure.
A considerable body of facts exists on the economic status of women
at work i n the various occupations paying a money wage; b u t on the
measurement of woman's economic status as a house^vife l i t t l e is
available. The years of the depression have revealed a new appreciation of the economic importance of the housewife's services—of how
large a share of the family Hving she produces. A distressing situation
for multitudes of families could have developed i f the general industrial
collapse h a d involved certain home occupations n o t yet wholly bound
over to commercial enterprise.^^
T h e contribution of the homemaker is great, whether measured by
the time she labors, the money value of the actual work she accomplishes, or the cost of those things t h a t would have to be bought
b y the f a m i l y if she d i d n o t produce or preserve them.
One economist has stated t h a t ''the value added to goods b y family
activity, i f i t could be set down as a pecuniary sum, would make the
railroad or the banking industry small by comparison." ^^
The economic position of the housewife is rather an anomaly: Her
services never come on the market and she is outside the price system,
yet her contribution as a producer i n the home holds a compelling
position i n the economic life of any community. M o r e than this,
she is found exerting an influence measured i n many lines of manufactured commodities, while her efficiency as a homemaker definitely
affects the productive capacity of those members of the f a m i l y at
work outside the home. Further, the standards she maintains i n
her work, or wishes to attain, have an i m p o r t a n t bearing on a wide
range of commercial products, for as a purchaser of foods and household goods she wields tremendous economic power.
H o m e m a k e r Not Assisted by P a i d H e l p i n Most FamiliesThe extent of the homemaker*s contribution is more f u l l y understood when i t is realized t h a t i n 1929, usually cited as the peak year of
prosperity, only 5 percent of the families i n the United States had paid
help.^^ I n the great m a j o r i t y of the remaining 95 percent the housewife herself constituted the entire working force. The multitudinous
jobs taken on b y her as a part of the home-keeping duties may be
performed poorly, indifferently, or well, b u t the data t h a t exist on
the distribution of time spent by f a r m women," or city women,
" A study made in 1934 of 61 citi(« an<l oovcring 30(1000 families shows that family incomc had decreased
one-third from 1929 to 1933. See U. S Department of Commerce. Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, release of June 25, 1935.
The avcragtJ money mcomo of 144 families living on owner-oporatod farms in 1 county in Michigan decreased from $1,3,53 m 1929 to $6ft4 in 1932. The study showed that while there was little change in the total
amount of food used, m 1932 there was much less purchased and more produced. See Changes in Standards
of Consumption Dunng a Depression. B y Inna H . Gross and Julia Pond. Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station. Special Bui. 274. July 1936. Abstract m Journal of Home Economics, December 1936,
p. 705.
Hamilton, Walton H . Economic Organization. In Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, vol. 11, p. 487.
Hildegarde, Is the Modem Housewife a Lady of Leisure? In Survey-Graphic, June 1,
1929, p. 301.




T R E N D I N T H E OCCUPATIONS OF WOIMEN

J

5

college graduate or w i t h education ''otherwise", during our most
prosperous years, show a surprising uniformity i n time expenditure,
and we find t h a t the overworked housewife has by no means passed
into history.
Use of Newest Household E q u i p m e n t Limited.
Despite the development of new types of household equipment, and
of various labor-saving devices for home use, the great majority of
families i n this coimtry have been able to buy such aids to only a
Umited extent or n o t at all. According to census estimates, the
average f a m i l y is composed of about four persons. I n a large m a j o r i t y
of cases, the f a m i l y income just covers the traditional type of consumption goods, leaving no suiplus for the large investment new
household machinery entails. Such home helps are relatively expensive, and i n 1929, for example, over 19 million families i n this country—
nearly three-fourths of the total—had yearly incomes of less than
$2,500, and for over 16 million famihes the income was less than
$2,000 a year.^
The housewives i n these 19 m i l l i o n families of less than $2,500 income must take their kitchens as they find them. I t is only i n the
newly b u i l t home, and for women whose husbands can afford to buy
in these stiU uncertain times, t h a t the architect has endeavored to
produce a kitchen plan economical for the housewife's use.^® I n a
study i n Illinois where kitchen clinics were set up to show how improvements could be made simply, 137 records were analyzed, and the
median age of the kitchens was 35 years; 12 percent were i n houses
built 70 or more years ago, and only 10 percent were less than 10 years
T i m e Spent i n Household Duties.
W i t h the tendency today to decrease the hours i n industiy to a 40hour week basis, i t may surprise the reader to find how long the housewife's day stiU is. Tlie data cited show household hours averaging
at least 50 a week, 73 i n farm homes where there are babies. I f the
picture of home duties i n our grandmothers' time looms larger than
that covering the duties of housewives today, i t must not be forgotten
that the number of household workers per home has fallen off also. I n
earlier times the maiden aunts and spinster sisters who lent a hand i n
Aloulton, Harold O . Income and Economic Progress. 1935. p. 37. See also Ezekiel, Mordecai.
$2,500 a Year; From Scarcity to Abundance. 1936.
** For time-saver standards in kitchens and bathrooms, see American Architecture, September 1935, pp.
89-95. Abstract in Journal of Home Economics, January 1936, p. 53.
Ward, Gladys J. Kitchen Clinics. In Journal of Home Economics, September 1936, p. 445.
•I Unless otherwise stated data on this subject are from a survey made by the Bureau of Home Economics
of the U . 8. Department of Agriculture. See the following articles by Hildcgarde Kneeland of the Bureau
of Home Economics: Is the M o d e m Housewife a Lady of Leisure? In Survey-Graphic, Juno 1,1929, p. 301;
AboUshing the Inefficient Kitchen. In Journal of Home Economics, July 1929, p. 475; Horaemaking in this
Modem Age. In Journal of American Association of University Women, January 1934, p. 75. See also
mimeographed copy of talk: T h e Share of Family Members in Work and Leisure, given before the Farm
Living Section of the Agricultural Outlook Conference, Washington, D . 0 . , Oct. 31,1934. (Figures supplied
by D r . Kneeland and AIiss R u t h Moore of Bureau of Home Economics.)




30

WOMEN I N T H E KCONOMY OP T H E U N I T E D STATES

various family duties were more numerous than in these days when
such relatives are likely to bo engaged i n outside gainful work.
Most of the housewife's time still is consumed i n routine housework,
the three meals a day, daily care of house, laundering, and mending.
Generally speaking, vacations and holidays are unknown, for her job
goes on 7 days i n the week, all the year round. The variation i n the
amount of work from day to day, the emergency needs of the family
w i t h small children, the unstandardized character of her tasks in
their varied assortment, make the primary problem still one of fitting
the day's hours into a reasonable schedule, not of decreasing them
much.
Some years ago the United States Bureau of Home Economics, with
the help of the extension and research staffs of several colleges, anallyzed the schedules of more than 2,000 homemakers who kept daily
records of how they spent their time for several days of a typical week.
The homemakers came from farms and villages, and i n smaller number from towns and cities. Only one-sixth spent as l i t t l e as 42 hours
a week i n homemaking; five-sixths of them spent over 42 hours a week,
more than one-half spent over 48 hours, and one-third spent over 56
hours. The average for all was slightly over 51 hours a week.
Even i n the city households, more than half of this time was spent
i n the Idtchen, meals alone taking over 21 hours a week; the time was
longer i n farm homes. Washing, ironing, and cleaning took up the
rest of the time spent i n the kitchen.
The city homemakers showed a surprising record; women i n cities
of under 50,000 population spent an average of 51 hours a week in
homemaking. I n the larger cities of 50,000 and over the average was
a little above 48 hours a week, and only 10 percent of the women spent
less than 35 hours a week i n their homemaking.
The average time spent i n all work by the 950 farm women, including care of poultry and milk and gardening, was over 62 hours a week.
These records came from a group fairly typical of the f a r m and village
housewife, at least i n the middle-class home, and the pattern of time
expenditure is seen to be surprisingly uniform for the different sections
of the country. Similar studies for 5 States show average working
hours of farm women a l i t t l e more than 60 hours a week.®^
The number of persons i n the average city household reported was
4.1 as against 4.4 i n the average farm home. For routine tasks other
than meal preparation the figures of farm and city homemakers are
almost identical—7K hours a week on cleaning, 5K for laundering, IH
for mending, and 4% for sewing. The city homemaker spent a few
hours more during the week i n care of children and purchasing, and
a few hours less in cooking and dishwashing, than did the farm
woman.
" Studies similar to that of the Bureau of Home Economics, made under Pumell funds by several States
in cooperation with said Bureau.




T R K N I ) I N T H E OCCUPATIONS OF WOMEN

31

A later analysis of these records of the Bureau of Home Economics
gives the following data:
Average time spent per day in—
Number of
homes
scheduled

Farm (25 States)
Rural-nonfarm (22 States) __
Urban (43 States and District of Columbia) _ _

Average
size of
household

Ilomemaking
alone
Mtns.

lira.

Farm and other
work
IITS.
Mins

559
249

4.3
4.0

7
7

23
21

1
0

22
39

692

4.0

G

52

0

18

"Where there were very young children i n the family the total
working time-for farm households was almost 66 hours and where
there was a baby under 1 year i t was more than 73 hours. I n households consisting only of the homemaker and her husband the average
working time was less than 56 hours. The amount of time these
farm homemakers gave to care of the family ranged from 21 hours a
week i n homes where there was a child imder 1 year to a little less than
I j i hours a week i n homes where the children were from 10 to 14
years old.
The records from some 700 urban homemakers (those living i n
towns of 2,500 and more population) throughout the country, came
from graduates of the eastern women's colleges. The women i n this
group who had children undfer 15 years of age averaged no less than
52 hours a week i n homemaking activities, 13 hours being given to the
care of cliildren. Four-fifths of them employed some paid service in
the home, amounting on the average to 30 hours a week. I n spite of
this assistance, for which 5 hours a week were spent i n planning,
purchasing, and other management jobs, the tasks of preparing meals
and dishwashing, of cleaning, laundering, and mending, took up the
major part of the working week. These households probably fall
within the social group known as "relatively well-to-do", and w i t h
the modern equipment and other conveniences belonging to kitchens
in such homes, i t appears that the homemaker is stUl predominantly a
housewife.
The hours reported as devoted to the children do not include any
time spent i n walking w i t h them, driving, or other recreation—"airing
the baby"—which was considered part of the homemaker's leisure
time when the tabulation of the records was prepared.
For the household including only the homemaker and her husband,
the duties of these college women averaged 36 hours a week, so even
here housekeeping hardly can be called a leisure-time job.
Another compilation shows time expenditure on an enumerated
list of household duties by farm women ^ i n four States w i t h large rural
populations.®^ While no information is readily available as to comparability in-size of households, as to paid help, nor as to extent of
modern equipment i n the kitchen, i t is probable that each group is
" Normal women only taken, no aged nor very poor.
^
,
v iw
f o* +
1
" Journal of Homo Economics, January 1936, p. 38 fl. Data used are from hulletms of State agricultural
experiment stations and unpublished material.




32

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATICS

representative of the home demands on the time of very large
numbers of housewives i n this country, and indicates the tremendous
contribution they make to the Nation's economy.
OrcQon

South
Dakota

Montana

New
York

Number of f a r m families in State ^^
Number of women reporting i n survey

57, 754
288

83, 628
100

Total of house and farm work
Housework alone
jVieals—Preparing
Clearing away
General care of house
Care of fires, water
Laundering—Washing
Ironing
Care of clothing—Sewing
Mending
Care of family
Management
F a r m work—garden, fields, poultry,
stock, dairy

60. 26
49. 77
16. 95
7.50
7. 55
1. 05
3. 60
2.00
3. 01
2. 64
3.82
1. 65

63. 88
52. 99
17. 05
8.85
8. 60
1. 87
3. 41
2.53
3. 57
L 72
3.72
1. 67

62. 70
53. 53
17. 00
8.42
7. 85
1. 25
3. 42
2.01
4. 25
2. 75
4.58
2. 00

58. 70
51. 88
17. 35
8.50
8. 25
2. 28
3. 17
2.18
3. 63
2. 52
2.43
1. 57

10.49

10.89

9.17

6.82

49, 152 176, 440
92
139

Hours per week

" U . S. Bureau of the Census.

live-

Fifteenth Census. 1930: Population, vol. V I , table V I .

T h e Housewife's M a j o r Piece of W o r k .
W i t h the exception of the care of very young children, the major
a c t i v i t y i n the housewife's daily schedule is the preparation of meals.
This consumes about one-third of all the time given t o household
duties. I t has to be done every day i n the week, and for 52 weeks i n
the year,
A study of 538 records of households i n Oregon ^—310 f r o m f a r m ,
72 f r o m country b u t not on farms, 156 f r o m villages, towns, and
cities—shows t h a t one-fourth of all the time given to the needs of the
home was spent i n preparing meals. The average time spent on
this was the equivalent of one-third of the f u l l time of one person in
each household; i n this study the households averaged between four
and five persons i n size.
A separate study of the task of clearing the table, washing dishes
(not even including pots and pans), drying them b y towel, and p u t t i n g
them i n the cupboard, for a f a m i l y of four, showed t h a t the time
required per day for this, when done three times daily and according
to "present practice", was 38 minutes and 8 seconds a day.®^
For over 15 years a homemaker who is the wife of a well-known
economist has kept a scientific record showing w h a t i t costs to produce things for her f a m i l y i n her kitchen, which has all modern
equipment.^ She has proved to her satisfaction t h a t the average
woman who prepares meals, cans, preserves, bakes, and launders at
home, for her own family, produces substantially the equal value of
the man's economic contribution i n industry. Records covering the
Sfi Journal of Home Economics, January 1932, p. 10 f!.
" I b i d . , M a y 1930, p. 393 fi.
T h e New Woman Goes Home. In Scribner's, Feb. 1, 1937, p. 52.
W h a t Should the Home Contribute^ In Journal of Home Economies. June 1936, p. 365.




See aUo

T R E N D I N T H E OCCUPATIONS OF WOMEN -

33

cost of raw materials, supplies, fuel, ''overhead'', and labor indicate
that the housewife can earn the equivalent of from $5 to $20 a week,
year i n and year out, depending on the number of jobs taken back
into the household from industry, the size of the family, and the family
standard of living. Her records show for the purchase of food from
the store i n one month of 1936, compared with the cost of homecooking such articles i n the next month, that the follo^ving sayings
could be made:
Market price
Home cost
Earning if cooked at home

$21. 18
10.82
10. 36

The average amount of time spent i n the Idtchen for the month
when all the cooking and baking was done outside the home is compared to the average amount of time spent on similar work in the home
in the 5 months preceding:
Averagt for 1 month when
food was bought
Hours
Minutes

Monthly labor t i m e
Daily labor time

65
2

37
7

Aterage for previous
5 months
Minutes

Hours

82
2

40
40

A n earlier study of families i n northern Michigan analyzed a 30year record of a farn> woman's labor/® I n these 30 years, i t was
estimated, she prepared approximately 236,425 meals, for which
labor at 15 cents a meal (a very cheap estimate) would reach more
than $35,000. This would run to about $1,167 a year for meals, and
if this represented a third of her services the money value of her
work would r u n to over $3,500 a year. This is based on very reasonable estimates of labor values, some of them being as follows:
Labor value

For food preparation:
Loaves of bread
35, 400
Cakes
5,930
Pies
I
7,960
Bushels of vegetables prepared
1,525
Jars of f r u i t canned
3, 625
For other home services:
Garments made
3, 190
Pieces of laundry washed
177,525
Hours of sweeping, dusting, cleaning. _ _ 35, 640

SO. 05
.10
.05
.50
. 2o
.50
.03
.10

Total labor
value tn SO

$1, 770
593
398
762
906
^ ^^^
1, 595
5.331
3, 564

Still another estimate of the value of household work was made
several years ago by a small club of homemakers who kept records
and made studies of the duties they undertook, \vith the following
results: H o u r l y earnings of more than one-half the women were 50
cents, several between $2 and $2.50; the family wash was worth about
$2 an hour for two women, while two others earned only half as much
(different speeds of work were responsible for the contrast here, as all
" N^ewton, Julia.

Farm Credit Administration.




I n speech at Farm Bureau Social and Economic Con-

34

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

four used similar equipment and similar laundering methods). I n
making a cotton house dress, the homemaker found that her time was
worth only 30 cents an hour, for the ready-made equivalent would
have cost little more than the price of materials. I n a study of
canning fruit, by this same group, a saving of only a few cents an hour
appeared, due to the cost of supplies for the homemaker (who did not
raise the f r u i t herself).
The household and the duties of its manager cannot be separated
from the home and family for which i t exists. N o matter how careful
the plan made for time schedules, emergency needs come when least
expected, and personal tastes govern to a great degree the typo of
household management selected as best for t h a t particular family.
The flexibility of budget planning, child guidance, health measures, are
household techniques that cannot be entirely surrendered to an outside
agency. Though on a less extended scale, the homemaker*s problems
are as serious and responsible as those of the factory personnel manager. Her functions involve intangible factors not wholly measurable
i n economic terms; social usefulness, happy lives, and normal emotional ties give evidence of her skill i n managing house and family.




Chapter 2 . — U N E M P L O Y M E N T O F W O M E N
While even a t the peak of prosperity i n 1929 there were many persons
out of work, i t is a well-known fact t h a t i n manufacturing, for example,
from t h a t time on through 1930, 1931, and most of 1932 there was a
rapid increase i n xmemployment. Naturally the overcrowding of the
labor market resulted i n hardship for women as well as men. I n all
occupations, m a n y women lost jobs; large numbers could obtain employment only i n less remunerative types of work than those i n which
they formerly had been engaged; others bore heavy cuts i n pay for
the same w o r k they had done previously. Moreover, ^vith income
declines for families, many of whom already were existing at a comparatively low level, jobs were now sought by women who had not
been a t w o r k recently, often by those who had never before been i n
gainful employment.
While no doubt there were plants i n which the general financial
retrenchment caused the employment of women because, i n their increased need, employers found i n women a cheap labor supply, on
the other hand there was a marked tightening up i n the acceptance
of women's qualifications and a renewed focus on their position as
gainful workers. A n y qualifications of tV^omen t h a t had come under
scrutiny before were now examined w i t h redoubled attention. Especially d i d employed married women suffer a singling out for public
criticism and even loss of jobs.
Thus the various factors affecting women's employment situation
were much confused, operating at cross purposes and i n opposing
directions ^vith different effects i n different places, so t h a t a clear
delineation of cause and effect is almost impossible.
Moreover, such figures as existed on imemployment i n the entire
country were incomplete, i n many cases based on estimate, sometimes
far f r o m accurate and imavoidably so, and frequently not separately
reported b y sex.
EXTENT OF WOMEN'S UNEMPLOYMENT

F r o m Government figui^es and those of various special studies i n
many localities, i t was conservatively estimated t h a t at least 2 million
women were o u t of w o r k during the worst (though not necessarily at
the very lowest point) of the depression. These studies ordinarily
showed aroimd one-fifth of all the women normally employed to be
without jobs.^
The Government figures taken i n the midst of the depression t h a t
are most indicative of the situation are those for 19 of the largest cities
1 For fuUer information as to the figures available for 1928 to 1931 f ^ m Government ^ r c e s a ^
special surveys, see the analysis of them made in Women's Bureau Bui. 113, Employment Fluctuations
and Unemployment of Women. 1933.
- ^




So

36

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

i n the United States, representing well over a fifth of all employed
women i n the country.^ I n these cities 26.2 percent of the men and
18.9 percent of the women normally i n gainful work were unemployed
i n January 1931.
Other special surveys i n various localities showed similar proportions
of women out of jobs. I n 1934 i t was reported by the Federal Emergency Eehef Administration that women who normally were employed
formed about 30 percent of all persons on relief i n towns and cities
of over 2,500.
Though the total figures for these earher depression surveys usually
showed smaller proportions of women than of men out of work, yet
even at that time there were important woman-employing industries
i n which larger proportions of women than of men were the sufferers,
as, for example, electrical supply, woolen and worsted, and certain
food industries.
Moreover, practically one-tenth of the jobless women i n the country
i n 1930 were heads of families, and according to the definition used
b y the Bureau of the Census i n reporting this group this means that
these women had dependents for whose support they were responsible.®
I n October 1933 the Federal Emergency Relief Administration reported that 12 percent of the rehef households i n n j r a l districts were
headed by women.^
Later data are scattering, and the most comprehensive result from
counts made i n certain large industrial States. On the whole they
indicate that as reemployment progressed, though i n some cases i t still
was true that smaller proportions of the women than of the men
noimally at work were unemployed, there were industrial areas in
wliich women were the greater sufferers. This appears to be true, for
example, from figures for Pennsylvania, a State having many large
woman-employing industries, while i n Michigan, where the industries
are predominantly man-employing, men were relatively the greater
sufferers. The data available for three States are as follows: ®
Massachusetts

Percent women formed of t o t a l unemployed
Percent unemployed men formed of employable m e n .
Percent unemployed women formed of employable
women

Miehiffan

28.9
24.5
26. 4

20.0
15. 3
19.9

25.9
28.2
27.2

21. 1

14 5

30. 6

Ptnnsyltania

The United States Employment Service recently has analyzed its
figures as to persons newly applying to public employment offices for
work i n the 2 years ending June 30,1936. The new women applicants
J U . S. Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census, 1030: Unemployment, vol. I I , p. 366.
8 I b M . , vol. I , p. 14.
* Federal Emergency Relief Administration. Unemployment Relief Census. October 1933. p. 38.
« Basic data from: Massachusetts, Department of Laborond Industries. Report on the Census of Unemployment in Massachusetts as of Jan. 2,1934. Labor bul. 171, p. 11; Michigan. State Emergency Welfare
Commission. Census of Population and Unemployment. First Series. July 1936, p. 13; and Pennsylvania State Emergency Relief Administration. Census of Employable Workers i n Urban and Rural
Non-Farm Areas in Pennsylvania, 1934 (April). 1936. Table 6, p. 6, Those employed only temporarily
or on work relief are counted as unemployed.




UNEMPLOYMENT OF W O M E N

37

throughout the period reported numbered nearly 3 million and formed
27 percent of all applicants.® I t w i l l be remembered t h a t women f o r m
22 percent of all persons gainfully employed, according to the 1930
census, hence their proportion among the unemployed who sought
work through these agencies was greater than amon^ those i n gainful
work.
N o r m a l Occupations of Unemployed W o m e n .
While the women on the active files of public employment offices do
not represent a l l the unemployed, reports for July 1936 show t h a t they
formed practically 60 percent or more of the t o t a l unemployed as estimated b y the N a t i o n a l I n d u s t r i a l Conference Board and the American
Federation of Labor, and their occupational distribution would be
indicative of t h a t of all unemployed w o m e n / I n July 1936, half the
women seeking w o r k through the public agencies were service workers,
and two-thirds were seeking either clerical or service jobs. Of the
men, however, nearly four-fifths were productive workers, skilled
craftsmen, or laborers, the division among these three categories being
fairly equal.
A larger proportion of the women out of work than of those normally
employed were service workers, as the follo^ving shows:
NoTmallv employed,
19S0 census

Percent

Total
100.0
Domestic and personal service— 29. 6
Clerical occupations
18.5
Manufacturing a n d mechanical
industries
17. 5
Professional service
14. 2
Trade
Other (scattered)

9.0
1L 2

SeeHng employment,
July 1936

Percent

Total
100.0
Service workers
SO. 9
Clerical workers
15.5
Manufacturing and mechanical
workers «
10. 8
Professional and kindred workers
5.6
Salespersons
4.8
Other workers (scattered)
12. 3

® Production workers, craftsmen, and laborers in manufacturing and construction.

As service workers and i n sales occupations, the proportions women
formed of the t o t a l number seeking jobs were larger than the proportions they formed of the t o t a l number normally employed i n the same
types of occupation, as the following shows:
Percent women
formed of those
seeking work, July
1936

Percent women
formed of total
employees. 19S0

Domestic and personal service.Clerical occupations
Professional service

64 2
49. 4
46. 9

Trade
Manufacturing and mechanical
industries

15. 8
13.4

Service workers
Clerical workers
Professional and kindred
workers
Salespersons
Manufacturing and mechanical workers ®

* See footnote 8.
• U . S Employment Service.




Filling 9 Million Jobs. A n Analysis of Rej

65. 4
46. 9
28. 8
27. 6
4.2

38

WOMEN I N T H K KCONOMY OF T H K U N I T E D STATES

E v e n when the proportions unemployed can be seen, this does not
show the extent to which employed workers have taken jobs not in
line w i t h their usual occupations, i n many cases even temporary or
part-time jobs. W r i t i n g i n 1932, an expert on this subject has vividly
stated this as follows:
I t must bo remembered that comparison of unemployment rates for occupations does not show comparative occupational security, but only comparative likelihood of obtaining some work of whatever kind. I n the census
returns a man may be recorded as employed whether or not he is able to find
work i n his customary line. Thus there is much insecurity of occupation
which is not reflected i n unemployment rates. As general unemployment
rises, there is occupational displacement from the more to the less skilled types
of work- A recent study i® has shown t h a t among professional workers only
half as many were unemployed as had been displaced from professional occupations and among skilled workers only three-fourths as many were unemployed as had been displaced, while among the ousted unskilled workers only
a very few found work in higher grades and more than half of their unemployment was caused by entrance of workers from other occupational levels."
LESSENED EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN DUE T O CERTAIN INDUSTRIAL
CONDITIONS OR PRACTICES

Employment may be diminished for the individual or made insecure
by certain characteristic factors i n our industrial organization a t this
time. These affect b o t h sexes though not equally, and some of them
bear w i t h especial force on women, or have a more widespread application to women than to men, particularly i n relation to certain iadustries. Examples lie i n part-time jobs, i n fluctuations i n employment
due to seasonal c a u ^ s or to particular organization of a n industry,
and i n the r a p i d i t y or the unplanned impact of technological change.
Part-tiine E m p l o y m e n t .
Part-time w o r k — t h a t is, employment for less than the usual time
worked by persons gainfully occupied—is of at least three types:
(1) Regular part-time work, consisting of regular employment for
less than the usual number of hours i n a day or on less than the usual
nimiber of days i n a week, or b o t h ;
(2) Irregular part-time work, comprisiag t h a t of extra workers on
call, substitutes, or spare hands, and of persons available for the
Christmas rush i n stores and post offices, m a n y other examples of
which could be cited;
(3) Irregular employment, the result of fluctuations f r o m a variety
of causes, including among many others the nature of the industry
(affected b y seasonality, weather conditions, style changes), the labor
supply, the flow of w o r k i n the plant, and a slackness or rush of orders.
Regular part-time employment exists i n many or most stores, for
example, where the "extras" come for w o r k on certain days, or on parts
1 Hogg, Margaret H . The Incidence of Work Shortage. Report of a Survey by Sample of Families
0
Made in New Haven, Comi, in May-June, 1931. Russell Sage Foundation, New York. 1932.
» Shifting Occupational Patterns. B y Ralph Q. Hurlin and Meredith B. Givens. In Social Trends,
vol. 1, pp. 317-318.




UNEMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN

39

of days. Likewise i n restaurant employment, many cashiers and waitresses have a schedule applying to only part of the working day or
parts of certain days i n the week, w i t h the wage correspondingly low.^^
I n most cases, such part-time employees are women.
''Regular
extras" as alteration hands i n stores average only 12 to 14 weeks i n the
year, according to unpublished data secured by the Women's Trade
Union League f r o m uuion officials.
The t e r m ' ' p a r t t i m e " also is used where the f u l l weekly schedule is
not worked. The Pennsylvania imemployment survey early i n 1934
showed t h a t over 15 percent of all employable women and nearly 17
percent of the men were on part-time work.^^ A study of all gainful
workers i n 0 Connecticut city showed 1.5 percent of the women on
part time.^^
Irregularity of E m p l o y m e n t .
Another typo of indication of part-time work is i n the variation from
full scheduled employment as shown i n the change from week to week
i n numbers of persons on a pay roU. I n many industries these changes
are markedly seasonal i n character, and i t is a notable fact t h a t those
industries t h a t tend to have an especially great seasonal fluctuation
i n employment also are likely t o be the important woman-employers,
as for example clothing manufacture and food processing. M a n y of
these have a well-defined busy season at a similar time each year.
I n the canning of fruits and vegetables, for example, the peak season
ordinarily is i n August or September, though i n some localities or for
some products i t is earlier or later. I n candy making there is a peak
prior to the Christmas season and another before Easter. I n meat
packing the peak comes roughly f r o m January to M a r c h ; i n tobacco
stemmeries an early spring peak is followed by another i n midsummer.
I n department stores the pre-Christmas rush season is well known.
A l l these and m a n y other industries highly seasonal i n character are
large woman-employers.
Correspondence b y the Women's Trade Union League w i t h union
officers i n industries many of which employ largely women resulted
i n reports, i n the f a l l of 1936, as to the number of full-time weeks
ordinarily worked i n the year, as follows:
Average full woTkueeks in year

Shoes
GaiTnents, ladies' dresses, coats and suits
Gloves
Hats, caps, and millineiy
Printing (Typographical Union)
Textiles

24 or 25.
26.
35 to 40.
26 to 30.
4 1 ^ approximately.
27.

" The Women's Bureau has in progress a sample study of the extent of part time in stores, concerning
which few data heretofore have been available. These employees ordinarily would not be covered under
social security legislation. T h e great majority of them are women.
w ,
• tt
» Pennsylvania State Emergency Relief Association. Census of Employable Workers in Urban and
Rural Non-Farm Areas i n Pennsylvania, 1934. 1936. p. 1.
" Hogg, Margaret H . , op. cit., p. 65
150483

4




40

W O M E N I N THE ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

The same i n q u i i y received reports that 25 to 35 percent of the
bakery and confectionery workers are constantly unemployed. Officers of several other unions reported the following as the weeks
worked i n the year, b u t did not say how many of these were f u l l weeks:
Weeks in the year in iDhich seme work was done

Cigars
Men's clothing
Shirts

40 to 50 (for skilled workers).
40 to 50.
About 50.

The foregoing applies only to union members, and many workers not
belonging to the union or i n industries not organized, large numbers
of them women, are lilvely to have even less steady work.
Indexes of employment show the changes f r o m week to week
through the year, though they do not show the extent to which the
individual on the pay roll may have only part-time work i n the week.
"Women's Bureau studies of four important woman-employing industries show how greatly women's employment fluctuates w i t h i n the
year. For the index i n each industry that showed the widest range
the highest and lowest points i n the year are shown i n the foUomng:^®
Employment index for—
lAiwesi week

Clothing industries (three branches), Connecticut,
1930-31
Three tobacco stemmeries, 1933-34
Meat packing i n 5 cities, 1927-28
Laundries i n 8 cities, 1934

in year
44
77
72
85

Highest week

tnyear
133
166
132
115

The great variation that may occur i n the employment of women
i n the year is apparent from these indexes. Such indexes i n themselves show an even less extreme picture than that appearing f r o m the
actual numbers of women who are on the pay roll at one time b u t are
not earning at some other time i n the year. For example, i n the
meat-packing industry i n the two cities v/ith. the largest numbers
reported i n the Women's Bureau study, the following numbers of
women were affected:
St, Paul

Largest number of women on pay roll any week in year
SmaUest number of women on pay roll any week i n year
Difference between largest and smallest numbers
1
Percent difference

Sioux
aty

517
351
166
32. 1

374
204
170
45. 5

I n these two cities alone i n this single industry more than 300
women were out of work at some time i n the year due to seasonal
fluctuations i n the number of jobs available, and this was i n a year of
fairly normal activity, 1928.
I n many important industries this variation i n employment falls
more heavily on women than on men. Take, for example, the making
of radios. The Women's Bureau reported monthly data on numbers
" U . S. Department of Labor. Women's Bureau. The Employment of Women in Slaughtering and
Meat Packing. Bui. 88. 1932. pp. 168-161; The Employment of Women in the Sewing Trades of Connecticut. Bui. 109. 1935. p. 14; Hours and Earnings in Tobacco Stemmeries. Bui. 127. 1934. pp. 23,
27, 29; Factor^ Affectmg Wages in Power Laundries, Bui. 143. 1936. p. 47.




UNEMPLOYMENT OF W O M E N 52

employed i n 16 plants making receiving sets through the year 1929,
generally thought of as the peak year of prosperity. T h a t women's
employment declined much more than men's is shown i n the following:
Men

Largest number on pay roll i n year.
Smallest number on pay r o l l i n year
Difference between largest and smallest numbers
Percent difference

16, 439
I 6', 848
9, 591
58. 3

Wtmtn

14 935
5 169
9,' 766
65. 4

N o t only were more women than men out of jobs i n the slack season,
but these women who were losing earnings formed a much larger
proportion of those on the pay roll at the year's peak than was the
case w i t h men.^® T h e same was true i n certain pineapple camieries
i n H a w a i i surveyed by the Women's Bureau a number of years ago
(1927), as the following shows:
Mm

Largest number on pay roll i n year
Smallest number on pay roll i n year
Difference between largest and smallest numbers
Percent difference

2, 640
988
1, 652
62. 6

Women

2,172
' 479
1, 693
77. 9

The employment data for men and women i n three large industrial
States were examined b y the Women's Bureau for the period 1928-31,
which includes normal, peak, and depression years. Taken together
these include employment i n 34 different industries or occupations, 12
of them found i n 2 or i n all 3 States."
I n a considerable number of these important woman-employing
industries i n each State, women suffered f r o m much greater variation
in the numbers employed a t different times w i t l i i n the year than men
did; i n one State this was true i n most industries i n nearly every year.
I n the 12 industries t h a t were reported i n 2 or i n all 3 of the
States, w i t h very few exceptions the index of women's employment
in the year had fluctuated more than had the index of men's employment—in m a n y cases very considerably more. The industries i n
which this variation i n women's employment ordinarily had exceeded
men's included clothing, textiles, food, and others of the more important woman employers. They were as follows:
Candy.
Bakery products.
Clothing, men's.
Clothing, women's.
K n i t goods.
Laundry and dry cleaning.

,

Paper goods.
Printing and publishing.
Shoes.
Stores (salespersons).
Telephone.
Tobacco.

Technological Changes.
M u c h has been w r i t t e n on technological changes and their relation
to employment, showing both the numbers of workers displaced by
'»Ibid. Fluctuation of Employment in the Radio Industry. Bui. 83 1931. p. 4; and The Employment of Women in the Pineapple Canneries of Hawaii. Bui. 82. 1930. p. 13.
"S^fi Women's Bureau Bui. 113, Employment Fluctuations and Unemployment of Women,
im
Consult especially pp. 69, 94, and U9. See aiso an earlier analysis of Ohio figures by the same agcncy, m
Bui. 73, Variations in Employment Trends of Women and M e n . 1930.
Only IS exceptional instances out of a possible 111.




42

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY O F T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

new inventions and the numbers added to employment rolls as the
result of the demands of new processes or new machinery. I n many
cases women have lost jobs because machines were introduced to
carry on processes they had been engaged on; i n other cases skilled
workers were replaced by machines and women were among those
newly employed i n the less skilled jobs of tending these machines; in
still other cases new industries or new services have arisen, some of
them employing large proportions of women.
An example of technological displacement of women on a considerable scale is i n the cigar industry. The Women's Bureau interviewed
well over 1,000 women who had lost jobs i n cigar manufacture prior
t o 1930, and found that 96 percent of these Avere out of work bccause
of closing of the factory i n which they had been employed.^® This
was largely because improved equipment had been introduced into
other factories, to which operations consequently were transferred.
Nearly one-half of these women had been employed i n the industry
for 10 years or longer, practically a fifth of them for at least 20 years;
well over a third of them never found reemployment i n the cigar
industry. A n estimate of the Cigar Makers' International Union
shows that i n the period from 1919 to 1933 as many as 22,000 cigar
workers lost their jobs because of technological changes and entirely
aside from production declines.^
The Women's Bureau also has made a study of 250 technological
changes i n plants of various types that had employed many women.^^
These changes had occurred for the most part f r o m 1927 to 1931, and
included introduction of new machineiy or of better tools, and more
efficient plant routing or methods of use of man power. The operations reported on had employed more than 6,000 workers before the
changes, but six months after the change this number had decreased
b y 44 percent, due entirely to the improved technology and not to
lessened plant production.
Among the telling instances found were those i n filling and wrapping
packages i n the case of certain goods now so widely sold i n such form,
such as cereals, soap flakes, and other products. I n one such operation, work formerly employing 48 women required only 20 after the
changes. Another example is of a machine that labeled and wrapped
bottles, which was operated by 6 girls after the change though 15
formerly had been employed on the process, and at the same time
the output w i t h the fewer workers was more than 12 times as great
as before.
I n another instance a few women were given semimechanical jobs
where none had been employed before, though total employment
U. S. Department of Labor. Women's Bureau. The Effects on Women of Changing Conditions in
the Cigar and Cigarette Industries. Bui. 100. 1932. pp. 38, 49, 52, 63.
M Addressof I . M . Orabum, President of tho Cigar Makers' International Union, in Tampa, Fla., Mar.
19, 1934. In Cigar Makers' Official Journal, April 1934, p. 7.
« U. S. Department of Labor. Women's Bureau. Technological Changes in Relation to Women's
Employment. Bui. J07. 1935. pp. 5, 11, 20, 28, 32.




UNEMPLOYMENT OF W O M E N

43

declined by more than three-fourths. This was i n the marking of
stripes on automobiles, formerly a job employing 22 skilled men.
W i t h the introduction into the plant of a gun-like device for use i n
performing tliis process, only 5 persons now were needed—1 man and
4 young women.
Similar instances from other sources may be listed, ail showing the
tendency toward more efficient operation developed over a long
period of years and profoundly affecting workers i n many industries,
men as well as women. A few of these that apply especially to women
follow:
Manufacture of sewing needles—One girl now inspects as many as nine could
before.
Paper-box making—Decrease 32 percent i n employment in New York City,
and increase 121 percent i n output per wage earner, 1914 to 1925.
Telephone operation—Complete change t o dial system in a large New
England city cut the number of employees by one-half.
Wrapping cracker boxes—By hand, 3 girls wrapped 9 boxes of crackers a
minute; now a machine w i t h 2 girls \vraps 65.
Packing cereal—Formerly 12 girls packed 17,000 boxes of cereal a day; w i t h
machines, 5 girls pack this number.
Laundry w o r k — 2 girls shook out the sheets by hand before putting them in
the ironer; now the shaking is done by machine.
T y p i n g — 1 g i r l can operate 3 electrical typewriters.
M a k i n g automobile cushions—Hand work required women in the processes
of marking, stitching, and stuffing cushions; now a machine can do all 3
processes.

These instances might be multiplied more or less indefinitely, but
at the present time there are no data to show the f u l l extent of decrease
i n woman-employment due to teclmological changes alone, aside from
decline i n production, nor to show the f u l l extent to which women are
among the semiskilled workers employed at machine tending as a
result of such changes and of replacing skilled workers under the earlier
processes.
The "Women's Bureau technological study referred to indicates a
decline of 42 percent i n woman-employment due to this factor alone,
but this applies to a limited number of plants or industries i n which
such changes had been introduced and the extent to which other new
employments for women may have superseded these is practically an
uncharted field. I n the Bureau's study of the cigar industiy, over
60 percent of tho displaced women had had some work elsewhere, but
only a little over a tenth of the entire number had found steady employment.
Surveys and estimates have given abundant proof that many
women normally i n gainful employment have been entirely out of
work i n recent years, while many are reemployed on a more or less
permanent basis, b u t the distinction between those who have lost
jobs because of changes i n machinery, equipment, plant routing, or



44

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

other management factors and those unemployed because of declmes
i n production, especially i n some industries, is by no means clear cut.
REPLACEMENT OF ONE SEX BY T H E OTHER

The question as to whether women have replaced men i n employment has been asked during the depression even more urgently than
before. The primary answer to this is that ordinarily the jobs performed by the two sexes differ, and hence replacement as such usually
does not occur.^^
Such studies as afford scattered data on this particular subject
reaffirm the statement that replacement of either sex by the other in
exactly the same work does not occur to any considerable extent.
Changed processes sometimes effect replacement of one sex by the
other i n the industry, but where women are the newcomers i n these
instances the reason ordinarily is that they may be paid lower wages.
The advancement of women's wages and the fixing of an adequate
minimum for these processes goes a considerable way to reduce shifts
due to this cause.
I n a special study of the replacement of men by women i n New York
State industries during the World War, when the process of replacement was particularly widespread, the bureau of women i n industry
of the State department of labor found that 80 percent of the employers i n the plants investigated claimed that women were as satisfactory as or more satisfactory than the men whom they replaced.
Nevertheless, even i n the cases i n which women's production exceeded
that of men, women received lower wages than those of men doing the
same work i n the same plant
Where the new machines, new processes, and new organizations
continually being introduced cause unemployment, the loss of jobs
affects both sexes, sometimes women more so, sometimes men. The
Pennsylvania unemployment survey i n 1934 showed 31 percent of the
women and only 27 percent of the men to be affected. New employment i n new processes is confined neither to men nor to women.
I n a study of women workers and the labor supply, the National
Industrial Conference Board, research agency of large employing
interests, made this statement: ''There is no evidence i n these data
that would justify the conclusion that the employment of women
workers contributed to increase unemployment among men during
the depression."
The Women's Bureau made an analysis of employment figures from
three large industrial States—^Illinois, New Y o r k , and Ohio—during
the early depression years and those just preceding, 1928-1931.^^
« f^® P-J® ^
1—Employment, and also p. 49 in pt. I , cb. 3 - Compensation.
M New York. Department o! Labor. Bureau of Women in Industry. The Industrial Replacemeat
of M e n by Women m the State of New York. Special Bui.
1919. pp. 27-29.
" National Industrial Conference Board- Women Workers and Labor Supply. 1936. p. 42.
" Op. cit. footnote 17.
.
. ,




UNEMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN

45

These data gave no definite evidence indicating replacement of men
by women on any appreciable scale i n any industry or occupation
group during the decline that occurred i n most industries i n this
period.
Moreover, census figures indicate that i t was not i n the recent depression period t h a t women formed the largest proportions of the
total i n certain of the most outstanding woman-employing industries
and occupations.^® The census years i n which \vomen formed the
greatest proportions i n important ones of these were as follows:
Year in which worn- Percent women
en jormed
formed of total
largest propor(in year specition
fied)

AU manufacturing and mechanical industries
Servants and waitresses
Cotton manufacture
K n i t t i n g mills
Textiles (total)
Paper and printing
Electrical machinery and supplies (1900 not
reported)
;
School teachers

1900
1900
1900
1900
1910
1910

20. 2
82. 3
48. 9
73. 2
51.8
23. 3

1910
1920

34.4
84. 5

I n trade and i n glass works the proportion of women was the same
in 1920 and 1930, 15.8 and 13.1, respectively. Those occupations i n
which the largest proportions of women were found i n 1930 fall into
three main groups:
Women long had predominated or been largely engaged:
Clothing
Telephone
Laundry.
Clerical
Fairly new as an organized occupation for women:
Barbers and hairdressers
Women long engaged and standards declined markedly during
depression:
Shoes
Cigars and tobacco
Food industries

Percent women formed
of total in mo

70. 1
94. 5
73. 8
49. 4
30. 2
37.8
59. 9
21. 6

NOTE.—It was hoped to include at this point an analysis of
material showing lessened emplo3^ment of women due to such reasons
as marital status and other factors t h a t aflfect women vnth particular force, b u t i t has n o t been possible to prepare such a section at
this time.
" From unpublished data compiled by the Women's Bureau from census figures, 1900 to 1930.




Chapter 3 . — C O M P E N S A T I O N O F W O M E N
The types of gainful occupation i n which women i n tliis country
are most likely to be a t work, the extent to which women's employment tends to be regular or irregular, and certain employment situations t h a t particularly affect women, have been reviewed.
Of primary importance to the gainfully occupied woman is the
amount of her compensation, since i t usually measures the extent to
which she can obtain the ordinary needs and satisfactions of life,
indeed the actual standard of living t h a t she can maintain, for the
vast m a j o r i t y of employed women have l i t t l e or no source of income
b u t their OWTI earnings.
M u c h evidence as to the actual amounts received b y women can
be amassed, although wage figures must be used w i t h some relation to
the general price data for the period or country under consideration.
I n order to understand the relative value of a given wage, questions
t h a t should be asked include, first. W h a t is the relation of the levels
of these wages to those of men? and second, W h a t financial obhgations do women have to meet vdth. these wages? I n other words,
how do the standards of living made possible b y women's earnings
compare w i t h the standards available for men? I f the general levels
of women's wages have been below those of men, are they now more
nearly approaching the levels for men? H o w does the pay of men and
women compare for essentially the same work? W h a t costs do
w^omen have to meet vnth their earnings? H o w do the earnings of
women compare Avith what the best authorities estimate are the needs
for maintaining a decent or adequate living?
I n connection w i t h employment fluctuations and i n other ways i t
already has been suggested t h a t i n many cases women constitute a
marginal labor supply t h a t is called upon to fill i n where needed.
Such labor usually tends to be low paid. Further, the great m a j o r i t y of
women are not i n gainful employment and m a n y of these could be
brought into the labor market if needed. T h e existence of tliis large
supply of employable women tends to keep dovm the amounts paid
those who are at work, since their places could so readily be filled.
Moreover, there is a powerful traditional factor t h a t reinforces the
situation as to the supply of woman labor i n i t s tendency to keep
women's wages down. I t is the idea t h a t has prevailed i n the past
t h a t woman was to make a contribution to the economic life largely
through the pursuance of household tasks, and for this she d i d not
receive any money wage. This idea has persisted f r o m an earlier
economy i n which both women and men followed their occupations
for the most p a r t \vithin their own domain. There women wove the
46




COIVIPENSATION OF WOMEN

47

cloth, made the family clothing, baked the bread, preserved the fruit
and vegetables for winter use, and often carried on a considerable
share i n the work of curing the meat and tending the garden. No
cash value was attached to this work and the services of the sex
that performed i t were not held at high money worth.
POLICY OF GOVERNMENT TO M A I N T A I N WOMEN'S WAGES

I t has been the general policy of government of the United States,
expressed i n various official documents, to advocate the maintenance
of women's wages at a level commensurate w i t h that of men's.
The enactment i n more than a third of the States of minimumwage legislation for women—generally the lowest paid and most
exploited workers—shows the pohcy of States to maintain wage
levels for women on a par vrith those of men. That this also has been
the effort of the Federal Government i n cases imder its jurisdiction is
sho\vn by a number of instances. For example, the Women's Bureau
of the United States Department of Labor, i n its employment standards issued as early as 1918, upheld the policy of the same pay for
women and men on the same jobs i n the following words:
Wages should be established on the basis of occupation and not on the
basis of sex or race.

I n 1915 the Commission on Industrial Relations recommended
"The recognition both by public opinion and i n such legislation as
may be enacted, of the principle that women should receive the same
compensation as men for the same terms." *
The principles enunciated by the War Labor Conference Board in
formulating a national labor program i n 1918 included the following:
Women in industry.—If i t shall become necessary to employ women on
work ordinarily performed by men, they must be allowed equal pay for
equal work and must not be allotted tasks disproportionate to their strength.®

Likewise the United States Railroad Administration i n December
1918 made the following rule, restating i n slightly different terms the
General Order of M a y :
The pay for female employees, for the same class of work,,shall be the
same as t h a t of men, and their working conditions must be healthful and
fitted to their needs. The laws enacted for the government of their employment must be observed.®

And on November 5, 1919, the United States Ci^al Service Commission definitely ruled that all examinations were open to men and
women alike.^ More recently, the National Recovery Administration
promulgated the following policy:
Female employees performing substantially the same work as male employees shall receive the same rate of pay as male employees.
» Pinal Report of the Commission on Industrial Relations. Washington, Government Printing Office,
1916. [Reprmte(ifromS.Doc.No.415,64thConglp.72.
J U . S . Bureau of Labor Statistics. Monthly Labor Review. M a y 1918, p. 57.
-^IQ
» U. S. Railroad Admmistration. General Order No.27, Supplement No. 13, article V I I I (a). 1918. See
Dep^tment of LiSor.^^
1111925. Bui. 63. 1926. p. L




The Status of Women in the Government Service

48

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

During the life of the National Recovery Administration (1933-35)
efforts were made to assure the same code rates for both sexes, and
Government authorities supported this.
Although the pay for the two sexes is the same for the same grades
i n the civil service, i t has not always been possible i n other instances
to carry out fully the policy of the Government for equal pay for
women and men. I n some cases the statement of principle has been
chiefly an ideal to be striven toward. For example, despite the war
policy to pay women as much as men on the same processes, the
Women's Branch of the Ordnance Department found that of the
himdreds of plants involved only 11 could be listed that reported having paid equal piece rates to men and women doing the same work.^
Under the National Recovery Administration, almost 20 years later,
i n practically one-fourth of the codes—and frequently i n those for
industries employing many women—the rate was fixed lower for
women than for men.®
EVIDENCES AS TO T H E LEVELS OF WOMEN'S EARNINGS I N MAJOR
WOMEN'S OCCUPATIONAL GROUPS

Five major occupation groups i n which women are employed are
domestic and personal service, clerical occupations, factory occupations, professional work, and trade. The usual levels of women^s
earnings are indicated by a general survey of the more recent material available from various sources, which shows that, i n these five
major occupation groups, women's median or average earnings range
about as follows: ^
Domestic and personal service:
Homes (cash wage), $5.79 to $14.65 a week.
Beauty shops, $14.25 and $14.54 a week.
Hotels and restaurants, $5.75 to $16.25 a week. The potential average for
the year (based on 52 weeks), $299 to $845.
Laundries, $6.67 to $13.42 a week. The potential average for the year
(based on 52 weeks), $347 to $698.
Clerical occupations:
$16.15 (clerks) to $28.65 (secretaries) a week; $1,253 to $1,881 a year. The
potential average for the year (based on 52 weeks), i n seven cities, $1,188.
Manufacturing:
Recent figures for various industries, $12.46 to $20.29.
Professional service:
School teachers, $999 to $3,300 a year, the last for senior high-school teachers
w i t h M . A. degrees.
Trained nurses, $1,620 to $2,300 a year, the minimum and maximum civilservice entrance salaries.
Librarians, $1,110 to $1,957.50 a year, the last for branch librarians.
Trained social and welfare workers, $1,650 to $3,300 a year, the last for
supervisors in largest agencies.
Home-economics extension workers, $945 to $3,950 a year.
Women in Industry. In Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, vol. 15, p. 455.
« For fuller m f o n ^ t l o n on this subject seo pt. I I , p. 04, and also gee Women's Bureau Bui. 130, Employed
women Under N . R . A . Codes. 1935.
7 For more complete discussion of what constitutes these earnings and the sources from which they have
been reported, see appendix A .




COIVIPENSATION OF WOMEN

49

Sales occupations:
$12 a week in limited-price stores to $13.85 a week for regular workers in
department stores; $663 to $932 a year.
TWO BASIC QUESTIONS I N RELATION TO WOMEN'S WACES

The levels of women's wages show i n general what they have to
Uve on, and what employers adjudge their services to be worth i n
certain types of work.
When these levels are indicated, two questions immediately arise,
and these are basic questions i n the entire situation as to the amounts
women are receiving:
Is their wage as much as i t should be for the value of the work they
perform if stated i n terms of the wage paid men?
Is their wage sufficient if stated i n terms of their family situation
and responsibility for the support of others?
DIFFERENCES I N OCCUPATIONS OF WOMEN AND M E N

I n comparing the levels of men's and women's wages, attention
should be paid to the types of employment most usual to the two
sexes. B y and large, the occupations or general types of work i n
which women are engaged differ somewhat from those of men. For
example, the largest groups of women reported by the census are as
follows:
Percent
ofttad
employed

Domestic and personal service
Clerical occupations
Manufacturing and mechanical industries
Professional service
Trade
Agriculture

29. 6
18. 5
17. 5
14 2
9.0
8.5

The largest groups of men, however, are as follows:
PtTcerd
oftotal
employed

Manufacturing and mechanical industries
Agriculture
Trade
Transportation and communication
Clerical occupations
Domestic and personal scrvice
Professional service

32. 1
25. 1
13. 4
9. 4
4
4. 7
4. 5

Carrying this analysis into the manufacturing and other productive
industries, i t is found that there again women and men are differently
engaged.
Women operatives are at work i n the largest numbers i n the manufacture of cotton and k n i t goods and other textiles, i n shoemaking,
in clothing manufacture, i n cigar and tobacco^ factories, i n various
food industries, and i n the making of electrical machinery and supplies. These are the great woman-employers, though of course many
men also work i n these industries.



50

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

Men, on the other hand, are engaged i n large numbers i n the heavy
metal industries, i n automobile manufacture, i n shoemaking, i n the
lumber, wood, and chemical industries, i n the making of clay, stone,
and glass products, i n petroleum refining, and as laborers i n the
building trades. This does n o t mean t h a t no women are employed i n
these industries, b u t b y and large they have been the field of men.
W a g e Levels i n W o m a n - E m p l o y i n g a n d i n M a n - E m p l o y i n g
Industries.
H o w do the general wage levels i n the woman-employing industries
compare w i t h those i n the man-employers? Wage data for a recent
m o n t h (November 1936) as reported b y the U n i t e d States Bureau of
Labor Statistics ® indicate that i n these woman-employing industries
the average weekly wage for all employees is i n most cases below $20,
while i n the man-employers i t is i n all cases above $20 and runs
above $30. The figures are as follows:
I m p o r t a n t woman-employing industries:
Chief textile industries
Wearing apparel
Confectionery
Boots and shoes
Tobacco manufactures
Electrical machinery, apparatus, and supplies
I m p o r t a n t man-employing industries:
Blast furnaces, steel works, and rolling mills
Automobiles
Lumber and allied products
Petroleum refinery
Stone, clay, and glass products
Building construction

Average weekly
earnings, all
employees

$14. 02-$16.
17.
16.
15.
15.
25.

54
39
69
90
21
97

29.
32.
20.
30.
23.
28.

13
27
12
43
23
89

Annual earnings likewise show t h a t woman-employing industries
pay less t h a n man-employing. F r o m reports now becoming available
f r o m the 1935 Census of Manufactures, i n all b u t 2 of 9 industries
employing large proportions of women, less t h a n $1,000 was the average year's earnings. The exceptions are clock and watch m a k i n g and
jewelry, and for these industries the earnings were b u t slightly more
than $1,000. Of 15 industries very largely emplojdng men, however,
the annual earnings averaged over $1,000, except for 3 i n which much
unskilled w o r k is required, clay products, pulp, and furniture.
A n interesting sidelight on the ingenious methods undertaken by
women t o supplement their p i t i f u l l y low wages is shown i n a report of
the m o n t h l y budgets of a small group of business girls reported by
the Y o i m g Women's Christian Association i n the depression years
1931 and 1932.® These girls rented rooms, d i d outside typing, worked
overtime, sold crackers, underwear, stockings, soap, w r i t i n g paper, ^
the extra energy spent i n these pursuits outside the regular j o b exacting
a considerable t o l l of their physical strength. E v e n i n so doing they
averaged extra income of only $1.68 a week i n 1932.
« U . S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. M o n t h l y Labor Review, February 1937, pp. 45.S-459.
Labor Review publishes such reports each month (not separated by sex).
»Harper, E t i o D . From Pay D a y to Pay Day. 1934. pp. 8,9.




T h e Monthly

COIVIPENSATION OF W O M E N

51

W o m e n Provide Products Traditionally Attributed to T h e m a t
Low P a y .
I n addition to the wide range of service occupations that ordinarily
are thought of as appropriately engaging women, i t is apparent t h a t
many of the manufacturing industries i n which employed women are
so largely massed are those t h a t produce the commodities for the provision of which the h u m a n race has been accustomed to depend upon
women—for example, the making of textile fabrics and of clothing
- and the preparation of foods.
According t o the traditional ideas of an earhcr age, making these
things available was "women's w o r k " , done ^\dthin the four walls of
the home and Twt 'paid for in cash. The man was at t h a t time the
member of the f a m i l y responsible for handling its moneys; he was its
wage earner and financial provider.
Thus a l o w money value was accorded to the household tasks involved i n the m a k i n g of these necessities. B u t when, i n a more complex economic age, the family had to buy these things a t a cash value
and had to depend on the wage of their employed women for help i n
buying them, and women thus were called on to fximish these same
services b y going outside the home and learning new ways of doing
them, the traditional idea of the low money value of the tasks involved
still clung t o the great woman-employing industries.
The f a m i l y , having been accustomed to receive these goods without
cash expenditure, expected to pay l i t t l e for them. The manufacturer,
using women largely for his labor supply, expected to pay a low wage
for their services. B o t h tradition and the requirements of the economic system thus tended to keep women's earnings at a very low
level. Indeed, a re\dsion of the older ideas t h a t formed a basis for
the low wage scales i n certain of our industries is long overdue i n the
newer social economy.
The traditional idea of the low value of woman's work and the
manufacturer's consequent use of her labor to keep do^vn his own costs
have been i m p o r t a n t factors i n keeping the entire level of earnings
low for men as well as women. For example, the cotton textile
industry, w h i c h always has been a large woman-employer, has had
wages low i n relation to those i n most other industries whose processes,
though they could n o t be accounted more skilled, ordinarily were
performed b y men whose services were a t a premium.
A n instance of the prevalence of the traditional idea of low pay for
women's w o r k is i n the wage set i n the code for the saddlery industry
during the N a t i o n a l Recovery Administration. The m i n i m u m for
unskilled labor was 35 cents an hour (except i n certain States where
i t was 32}^ cents), and skilled labor was to be paid 20 cents more than
this, b u t for " w o m e n making pads used under collars, harness, or
saddles, or m a k i n g canvas stitched back bands, or open-bottom cotton




52

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

fiber stuffed cotton collars, or flynets, or horse covers" (in other words,
most se\viiig occupations except on leather) the pay was to be
cents
below t h a t of unskilled labor.^®
T h e Question of Skill.
The evaluation of sldll is a very difficult problem, and while efforts
have been made i n this direction b y educators, employers, employment
agency authorities, and others, some of them would be the first to say
t h a t this still is—at least, w i t h i n very large areas—an ahnost uncharted sea. A n outstanding woman engineer has said t h a t i t i s '
"astonishingly true t h a t no two people seem to agree on w h a t skill
is." She defines i t as ''Dexterity, plus knowledge which can adapt
itself to changing situations and is capable of improvement." "
Though the skills of the two sexes may differ somewhat, there is no
evidence t h a t women are less skilled than men. I n fact, classificat i o n of censiis data b y social-economic groups indicates t h a t women are
found much more generally i n semiskilled t h a n i n unskilled work,
their proportions being as follows:*^
Perttrd tcomen formed of total

Unskilled
SemiskiUed

All industries

22. 2
31. 7

in-

Manufaduring

a 9
36.8

A more recent analysis along a somewhat different line, made for the
Social Security Board, makes the following strikingly similar sho\ving
as to the small proportions women formed of the unskilled: ^^
Percent women formed of total inAll indMtriei

Unskilled...
Semiskilled

Manufacturing

4 3
25. 9

5. 3
36. 8

The percents women formed i n other classifications i n the lastnamed study were as follows:
Service workers
Professional persons
Salaried employees
Unpaid family workers
Employers and self employed
Skilled

62. 5
49. 0
37. 0
28. 6
8. 3
1. 7

I t is common to hear i t stated t h a t women i n manufacturing industries are on ''light w o r k " or " l i g h t repetitive j o b s " , while men
are doing the "heavier" operations, the implication being t h a t the
former are w o r t h only a low cash wage. B u t many of the " l i g h t "
jobs performed b y women require a delicate and careful touch, a
unique type of skill, manual dexterity, and quickness of hand and
brain. The repetitive jobs call for a large degree of concentration or
10 See Women's Bureau Bui. 130. Employed Women Under N . R . A. Codes. 1935. p. 31.
Qilbreth, Laimn M . Skills and Sati^ctions. In Trained M e n , autumn of 1930, vol. x, p 99.
Edwards, Alba M . A Social-Economic Grouping of the Gainful Workers of the United States. In
Journal of the American Statistical Association, December 1933, pp. 381,382.
" Work of W . S. Woytinsky of the Social Science Research Council, furnished the Women's Bureau in a
preliminary unpublished form.




COIVIPENSATION OF WOMEN

53

continuous application, failure of which may mean physical disaster to
the worker as well as ruin to the product.
Of such occupations as the assembling of watches, typewriters, or
scientific instruments; the tending of a number of looms; the rapid
sewing of collars or parts of gloves or dresses on power machines,
while keeping edges even or pattern true; the operation of a press
stamping out metal parts; the process of looping hosiery; the final
inspecting of a commodity as fast as a machine turns i t out; or the
task of keeping up with an automatic assembly line—though a number
of these might be designated as " l i g h t " jobs, i t scarcely could be said
that they exact less from the worker or contribute less to the final
product than is the case w i t h such '^heavy" jobs as carrying lots of
yarn or bundles of work i n a hosiery or clothing factory, tying up
bundles of paper, packing'large boxes, or operating a heavy power
machine. Y e t i n some of these jobs women are paid less than imsMlled men. Moreover, many repetitive jobs performed by women
are by no means light. For example, i n visits to 27 farm-implement
plants before the N . R . A., agents of the Women's Bureau found women
doing spot welding, riveting, punch-press operating, and work requiring skill i n core rooms and i n assembling. I n some of these, women
had replaced men at lower pay though production was practically
unchanged.^^
A n interesting example of the different duties of a man and a woman
on the same machine, where each contributes to the work i n about the
same degree though a woman performs the " l i g h t " and a man the
"heavy" operation, is a machine process i n a glassine bag factory.
A t one end of the machine a man lifts the heavy roll of glassine paper
and places i t i n the machine, a job requiring chiefly strength; at the
other end, a woman deftly takes off the small bags, finished and
counted by the machine, gives them a rapid double inspection,
eliminates any that may be imperfect, and packs them into a box so
evenly as to make a tight fill, a job requiring speed, dexterity, care,
and accuracy.
GENERAL LEVELS OP WOMEN'S AND M E N ' S WAGES I N
MANUFACTURING''

As the earnings levels i n occupation groups and industries employing
largely men tend to be higher than those i n industries where women
find their chief work, likewise men's are largely found to be above
women's levels where the total manufacturing wage is reported.
The average weekly wages of both women and men have been
reported regularly i n manufacturing industries for more than 10 years
by State authorities i n three large industrial States—Ilhnois, New
** Testimony of M a r y Anderson, t)irector of the Women's Bnreau, at hearing on proposed N . R . A. code
for the farm equipment industry, Sept. 20,1933.
,
.
^
.
,
" Note that the discussion at this point applies to general levels of earnings or rates. Compansons for
specific occupations are made later, on p. 60.




54

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

AVERAGE W E E K L Y WAGES OF

MEN AND WOMEN

INDUSTRIES,
Dollart

10
4

IN

MANUFACTURING

1923-1936

Men's Wages •

Women's Wages •

ILLINOIS

30

10

-J

U
o

I

I

I

I

I

I

1

I

I

I

I

'

•

'

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

I

1

I.

.1

N E W YORK

30

so

-I

•I

I . • •I•

OHIO
30

£0

-I

30

1

1

I

I

1

1

I

»

N A T L INDUSTRIAL CONFERENCE BQ
FIGURES FOR 4 4 STATES

0

1
1953

1
1921*

1
1925

1
1926




1
1927

1
1928

1
1929

1
1930

1
I931

1
1932

1933

1——I
1935

1936

COIVIPENSATION OF W O M E N

55

York, and Ohio. These data show that throughout this period
women^s weekly wages were only from 50 to about 60 percent as high
as men's, 63 percent i n Ohio i n 1933 when men's wages were very
low, having fallen nearly a t h i r d below their 1929 peak. The proportions women's average weekly earnings formed of men's average
throughout the series of years i n these three States ranged as follows:
Percera women's
average of
men's

lUinois
Ohio
New York

65. 5 to 60. 2
62. 7 to 63. 4
51. 9 t o 68. 2

The average weekly earnings i n the latest years for which the figures
are immediately available were as follows:
Average weekly earnings of—
Men

Perura women'9
average is of
men's

$26. 61
24.77
28. 37

Illinois, 1936
Ohio, 1935-___
New Y o r k , 1936

Women

$15. 12
15.33
15. 83

56. 8
61.9
55. 8

These figures show also that women's average wages are slightly
nearer to men's than was the case before the depression, and the indications are t h a t women's wages have recovered from the depression
somewhat more rapidly than men's. Since the country still is not
suffering from labor shortage, and since women stiU are used to cut
labor costs, i t is quite likely that this more rapid increase i n their
wages as compared to men's is very largely due to a better public
acquaintance w i t h the fact that i n the past women's wages have been
so far below men's, and the consequent special eflForts made to pull
women's wages up, as, for example, i n several States through minimumwage legislation applying to women, and by other types of effort.
The percent women's average formed of men's before the depression
and i n the latest year was as foUows:
f)f men's in—
1928

1936

55.5
53. 1
55.2

Illinois
Ohio
NewYork...

56.8
61. 9
55.8

» Figure for 1935.

I n two States surveyed i n 1935 or 1936 by the Women's Bureau,
representative samples were taken of men's as well as women's wages,
though the women's sample was considerably larger. The average
week's earnings of women and men i n manufacturing industries i n
these States, as shown from the representative samples taken, were as
follows:
Average weekly earnings cf—
Percent women's

Arkansas, 1936:
White...
Negro.I
Tennessee, 1935:
White
Negroni"..II."
160483"—37
5




average is of men's

$14.80
12.00
-

$9.50
7.40

64.2
61.7

15.80
12.45

12.00
6.75

75.9
54.2

/

56

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOaiY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

Levels of M e n ' s a n d W o m e n ' s Wages i n Particular M a n u f a c turing Industries.
I f particular manufacturing industries be considered, much the
same showing is made as for all manufacturing—that is, women's
wages f a l l far below men's—though the degree i n which this is
the case differs considerably i n different industries, nor does it
always v a r y directly w i t h the proportion of women employed.
T h e pages following will summarize a mass of evidence that illustrates this.
The average weekly earnings i n i m p o r t a n t woman-employing
manufacturing industries as reported i n recent years for the two sexes
i n three States affording such data periodically, and the proportions
women's averages have formed of men's over a long series of years, are
as follows:
Average weekly earninffs
of—

Perccnt women's
average is of men't
over a period of
years

Men
am

JVomen
U9S6)

Electrical apparatus
Boots and shoes
Men's clothing
Women's clothing
Confectionery
Watches and jewelry
Job printing
Paper boxes, bags, and tubes

$28. 08
20. 78
26. 89
28. 87
25. 43
26. 48
32.57
24. 27

S17. 50
13. 83
16. 53
12. 70
14. 30
15. 33
15.38
14. 04

59. 6
60. 4
60. 6
34. 3
48. 9
44. 9
46. 4
49. 1

to
to
to
to
to
to
to
to

68. 0
69. 8
66. 0
52. 5
62. 2
60. 9
51. 7
62. 9

A^ew York
Shoes
Women's clothing
K n i t goods (except silk)
Candy
J
Paper boxes and tubes

S22. 04
36. 34
22. 18
24.43
25. 34

$14.31
20. 98
13. 50
13.34
14. 60

55. 3
53. 6
50. 3
50. 0
49. 8

to
to
to
to
to

64 9
59. 6
62. 2
58. 3
60. 8

Ohio "
Rubber
Men's clothmg
Women's clothing
Hosiery and k n i t goods
Electrical machinery
Tobacco
Boots and shoes
M e t a l and metal products
Stone, clay, and glass

S29. 48
27. 86
36. 00
19. 39
25. 25
18.99
22. 37
23. 13
21. 82

$17. 09
16. 54
14. 96
15. 73
17. 56
12.92
15. 12
15. 53
14. 52

55. 2
51. 9
33. 9
63. 2
57. 3
61. 0
57. 8
57. 2
51 8

to
to
to
to
to
to
to
to
to

58. 9
61. 0
50. 0
83. 8
69. 5
70. 0
72. 3
69. 4
69. 9

Illinois

" Latest figures immediately available by sex, 1935. Computations have been made b y the Women's
Bureau, for the first 4 selected mdustries, from 1914 to 1935. for the others, from 1928 to 1935.

I n special studies made b y the Pennsylvania D e p a r t m e n t of Labor
and I n d u s t r y i n 1928 or 1929, the average full-time weekly earnings
of men and women were as follows:
Average weekly earnings of-^
Men

.
-r^
Hosiery—Full fashioned i®
Seamless "
K n i t goods

$28. 98
17.50
27. 12
28. 67
25. 61

" These eanuags were for a 48-hour week, since full time was not shown.




Women

$22.
14
20
la
16.

21
65
40
71
22

Percent women's
average is of men 9

76. 6
83.1
75 2
68. 3
63. 3

COMPENSATION OP WOMEN

.

,

57

' I n manufacturing industries i n Tennessee as surveyed by the
Women's Bureau i n 1935, while the men's earnings i n certain
industries were below those i n the other States listed here,
and women's earnings somewhat more nearly approached men's
than elsewhere, yet w^omen still received considerably less than
did men. The representative week's earnings reported for white
women and men i n these various Tennessee industries were as
follows:
Averagr weekly earnings of—
Men

Hosiery—Seamless
Full-fashioned
Cotton mills
K n i t undenvear
Men's suits and overcoats
Men's work clothes and shirts
Shoes.

j

Women

Percent women's
average is of
men's

$12.65
25. 55
13. 25
14. 40
22. 05
14 15
20. 45

$10.20
13. 40
12. 50
12. 10
13. 25
9. 55
14. 15

80.6
52. 4
94. 3
84. 0
60. 1
67. 5
69. 2

' Studies of particular industries' made i n 1934 or 1935 by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of
Labor show average weeldy earnings of women less than threefourths of men's i n most instances. These average weekly earnings
are as follows:
Textiles and clothing:
A.era,eu>eek!,
Cotton:
Men
North
^
$14.48
South
:
' 10.29
Dyeing and
finishing:
'
1
Cotton
17.32
1
20.01
Silk and rayon
Woolen and worsted
17.58
Women's neckwear and scarfs
33. 74
Motor vehicles:
Cars
J
28.45
Parts
2 4 68
Tobacco—Cigarettes, snuff, chewing, smoking:
White
19.48
Negro
13.13
Shipping containers (corrugated and solid
fiber):
North
22. 84
South
17.64
Paper boxes:
Folding:
North
23.68
South
17.52
Set-up:
North
22.58
South
16. 98

earnings of^

~

Women

men's

$12.18
9.19

84.1
89.3

12.'46
14.05
11.94
21. 12

71.9
70.2
67.9
62. 6

19.16
15.30

67.3
62.0

13.16
10.30

67.6
78.4

15. 28
11.90

66. 9
67.5

14.86
11.44

62.8
65.3

14.15
11. 85

62.7
69. 8

Several other recent studies, made chiefly t y the Women's Bureau,
have reported the wages of women and men, and all of these reinforce
the evidence presented to the effect that the level of women's wages




58

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

is much below that of men's.
i n these are as follows:

The average weekly earnings reported
Average weekly earnings of— Percent woiMn'i
average is of
Men
Women
men's

Jewelry (Rhode Island), 1936 "
Leather gloves (New Y o r k ) , 1933
Men's clothing, 1936:
Shirt&—Dress (11 States)
W o r k (8 States)
Underwear—Cotton (9 States)
K n i t (12 States)
Work clothing (17 States)
Shoes (New Hampshire), 1933:
Welt (highest plant average)
M c K a y (highest plant average)

$19. 37
23. 45

$12. 67
12. 65

65. 4
53. 9

18. 35
15. 55
16. 70
18.10
17. 25

13. 50
9. 85
11. 40
12.85
12. 50

73. 6
63. 3
68. 3
71.0
72. 5

23. 75
27. 55

17. 40
13. 25

73. 3
4a 1

n study made by the Rhode Island Department of Labor, Division of Women and Children.

Piece-Work P a y a Large Factor i n W o m e n ' s Wages.
M a n y manufacturing industries make wide use of some system of
pay b y the piece or amount produced rather than b y the t i m e worked.
T h a t this tends to be more generally the case i n the large womanemploying than i n the great man-employing industries is indicated
f r o m a recent study b y the National Industrial Conference Board,
organization of large employing interests. This showed t h a t some
60 to 80 percent of the workers were paid b y time worked i n the
iron and steel, automotive, chemical, and machine and machine-tool
industries, large man-employers, while the outstanding womanemployers had much smaller proportions of time workers, as follows:
Textiles, 45 percent; leather, 39 percent; clothing, 16 percent.^
For the wage to be obtained on a piece-rate basis of pay, the crucial
question lies i n the method of fixing the piece rate. I n spite of elaborate systems worked out for this purpose and m a n y successful efforts
to establish a reasonable rate, i n the final analysis the piece rate is
fixed on the basis of the time rate i n the same or similar jobs, upon
what the management considers the worker should earn i n t h a t job.
A n d i t has been the custom to place a t a low value m a n y jobs performed by large numbers of women w i t h o u t sufladent regard for the
careful workmanship and expertness such jobs require. There are
many examples to show t h a t when the management feels t h a t the
worker is earning too much, moves are made to lower the piece rate.
The piece rate m a y be worked out b y scientific study, or i t may be
based on the considered judgment of a foreman. I n the National
Industrial Conference Board study referred to, i t was found t h a t in
practicalh^ one-tenth of the plants reported piece rates were set by
the foreman on his own responsibility, and i n about one-half as many
plants b y the foreman w i t h approval by a higher a u t h o r i t y (not a
time-study speciahst), or b y a plant executive. The plants reported
on i n this instance were large, for the most p a r t ; for example, the
«Nationallndustrlal Conference Board.




Financial Incentives.

1935. pp. 19, 23.

COIVIPENSATION OF WOMEN

59

clothing companies included averaged over 800 workers, the textile
mills more than 1,000.
I n smaller plants, and consequently where many women are
employed, as i n small textile and clothiDg establishments, the management can i l l afford a time-study specialist and must depend more
generally on itself and its foremen to determine women's rates.
Moreover, even where the newer methods are used they do not, i n
the absence of minimum-wage laws, provide adequate means of protecting the worker against the fixmg of a rate so low as to result i n
too small a wage, and this is especially true i n the case of women, since
tradition has held their work of low money worth.
Additional evidence oi the fact that piece rates very often may be
based largely on traditional practice or opinion i n plants where many
women are employed is found i n a Women's Bureau survey of the shoe
iadustry i n New Hampshire,^^ i n which typical plant statements as
to the way i n which such rates were determined are as follows:
Forelady sets them according to prevailing prices i n the city, and goes over
them w i t h foreman.
When designs change we experiment and set up i n our own minds fair returns
for days or weeks worked, and piece rates are computed from basic hourly rates.

The chaotic condition of piece-rate fbdng is indicated still further
i n the wide variation from plant to plant found i n women's earnings
i n five occupations i n nine laundry plants i n one State. These data
were taken i n M a y 1933 and analyzed by the Women's Bureau.^^
The range i n the median pay for the same occupation i n these nine
plants was as follows:
Ceids per hour

Flatironers
Finishers
Press operators
Sorters
Markers

16^
UK
12%
13

to
to
to
to
to

27
34
28
24
32

W i t h the wide variation i n methods of fixing piece rates, and w i t h
their basis influenced largely by the custom of low pay i n jobs performed b y many women, the low earnings of women on piece-work
jobs cannot be attributed to any less efficiency on their part, especially
since jobs are found where many women are paid less than men but
some women earn more than any man. For example, i n a recent
Women's Bureau survey including wage information on men and
women as loopers and kiiitters i n hosiery mills and as machine operators i n men's work clothes plants, the figures show that i n these
occupations paid by piece work a fairly large proportion of women
but few men earned less than 25 cents an hour, but also few or no men
but appreciable numbers of women earned 45 cents or more an hour.
Moreover, variations i n the r u n of material, i n the coarseness, fineU S. Department of Labor. Women's Bureau. A Survey of the Shoe Industry in New Hampshire.
Bui. 121. 1935. pp. 80, 81.
" I b i d . Variations i n Wage Rates Under Corresponding Conditions. Bui. 122. 1935 p. 7.




71

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

ness, or other attribute of the product worked upon, m a y make great
differences i n the r a p i d i t y w i t h w h i c h the job can be done and consequently i n the pay received.
A telling b i t of evidence of the superior productive power of women
is found i n a survey made under wartime industrial conditions, where
many women were employed i n plants and on processes to which they
had not been accustomed,® I n well over one-fourth of the plants
reported, the o u t p u t of women and girls was found to be greater than
t h a t of men and boys. (Women were said to be more productive than
men b y 64 percent of the production managers reporting for the metal
industries and b y 20 percent of those reporting f o r the clothing industries.) I n a study of women employed i n the metal trades made at
about the same time b y the National I n d u s t r i a l Conference Board,^^
two-thirds of the employers reporting on production stated that
women's o u t p u t was equal to or greater t h a n t h a t of men.
Wages o£ W o m e n a n d M e n i n Special M a n u f a c t u r i n g Occupations.
The relation of men's and women's wages m a y be s h o w where
workers of b o t h sexes are engaged i n certain characteristic occupations
i n important woman-employing industries, bearing i n m i n d the foregoing explanation of some of the effects of the piece-work system on
women's pay and its indications t h a t women's o u t p u t is effectively
maintained. Though earnings of women v a r y less f r o m men's i n an
occupation t h a n i n an industry as a whole, y e t these occupational
data show women's earnings levels consistently well below men's.
U p to this point the discussion has dealt w i t h the differences i n the
levels of women's and men's weeldy earnings—or yearly earnings
where they could be obtained—the amounts they had to live on i n the
period under consideration. I n discussing the particular occupations
i n manufacturing industries i n which men and women are engaged,
their hourly earnings w i l l be used where possible, to eliminate any discrepancies i n time worked.
I t is an exceedingly difficult t h i n g to find exactly comparable occupations. Some years ago, a B r i t i s h report b y Beatrice Webb stated:
I t is extremely rare i n industry to find men and women performing exactly
the same operations, making identical things b y the same processes, or doing
the whole of each other's jobs. Even where women are substituted for men,
there is, practically always, some alteration i n the process, or i n the machinery employed, or i n the arrangement of the tasks of the operatives, or in the
way i n which the labor is divided."

W i t h increasing mechanization of industry, m i n u t e subdivisions of
tasks, and multiplication of processes, this statement is even more true
» Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. Committee on Industrial Welfare. The Substitution of Woman
for M a n Power in Industry. July 1918. pp. 13-14. 25-26
" National Industrial Conference Board. War Time Employment of "Women in the Metal Trades.
July 1918. p. 30.
if Webb, Mrs. Sidney. The Relation Between Men's and Women's Wages. Minority Report of Great
Britain's War Cabinet Committee on Womenin Industry. 1919. p. 270.




COMPENSATION OP W O M E N

.

,

72

today than when i t was written. Moreover, even though the process
were the same, variation i n the coarseness or fineness, heaviness or
lightness of the product worked upon, and other factors affecting the
raw material or the flow of work, make differences even i n the same
job at different times.
Kecognizing this, the Women's Bureau examined the pay i n occupations i n a large number of plants making paper products, and found
the following essentially identical processes performed i n each case
by a woman and a man, or by women and laenJ^
Great care has been taken i n matching these occupations. For
example, where material was brought up for one sex i t also was for
the other; machines were not set up by the operator i n any of these
cases. I n almost every case, the men were paid 40 cents or more an
hour, the women 35 to 38 cents. Moreover, 40 cents was the usual
minimum for the more unskilled jobs of men and boys i n the plants.
The average hourly wage of the person or persons doing this work was
as follows:
Average hourly wage of—
Plant product

Collapsible tubes
Food dishes

L o o s e - l e a f and
blank books.
Paper bags

Men
(cents)

Occupation or proccss

Feeding metal into a form which shaped
the tube when worker pressed treadle.
Pounding out sections from piles of diecut boxes.
Gluing paper for sides of cups

Women
(cents)

40

37M-40

40

35

43
40
40-43

35-37
38
35

48

48

35

30

40

35

ends.
Gold stamping (apress operation)
General w o r k ; including inspection and
operating punch presses.
Platen-press operating

Earnings for August 1935 reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
in a study of the folding-paper-box industry further confirm these
findings. I n six characteristic occupations employing numbers of
both sexes, men's average hourly earnings were above 40 cents,
women's below that amount i n all cases. These averages are as
follows: ^
Average hourly tarningi of—
Men
{cents)

Press feeders
Strippers
Automatic gluing- and
feeders.... . . .
Machine helpers
Bundlers and packers
Machine feeders

50.6
48.3
folding-machine
.!

Women
(cerUs)

Percent vomen's
average is oj men*s

38.4
37.6

75.9
77.8

44 2
45.3
49. 2
46.6

3^6
36. 9
38. 1
38.5

87.3
81.5
77. 4
82.6

These figures illustrate another fact that frequently is found i n connection w i t h wages of the two sexes, namely, that while men's wages
at the lowest are above women's, yet men's wages i n the different
* For a fuller description of these processes, see Women's Bareau Bui. 152, Differences in the Earnings
of Women and M e n
I n press
^ V. 8. Bureau of'Labor Statistics. M o n t h l y Labor Review, June 1936, pp. 16,97.




73

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

occupations i n an industry vary more widely than do women's. I n
other words, women's wages i n many manufacturing industries do not
deviate widely from a consistent low level, w i t h some variation below
this; men's are at a higher level, and they vary more above t h a t level.
The pay i n occupations of men and women has been reported in a
recent study made by the Division of Women and Children in the
Khode Island Department of Labor of the jewelry industry, i n which
employment is fairly well divided between the sexes (men 41 percent,
women 59 percent). The average hourly earnings of the men and
women i n characteristic productive occupations employing considerable numbers of both sexes were as follows: ^
Areroffe hourljf earntngs of—
77Z
ur'^ZZ
Percent u omen*8
Men
Women
average is af
{ce-nts)
{cerds)
men's

Bench hands
Power-press operators
F o o t - a n d hand-press operators
Colorers
Stonesetters
Solderers

42.8
41. 8
37.3
42.5
63.5
47.2

32.3
30.7
31.9
28.1
32.6
35.5

"75.5
73. 4
85.5
66.1
51.3
75.2

Studies of various textile industries made i n 1934 or lat^r by the
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics give further occupational
data, showing women's earnings consistently below men's. The average hourly earnings reported i n these are as follows: ^
Cotton (North), August 1934:
Weavers
Speeder tenders
Frame spinners
Filling hands
Silk and rayon:
Weavers
Spinners
Warpers
Woolen and worsted:
Weavers
Spinners, frame
Drawing-frame tenders
Gill-box tenders

Arerage hourly
'
TTZ
Men
icents)

earnings r/—
;;;
Percent women's
IVomen
amageisof
{cents)
men's

44.2
45. 4
44. 5
34.3

43.5
40. 2
37. 8
33.5

98.4
88. 5
84. 9
97.7

48.2
45.6
62.0

43.3
35.6
49.9

89.8
78. 1
80.5

56.2
53. 4
39. 3
38. 9

51.5
41.2
37.8
37. 5

91.6
77. 2
96. 2
96. 4

The various parts sewed by machine operators on coats are shown
from an earlier study of the men's clothing industry by the same
agency. The average hourly earnings reported i n these occupations
are as follows:
Average hourly earnings of—
;;
Percent uomtn's
Men
Women
average is of
(cenis)
(cents)
men's

Pocket makers
Sleeve seamers
L i n i n g makers
Joiners, side and back seams

73.
59.
63.
70.

7
2
6
2

43.
42.
41!
41.

1
7
9
6

58.
72.
65!
59.

5
1
9
3

D e p a r t m p t of Labor. Division of Women and Children. Survey of Hours, Wages,
and other Conditions of Employment in the Jewelry Industry in the State of Rhode Island, December 1936.
pp. 43, 44.
" U . S . Bureau of Labor Statistics. Textile Report, parts I , I I , and m . 1935. pp. 23, 38, and 41 and
unpublished data.
Ibid. Wages and Hours of Labor in the Men's Clothing Industry. Bui. 694. 1932. pp. 29,30,31.




COIVIPENSATION OF W O M E N

3

I n Pennsylvania, an important State i n the manufacture of certain
types of clothing and textiles, a comprehensive study of the State's
employables was made by the Emergency Relief Administration i n
1934. For certain characteristic manufacturing occupations i n each
of which at least 1,000 workers of each sex were reported, much larger
proportions of the women than of the men on f u l l time received less
than $12.50 a week, as the following shows:
Percent Tccemng less than $12M

Textile manufacturing:
Weavers
Inspectors and examiners
Knitters (hosiery)
Clothing manufacturing:
Pewing-machine operators
Pressers
Finishers

Men
9.4
3. l
8. 1 '
44. 2
26. 3
11. 0

Womm
21.2
33. 6
24. 1
79. 1
58. 7
47. 7

One further illustration of the low earnings of women as compared
^vith men w i l l be sufficient to quote here, that of the shoe industry, a
large woman-employer i n which much of women's work is considerably
skilled. A survey made i n New Hampshire b y the Women's Bureau
i n 1933 showed the following average weekly earnings:
Average weekly earnings of-,

Welt shoes:
Stitching
Finishing and packing
M c K a y shoes:
Stitching.
Making, lasting

Men

Women

PercejU women's
average is of men's

$15. 15
15. 80

$10. 70
13. 10

70. 6
82. 9

9.75
16. 60

9.00
9. 00

92.3
54. 2

I n the preceding year, hourly earnings i n this industry reported by
the U n i t e d States Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an even greater
discrepancy between women's and men's wages. Their average
hourly earnings i n characteristic occupations requiring skill were as
follows:
Average hourly earnings of—
—
Percent wmitn's
Men
Women
average is of
(cents)
(cents)
men's

Vampers
Top stitchers
Skivers
Treers

-

56.9
60.3
53.7
43.3

35.5
33.8
35.4
30.5

62.4
56.1
65.9
70.4

Wages of W o m e n a n d of Unskilled M e n .
N o t only do the levels of women's wages ordinarily fall below those
of men i n the same industries and occupations, but i n many important
woman-employing industries women average lower earnings than men
who are engaged in' unskilled jobs. F r o m reports i n a Women's
Bureau survey of the industries i n one State made i n 1935, the hourly
wages of men i n entirely unskilled occupations have been ascertained
" Pennsylvania. State Emereency Relief Administration. Census of Employable Workers in Urban
and Rural Non-Farm Areas in Pennsylvania, 1934. 1936. p. 67.
_
^ ^ ^ , ^^
B 1 121'
Labor, Women's Bureau. A Survey of the Shoe Industry in New Hampshire
" tr. s'. Bureau^! Labor Statistics.
1932 Bui. 579. 1933. p . 2 4 f l .




Wages and Hours of Labor in the Boot and Shoe Industry, 1910 to

64

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

i n relation to the wages of all women i n the same industry.
comparisons are as follows:
Percent of women
in same industry
receiving less than
SO cents an hour

Usual average hourly wage of men on unskilled jobs
specified

These

Median hourly
earnings of
uromen
(cents)

(cents)
Seamless hosiery:
All
Carrying lots (of yarn) or bundles
of work, or helpers
30 K n i t t e r
Looper

33
40
28

32.0
31. 5
33.5

All
70
Sewing-machine
operator
63

26.0

All
15
Sewing-machine
operator
19

38.0

K n i t underwear:
Carrying work or bundles, giving
out work, belt boy, "general",
helper
30-35

All
26
Sewing-machine
operator
25

32.0
32.8

Paper boxes:
T y i n g bundles, machine helping,
hand wrapping
35-40

All.

28

32.0

All
Packer

81
77

28.0

32

32.0

9

37.1

Men's work clothes and shirts:
Bundle carrier, belt boy, cutter's
helper, miscellaneous and shipping clerk
30
Men's suits and overcoats:
Bundle carrier, general u t i l i t y
helper
45 or over

Cand;
uAskiUed.

32.5

Bakery:
Greasing and cleaning pans, dumping cakes, helping, p u t t i n g i n and
taking out of oven
35-40

All
Wrapper
packer

27.8

39. 1

2&1

and

Another source of information on the wages of women compared
w i t h those of imskilled men is i n the periodic wage reports of the
National Industrial Conference Board, organization of large employing interests. Over a period of years extending regularly back to
1920, this agency has reported the average weeldy earnings of sldlled
and semiskilled men, unskilled men, and women, monthly and also
w i t h an average for the year. For the most part, the average received
by women has been only about three-fourths as much as that of
unskilled men, running to larger proportions, however, i n the depression years when men's wages were very low. The proportions women's
averages formed of those of unskilled men i n the various years were
as follows:
Percent women's
average of
unskilled men's

1920 (average for 7 m o n t h s ) . 68. 0
192 1
77. 1
1922 (average for 6 months). 78. 0
1923
77.4
1924
74.7
1925
74.9
192G
74.4
1927
73.8
193 ^^p

Industrial Conference Board.




Percent women's
average is of
unskilled men's

1028.
1929.
1930_
1931.
1932.
1933.
1931.
1935,

...
...

71.8
72.2
73.0

. . . 76.6
81.0

. . . 82.8
...

87.9
83.6

Wages, Hours, and Employment in the United States, 1914-

COMPENSATION OP W O M E N

.

,

76

These figures include more workers from the large man-employiug
industries, such as steel, automobiles, building construction, and the
heavier metal industries, than from the more outstanding womanemployers. When the data for separate industries are taken, and
the more important of the woman-employers reported are considered,
i t is found t h a t i n only two out of eight—the boot and shoe and the
hosiery and knit-wear industries, i n both of which women perform
jobs of considerable skill at piece rates—did women earn more than
unskilled men, and even i n these cases women still received much less
than all men together. These figures for a late month (November
1936) are as follows:
Peruvt women's
average earnings
are of unskilled
men's

Boots and shoes
Cotton (North)
Electrical manufacturing.
Hosiery and k n i t goods _ _ _

113. 6
80. 6
79. 6
102. 8

Percent women's
average earnings
are of unskilled
men*s

Meat packing
Paper products
Silk
Wool

80. 1
75.1
65. 5
90. 0

T h a t women's earnings i n factories are below the entrance rates
of common labor on new construction, repair, and cleaning for street
and sewer work is shown i n a comparison of women's earnings reported
by the Women's Bureau i n 1935 or 1936 w i t h common labor entrance
rates i n September 1935. The latter are the rates paid adult males
when first hired to '^perform physical or manual labor of general
character, requiring little skill or training", workers '^having no
specific productive jobs or occupations", "thus excluding machine
operators and semiskilled employees" (whose pay would be presumed
to be somewhat more).®^
Of the street and sewer laborers reported, more than half i n the
South and nearly all i n the N o r t h had entrance rates of 32K cents an
hour or more. Comparisons of the earnings of these street and sewer
laborers w i t h those of white women i n manufacturing industries
reported i n the same States, as surveyed by the Women's Bureau,
show that the earnings level of these women was definitely lower
than that of unskilled men when first hired, as follows:
,

Arkansas
Delaware
West V i r g i n i a . .
Tennessee

Average hourly
Percent of women Average hourly
entrance rates of
earning (ess than
earnings of
adult male comSO cents an hour
women (cents) mon labor (cents}

«74.9
39.4
21.8
«31.7

^<^23.1
33.6
34.5
3«32.3

24.6
38.6
39.5
32.2

» White women.
®

Though the entrance rate for common labor i n Tennessee was 32.2
cents, i t is a striking fact that the average was almost as low or was
much lower i n a number of important woman-employing industries,
U . S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
1936, p. 699.




M o n t h l y Labor Review, December 1932, p. 1462, and March
. ,

77

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

some of which include relatively skilled operations.
follows:

These were as

Percent of women
earning less than
30 cents an hour

Averagt hourly
earnings of
women
(cents)

32. 9
69. 6
5.7
77. 8
96.4

31. 5
25. 8
32.8
26. 9
17.4

Seamless hosiery
Men's work clothes and shirts
Cotton mills
Department stores
Laundries

I n the electrical supply i n d u s t r y i n which women perform semiskilled w o r k requiring a Mgh degree of dexterity and close application,
the average entrance rate of adult male common labor as reported
b y the U n i t e d States Bureau of Labor Statistics for the East N o r t h
Central D i s t r i c t compares as follows w i t h women's average earnings
as reported b y two States i n the same district:
Average weekly earnings
of women
Ohio

1929
1934

$19.00
15.00

Illinois

$21.06
14.85

Average entrance
ratts of male
common labor»»

$22.84
14.73

3 Illinois figures are for July, the month for which the common labor entrance rates are reported. The
5
Ohio figures are reported once a year, for the week of peak employment.
The weekly figure was obtained by use of the average hourly rate (48.4 cents in July 1929 and 43 7 cents
i n July 1934} and the average actual hours worked in the industry (47.2 hours in 1029 and 33.7 in 1934).

I n d u s t r i a l H o i n e W o r k a Factor i n Depressing W o m e n ' s Wages. ^
One of the influences t h a t tend to keep down wages i n certain
industries is the giving out f r o m the factory, eitheT directly or through
contractors or even b y mail, of articles to be made i n whole or i n part
or of processes to be done i n homes.
The theory advanced to support industrial home w o r k is t h a t i t
gives opportunity for women at home to earn i n their leisure time.
W h a t actually happens, however, is t h a t i t is n o t merely a use of
leisure time. A l l investigations of the situation have shown t h a t i n
the m a j o r i t y of such cases home workers, including several members
of the f a m i l y and frequently small children, w o r k incessantly for long
hours at these processes—often for much longer t h a n would be allowed
i n the factory. The nervous strain and other effects on health thus
may be quite as serious as those resulting f r o m factory work for
excessive hours or under unsuitable conditions. T h e " m o n e y i n
leisure t i m e " theory is wholly untenable. A study made b y the
Women's Bureau and the Children's Bureau i n 1934 found two-fifths
of the chief home workers i n the f a m i l y w o r k i n g 40 hours a week or
more; a f o u r t h of them worked 50 hours or longer and some had
worked more t h a n 70 hours.^^
" For additional discussion and comparisons for other industries, see Women's Bureau Bui. 152, Differences
i n the Earnings of Women and M e n . I n press.
« This discussion on home work, pp. 66 to 70, based on Women's Bureau Bui. 130, pp. 62-54,136*138, and
Bui. 135, pp. 15,26, unless otherwUe specified.
« U . S. Department of Labor. ChUdren's Bureau. Industrial Home W o r k Under the National
Recovery Administration. Publication No. 234. 1036. p. 12.




COIVIPENSATION OF WOMEN

7

I t is even more difficult for the industrial home worker than for the
factory worker to seek to obtain a better wage. The home worker
comes alone to the employer's shop, or to his subcontractor, seeking
work. The course of her work does not bring her into contact w i t h
her fellow employees. She cannot judge from her own experience
whether her skill, speed, or other aptitude is as good as the average
or not. She may need work badly, and she has no adequate measure
of what the work handed out to her should be worth.
The method of industrial home work is applied to unskilled and
semiskilled hand work as well as to skilled hand crafts that customarily
have been performed by women. I t has been estimated that such
work is done i n more than 75,000 American homes. The clothing
industries lend themselves especially to such a system, since many of
their processes now done i n factories formerly were done i n the
individual home,*^ and tradition attributes these types of work to
women and thus associates them w i t h low pay. I n New York i n 1934
about three-fourths of the home workers reported were at work on
clothing.
Besides embroidery and clothing, home-work occupations include
stringing tags (now being eliminated); carding buttons, hooks and
eyes, bobby pins, or safety pins; shelling nuts; addressing envelopes;
hooking rugs; k n i t t i n g and crocheting; decorating post cards; preparing meat balls, rice cakes, and tea balls for restaurants; making
garters; and worlc on cheap jewelry, lamp shades, powder puffs,
paper boxes and bags, carpet rags, and toys.
The actual pay for the industrial processes when done i n the home
is far below what they are paid w i t h i n the factoiy, and i t frequently
is true t h a t several members of the family, including small children,
must work to obtain these earnings. I n two studies reporting the pay
for skilled needlework done i n the home on handkerchiefs and candlewick spreads, half the workers had received less than $3 i n the week.
New Y o r k reports show that even during prosperous years such
work brought an average wage as low as $6, $5, and even $4 for a
week's work i n typical home-work industries. More recent wage
reports include such statements as "20 cents an hour for a dozen dolls'
dresses" that take 4 hours to make, or "14 cents an hour for expert
crochet beading"; a recent Women's Bureau siu^ey showed Georgia
women receiving 2 to 14 cents an hour for making a candle^vick bedspread. I n general, wages for long hours of work i n the home, often
for highly skilled sewing and hand work, ordinarily have been below
the worst factory payments for unskilled labor.^
While industrial home work is i n the first instance a question of
woman employment, the fact is that i t involves as well many children
Department of Labor.
1935. p. 52.




79

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

i n the homes affected. For this reason the Women's Bureau and the
Children's Bureau jointly made a study i n 1934 of more than 2,300
home workers i n 28 industries i n seven States, including more than 24
home-work operations. I t was found that over 80 percent of the
chief home workers i n the family had earned only 20 cents an hour or
less. Where both hours and earnings were reported, more than 60
percent of those that had worked 40 hours or more i n the week had
received less than $5 for their labor.*^
I n a survey i n Texas made by the Women's Bureau only 1 of 107
women had earned as much as $5 i n the week for steady and regular
work on fine dresses for children. Examples are as follows:
A skilled worker on embroidered and lace-trimmed children's dresses worked
steadily S}i hours for 4 days to make a dozen dresses at SI.75 the dozen.
T w o sisters by steady work made i n a week 20 machine-stitched dresses with
hand fagoting, and for this received together only $3.

W o r k at such prices, done i n places remote from the centers of
industry, competes w i t h that i n factories located elsewhere and
undoubtedly causes low wages i n New York, Connecticut, and other
States.
I n a study by the Women's Bureau of industrial home workers
making lace i n Rhode Island, almost three-fourths of all home workers
reported earnings of less than $10 for the week.''® I n a similar study
made by the M i n i m u m Wage Division i n Connecticut median weekly
earnings of famiUes doing home work ranged for 4 weeks from $3.38
to $4.20.^^
I n a study of families doing industrial home work made by the
Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, half of the homework families reporting weekly earnings i n 1934 made $3.54 or less,
although these wages sometimes represented the work of several members of the family. Only 11 percent of the families visited had earned
as much as $8 a week from home work at a time when the State
Emergency Relief Board set $8.25 a week as the relief allowance for
food and clothes alone for a family of five having no other resoiurces.
Five was the size of the average home-work family.'*®
A typical case sho^ving standards of pay for industrial home work
for highly skilled craftsmanship was reported from Philadelphia by
a Women's Bureau agent. The home worker visited was Imitting a
three-piece suit; for the^ skirt she was to get $7.75, for the blouse $8,
for the coat $7. This represented a month's work at .66 hours a week,
and thus would yield less than $6 a week. Her total month's pay would
S r ' l i p M ^ S ^ ' ^ '
"fllhM*
"
La^

^^^

Administration

Bill, 130. 1935 p. 62.
M u s t m l Home Work in Rhode Island. Bui. 131. 1935. p. 14.
Minimum Wage Division. Home Work in the Connecticut

nniS^^?^
J'
I n d ^ t r y . Bureau of Women and ChUdren.
Home Work in Pennsylvama Under the N . B. A . March 1935. pp. 1,4. •




Industrial

COMPENSATION OP W O M E N

.

,

80

be $22.75 on a sxiit to be sold at retail for $100.^® The factory wage
for the least skilled type of knitwear (seamless hosiery) in, a southern
State averaged $10.20 a week.^
I n certain territorial quarters the pay for industrial home work is
even lower than on the mainland. For example, i n a survey of
women's occupations i n Puerto Rico made by the Women's Bureau i n
1933-34, well over half the women who had done a week's work on
fine embroidery had received less than $1.®*
Earnings for industrial home work not only are low i n themselves,
but they tend to lower factory wage standards. They oblige the
factory employer to cut costs to meet the competition of the lowselling home-work product, and at the same time the home-work
manufacturer is seriously exploiting the home. For under the industrial home-work system the manufacturer passes on to the individual home many of his overhead expenses, such as rent, heat, light,
and other normal work requirements, even macliinery—as, for example, i n the sewing processes where the worker furnishes her own
sewing machine; i n knitting, her own needles. Furthermore, the
home worker usually is responsible for getting and returning the work,
or has to pay for such delivery from her meager receipts. She is
responsible for spoiled work and either has to pay cash for spoiled
materials or has to make corrections without pay. Often she must
make an i n i t i a l cash deposit to cover cost of all material until she is
paid for the work. Frequently she must make several samples of a
pattern at her own expense before she can begin on paid work. I n
these ways the manufacturer keeps his costs so low as to give him an
unfair competitive advantage, so that he can undersell the man who
maintains an establishment and pays the normal overhead costs.
I n still another way i n d u s t r i i work done i n the home tends to
depress factory wages, for i t is highly seasonal and often is used to
help carry peak loads. The manufacturer takes no responsibility for
maintaining an employment level for even a small group of workers.
This discourages the development of greater regularity i n factory
employment and thus affects the regularity of factory wages. I n a
variety of ways, industrial home work forms a constant force tending
to undermine labor standards that always are built up w i t h so much
difficulty.
Finally, the amounts received for the industrial work done i n the
home, even w i t h several members of the family so employed, often are
so low t h a t the family is unable to maintain itself and has to be given
relief. Thus the manufacturing interest involved not only pays a
low wage, tends to force down factory wages, and so exploits the
home, but also is, i n a very real sense, subsidized by the community.
;; See Women's Bureau Bui. 130, Employed Women Under N . R. A. Cod^. 1935. p. 138.
w XJ. S. Department of Labor. Women's Bureau. Employment of Women in Tennessee Industries. Bui.
149. 1937. p. 8.
Ibid. The Employment of Women In Puerto Rico. Bui. 118. 1934. p. 8.




70

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

I n the Study of Connecticut lace makers referred to, one-fourth of the
famiKes where such work was done were on the relief rolls. In
January 1935, one-fourth of the Philadelphia home workers reported
by manufacturers of infants' and children's wear were from families
receiving relief, according to a check made w i t h relief agencies.
GENERAL LEVELS OF MEN'S AND WOMEN'S WAGES I N DOMESTIC AND
PERSONAL SERVICE

I n domestic and personal service the occupations of the two sexes
usually differ considerably, but the variations in pay are even wider
and there are great differences in pay even when the job requirements
would seem to be similar. I n a survey of household employees in
Philadelphia i n 1926, the average monthly wages for members of the
two sexes who lived i n the homes of their employers and hence were
furnished w i t h room and board follow:
Men

Butlers
Housemen

Women

$90. 00
7£. 50

Cooks
Chambermaids
Waitresses

$75. 00
69. 65
71. 65

A more recent survey i n Pennsylvania is that of the State's employables i n 1934 by the State Emergency Relief Administration. Though
the following include both household employees and those i n restaurants, a strikingly larger proportion of women than of men received
less than $12.50 a week for fuU-time work, as follows:
Percent receiving under
Men

Cooks
Waiters
Domestic servants not elsewhere classified,_

tliJO

Women

33.2
46. 0
69. 7

64 6
77. 6
92. 1

Available information as to beauty parlors shows the average
weekly wages of men and women as follows:
Average weekly earnings o/—
Percent women*s
Men

average is of men's

$22. 60

Women's Bureau report, 1933 (four cities)._

Women

$14. 25

63. 3

I n a survey of laundries made by the Women's Bureau i n 1934, the
ranges i n the average weekly earnings of the two sexes i n productive
labor operations i n 21 cities were as follows:
Average weekly earnings cf—
Men

White
Negro «

Women

$12. 50 to $21. 45
9. 66 to 16. 23

$6. 67 t o $13. 05
5. 01 t o 11. 77

" 16 cities.

The averages of white women i n the various cities ranged from 33.2
to 67.8 percent of those of white men, and i n 14 of the 21 cities women
averaged less than 60 percent as much as men.
«>Ibid.

Household Employment I n Philadelphia.




B u i . D3.

1932.

pp. 40, 41.

COIVIPENSATION OF WOMEN

82

Others of the largest woman-employers i n domestic and personal
service are hotels and restaurants. Late figures (November 1936)
from the one State (Illinois) regularly reporting such data by sex show
the average weekly earnings of women considerably below those of
men, as follows:
Average weektjf earnings o/—
—
Percent women's
Men

Women

$18. 73
15. 81

Hotels
Restaurants

$13. 76
12. 81

average ts of men*s

73. 5
81. 0

I n a survey of these industries, made by the Women's Bureau in
the spring of 1934, data for New York show that in both hotels and
restaurants, and i n both service and nonservice occupations, a considerably larger proportion of men than of women earned as much
as S15.
GENERAL L E V E t S OF MEN'S AND WOMEN'S WAGES I N CLERICAL
OCCUPATIONS

Next to domestic and personal service, clerical occupations employ
more women than any other general type of work. This work usually
is paid by time, and hence the amounts received form a clear picture
of the differences i n the levels of pay for men and women. They
indicate t h a t w i t h but rare exceptions these levels for men are well
above those for women.
I n a study of clerical workers' earnings i n several cities i n 1931-32,
the Women's Bureau reported data on men's as well as women's
earnings for one city—Chicago.®* These showed, for all occupations
combined, rates of women averaging only about three-fourths as
much as men. The median monthly rates i n the various clerical
occupations reported were as follows:
Median monthlv rate of— Percent women's
average is
Men
Women
of men's

A l l occupations
File clerks
Hand bookkeepers
General clerks
Machine operators:
Bookkeeping or billing.
Calculating!
Messengei^-..
Supervisors
Merchandising (mail o r d e r ) . .

-

$135
80
162
115
98
98
65
241
97

$99
80
122
90
^
108
95
56
153
67

73.3
100.0
75.3
78.3
^
110. 2
96.9
86.2
63.5
69. 1

I n Pennsylvania, the survey of employables made i n 1934 by the
State Emergency Relief Administration shows that i n most clerical
occupations reported from more than a tenth to nearly a fifth of the
women received less than $12.50 a week for full-time work, but in
" For fuller data, including differences in earnings by type of establishment, see Women's Bureau Bui.
120, The Employment of Women in Offices. 1S34.

1504S3-—37

6




72

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

every case a much smaller proportion of the men were paid so little.
The figures are as follows:
PerceTU receiving less than

Clerks:
Filing
Office
Other
Bookkeepers
Typists
Stenographers
Secretaries

^^^
5.9
5.7
8.2
13
9. 4
5. 9
2. 7

fig^

Wom^n
16.7
17.8
19.4
14.9
16.3
12.4
7.9

I n industries surveyed i n 1934 and 1935, the United States Bureau
of Labor Statistics reported the following average w^eekly wages of
workers i n the offices of manufacturing plants:
Avnoffe weeklu tcage of—

Automobile plants:
Cars
Parts
Paper-box plants:
Folding
Set-up
Textile dyeing and finishing:
Cotton
Silk and rayon

^ ^

Percent womn*t
average is
of men*s

Women

$26. 25
24 24

$20. 40
20.06

77.7
82.8

24. 88
22.58

20. 10
14.15

80. 8
62.7

19. 38
23. 84

15. 00
16. 73

77. 4
70. 2

Two States, New York and Ohio, have reported the earnings of
clerical workers regularly over a considerable period of years. New
York reports for October of every year the earnings of office employees
i n the manufacturing plants that report factory wages each month.
Ohio's reports are for bookkeepers, stenographers, and office clerks,
whether i n factories or other t3T)es of establishments, and the earnings
arc reported by the employer for the peak employment week of the
year. The average weekly earnings in the latest year available
follow:
Average weekly earnings o/— Percent women's
•
—
average it
Men
Women
of men's

n u ^ Tn?^'
Ohio, 1935

—

32. 67
75

$21. 80
18. 31

49. 4
67. 9

The proportions women's averages formed of men's in the various
years from 1923 on have varied little from year to year and range
as follows:
Percent women's
average is of men's

New York
Ohio
GENERAL

LEVELS

48 6
4
OF M E N ' S AND

WOMEN'S

to
to

WAGES I N

51.5
59.4
SALES

OCCUPATIONS

The occupation of salespersons where based on time-work pay
forms another illustration of the wage levels of men and women, and
these show men, on the whole, having a wage very much above that of
women. For example, i n a recent survey by the Women's Bureau,
salesmen i n department stores were found to be receiving considerably




COMPENSATION OP WOMEN

.

,

84

more than saleswomen, though the pay of the two sexes compared
more favorably when selling was combined w i t h other work considered
more responsible. The levels of men's and women's wages are indicated by the following data as to their hourly earnings:
Men

Median hourly earnings.
Percent receiving less than 30 cents
Percent receiving 50 cents or more

Women

36. 7 cents
34. 6
26. 0

2a 4 cents
70. 5
2. 8

Many of these saleswomen i n department stores received even less
than men i n unskilled jobs i n these stores. Of the men reported as
general u t i l i t y workers, packers, cleaners, and parcel-check boys,
practically a t h i r d earned more than 30 cents an hour, though more
than seven-tenths of the women reported were paid less than 30 cents.
Further sources of information on employees i n department stores
are certain State figures. I n Illinois the average weekly earnings for
the two sexes i n November 1936 were as follows:
Average weekly earnings of—
Men

Women

$22. 79

$11. 73

Percent toomen's average
is of men's

51. 5

Ohio figures on salespersons i n stores (not traveling) have been
reported i n every year since 1914, and show that in most of these years
the average weekly rates of women have been less than half those of
men. The latest figures immediately available, those for 1935, show
the following average weekly rates:
Aierage weekly rates of—
Men

Women

Percent women'^ average
of men's

$19. 87

$13. 64

68. 1

I n the survey of employables made by the Pennsylvania State
Emergency Relief Administration i n 1934, while 21.6 percent of the
salesmen received less than $12.50 for a f u l l week's work, the proportion of saleswomen so low paid was more than twice as great—
46.7 percent.
GENERAL LEVELS OF M E N ' S AND WOMEN'S EARNINGS
PROFESSIONAL SERVICE

IN

I n the professions, as well as i n the other types of employment
discussed, women often are found receiving less than men for work
requiring the same responsibility. For the occupation i n which the
largest group of professional women is engaged, that of teaching,
data are available on the salaries of the two sexes, both from periodic
surveys by the National Education Association and from the Federal
reports of the Office of Education. ^ ' According to the 1930 census,
practically four-fifths of the school teachers are women,®® though i t is
" For most other women's professional occupations, no data by sex are at hand.

For data as to women's

I t abo is the case with figures reported chiefly for public and elementary
schools by the Office of Education in its biennial reports.




74

W O M E N I N THE ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

common knowledge that men usually predominate greatly i n positions
of educational authority, such as board memberships, school principalships, i n teaching positions i n the higher ranks, or even as executive officers of teachers' organizations.
I n 1930, 10 of the 48 States and the District of Columbia had
laws requiring equal pay for men and women teachers." Reports
to the National Education Association as to the salary schedules in
1934-35 for teachers i n the public schools of 78 cities of over 100,000
i n population show that 63 of these schedules i n cities i n 29 States ^
and the District of Columbia made no difference i n pay to the two
sexes. The schedules i n the other 15 cities, scattered i n 8 States/®
provided for the minimimi salaries of men to be from $100 to $768
more than those for women in similar positions. Men's maximum
salaries were to bo from $200 to $1,200 more than those of women in
the same classes of work.
A recent report of the National Education Association included 150
salary schedules adopted i n cities of various sizes.®® About onefourth of these provided for differences i n the pay of women and men.
This was more frequently the case i n the schedules for the smaller
cities, while i t was more usual for those for the larger places to provide
a uniform schedule for the two sexes.
The National Education Association has repeatedly gone on record
for equal pay for men and women, its first expression being as follows
i n 1914:
The Association regards efficiency and merit, rather than sex, as the principle on which appointments and selections should be made, and therefore
declares itself i n favor of the political equality of the sexes and equal pay for
equal services.

The Research Bulletin of this agency reports the results of 22
studies of teachers' salaries, 20 of which recommended equal pay for
equal work. Brief statements from three of these represent typical
attitudes on this subject that would apply as well to occupations other
than teaching. These are as follows:
Discussing the report from Springfield, Mass.:
The report mentions on one side the economic argument—competition
w i t h other occupations and high cost of paying the women teachers salaries
high enough t o attract men teachers; and on the other side the social argu-

Louisiana,
Oklahoma, _
Unpublished
Association.
pinois. Massachu^tts, Mi^lgan, New Jersey, Oklahoma. Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
wVcS/io!^^'^^^^^^^^
t^®
proh&iting discrimination,
March igTefp^rs^ff*'"''' Association. The Preparation of Teachers' Salary Schedules.
S

Research BuUetin,

^^^ Stilletin of the National Education Association. September 1914. p. 21.

" Issue cit!i March 19361 p. 77.




COIVIPENSATION OF WOMEN

75

ment—the decline i n morale when women are required to do the same kind
of work a t a decidedly lower salary than men receive for similar work.

Quoting from a report from San Francisco:
T w o reasons have sustained the practice of paying men teachers higher
salaries t h a n women teachers; one, the fact t h a t men as a rule have been in
positions of authority as board members and executives; the other, an indirect
operation of the law of supply and demand. I t is an indisputable fact t h a t
women teachers of equivalent training can be had for less money than men.
The range of openings i n commerce, industry, and business has, u n t i l very
recently, been very much more restricted for women than men. This
situation is rapidly changing and promises fair to alter this play of supply
and demand i n teaching. I t is no longer seriously contended that men are
better teachers merely by virtue of being men, and therefore deserving of
higher salaries.

Quoting from the writings of a man who holds strongly that because
of the law of supply and demand women must be paid less than men:
We believe t h a t there is no sound argument, professional or educational,
i n favor of paying men teachers higher salaries than women. Men are not
better teachers; they do not render more valuable service.

A report of the Office of Education shows the salaries of 5,822 men
and 1,068 women faculty members i n 50 land-grant universities and
colleges i n 1927-28.®® More than one-third of the men but only about
one-tenth of the women were full professors; at the other end of the
scale, instructorships accounted for only one-fourth of the men but
for well over two-fifths of the women. The women's salaries were
more nearly those of men as instructors than i n the higher ranks.
The median salaries for the various ranks were as follows:
Median salaries of—
Men
Women

A l l ranks
Dean
Professor
Associate professor
Assistant professor
Instructor

percent women*s acerage
is r/ men's

$3, 169

-

$2, 309

72. 9

5,635
4,139
3,284
2, 794
2,087

4,375
'3,581
2,882
2, 530
2,016

77.6
86.5
87.8
90. 6
96.6

The report sunmiarizes the situation as follows:
Salaries of women stafif members are lower than those of men. This situation prevails when comparisons are made upon a basis of the salaries of t o t a l
teachers f o r a l l fields combined, upon a basis of major divisions, and upon a
basis of arts and sciences departments. The median salary for women
teachers as a whole including all fields is S860 less than t h a t of men. Comparing the median salaries of the t w o sexes w i t h i n each of the m a j o r divisions,
i t is disclosed t h a t women staff members are paid from $886 t o $1,376 less
than men teachers i n the same fields. Similar differences exist i n the median
salaries of men and women staff members i n the arts and sciences departments. The largest difference is found i n the case of the department of history
" M c G a u g h y J r R . The^

Toward Scientific Salary Schedules.

In Teachers College Record,

^ M V . ^ S ^ t f e p a n S of the Interior. Office of Education Salaries in Land-Grant Universities and Colleges. B y John H . McNeely. November 1931. pp. 2 , 3 , 9 , 1 0 .




76

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S
and political science, where the median salary of women is $1,026. lower than
that of men, while the smallest is in the department of chemistry, where
women have a median salary $161 less than that of men. Moreover, in the
distribution of academic ranks the larger percentages of women teachers are
found holding the lower ranks while the larger percentages of men occupy
the higher ranks.

Additional information is afforded by the survey of employables
made i n 1934 by the Pennsylvania State Emergency Relief Administration. Though nearly three times as many women teachers as men
were reported, 6.6 percent of the women but only 1.8 percent of the
men had received less than $12.50 for a full week's work. This
shockingly low pay was made to more than 2,000 women.
WAGE RATES I N UNION AGREEMENTS AS A P P L I E D T O WOMEN

The tradition of paying women less than men is followed i n some
cases i n the agreements made by trade unions w i t h manufacturers.
This is easily understood when i t is realized that such agreements
are reached by the process of bargaining and i t becomes necessary
for each party to concede some points they would like to carry, and
that the payment of low wages for women has had such a powerful
foundation i n custom and hence may be the more insisted upon by
employers. However, i t illustrates the fact that at its present stage
union action alone cannot provide fully for the needs of women but
must sometimes be supplemented by legislation to take particular
care of women's interests.
For example, a union agreement fixing piece rates for occupations
i n the New Y o r k cloak and suit industry, effective for 1935-37, while
i t provides average piece rates and the equivalent minimum weekly
rates alike for the two sexes, continues the small differences i n the
minimum piece rates that were allowed imder the N . R . A. code
and under former agreements, as follows:
Minimum
Men

Jacket, coat, reefer, and dress operators
Skirt operators

SI. 00
.90

puce rate
Women

SO. 90
.80

The agreement for the textile dyeing and finishing industry for^
1936-38, continuing for the most part earlier rates, fixes the following
hourly minima: ®
®
Cenii per hour

Men
Women

66
48

This wage difference seems far too large to correspond to differences
i n the occupations of the two sexes, especially when i t is considered
that 75 cents is the minimum for the helpers of maintenance men.
A clear indication of a sex differential i n rates for clerical workers
is provided i n the fact that a wage agreement i n these occupations in




COIVIPENSATION OF W O M E N

77

Butte, M o n t . , i n 1927, required that overtime for men should be paid
at 70 cents an hour and overtime for women at only 50 cents.®®
A n iron workers' imion agreement i n Ohio that was effective i n
January 1934 provided a 5 percent wage increase for men and an
additional 10 percent increase over the wage i n effect on a date
several weeks later, but the only arrangement made for women was
that their minimum wage should be 38 cents an hour.^°
A n agreement providing for borax workers on the Pacific coast,
effective i n February 1935, provided a minimum wage rate of 46
cents an hour for women as bag stencilers and i n the package department. The lowest for men was more than a foiKth above this, 58?^
cQnts an hom* for those sealing cases of borax packages, for vat men,
and for truckers, watchmen, sweepers, and helpers. While these
are somewhat heavier jobs, the women's jobs are as exacting of the
worker's energy and as important to the final cormnercial article.
A minimum of from 60 to 71 cents was fixed for men i n many other
jobs;^

Agreements Jor hrnndry workers.—Three agreements for the laundry
industry i n effect i n 1933 show standards for men above those for
women.^^ This is an industry that employs practically twice as many
women as men (1930 census figures). The occupations of the two
sexes differ, practically all routemen (delivery) and almost threefifths of the laborers and of the foremen and overseers being men.
I n the wash-house men predominate. There are three times as
many women as men operatives, women being more usual i n the ironing occupations. A day's ironing is not a light job, especially m t h
some supervision thrown in. Moreover, women may be tending two
or even three presses at a time. I n two of three union agreements
reported i n 1933, the lowest rates fixed for any man's occupation were
well above the highest for any woman's occupation, and were asfoUows;
Lowist rait
for men
icenis)

Highest rate
for women
(cents)

Butte
Head markers
62. 5
San Francisco-. Head starchers... 50. 6

Head markers' assistants. _ 64. 2
Shirt
finishers
48. 8

Though i n San Francisco head starchers were accorded the lowest
rate for any man's job, 60.6 cents, i n Butte and Seattle, where women
were so employed, the rates fixed were very much lower, 42.7 and 31.8
cents, respectively.
I n the t h i r d agreement (Seattle) the rate fixed for both women and
men as head markers and sorters was the same, but i t was only 39.6
cents. N o other rate for women's occupations was so high, none for
men's so low, except for elevator boys and bundle boys. The latter
Ibid. Trade Agreements, 1927. Bui. 468. 1928. p. 69.
American Fedcrationist, April 1934, p. 387.
»
bS?4u
1934. DD. 93-94.




Union Scales of Wages and Hours of Labor. M a y 16,1933.

Bui. 600.

78

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

had a rate of 32.3 cents an hour, but this agreement fixed a lower
rate for women i n a wide variety of the laundry occupations, including
head starchers and polishers, head collar girls, flat-work head feeders,
and garment press operators. I n all these agreements differences in
men's and women's weekly rates corresponded to the hourly differences.
I n the San Francisco agreement the rate fixed for men as washhouse helpers was 54.4 cents an hour, but rates were fixed below this
for aU women's occupations, including shirt finishers, polishers or shirt
operators, head collar ironers, and other women ironers, even after
6 months' experience.
I n B u t t e the union rate fixed was much higher for men than for
women i n overseeing jobs, and i n fact the lowest weekly rate for men
was a fifth above the highest for women. The hourly differences
are shown i n the following:
Cents per
hour

Men

Head markers
Head washers

62. 5
72. 9

Cents per
hour

Women

Head
Head
Head
Head

markers on rough d r y . ,
mangle girls
starchers
collar girls

52.
44
42.
41.

1
8
7
7

Agreements Jor hook and job sprinters.—Union agreements i n effect
i n 1933 i n the book and job printing industry were reported b y the
Bureau of Labor Statistics for 66 cities.^® No difference b y sex
was shown i n the rates fixed for assistants and feeders on platen
and cylinder presses i n most of the 53 cities where such rates were
reported. I n some cases this may have meant that women were not
so employed, i n others that if they were doing such work their rate was
the same as for men. However, there were several cities i n which the
rates differed markedly for the two sexes. These were as follows:
Cents per hour for—

Feeders, platen presses:
Memphis
Pittsburgh
Feeders, cylinder presses:
Atlanta
Pittsburgh
San Francisco
Springfield, Mass

Men
47.7
50. 2
51.
61.
84.
68.

1
8
1
2

Women
43.2
44 4
48. 1
52. 2
77. 3
54. 5

The lowest rate of all for cylinder press feeding was 41.9 cents an
hour, i n Nashville, where only a women's rate was reported.
The same information was reported for 1924 for 55 cities,^* and by
1933 fewer cities showed sex differences i n the wage than was the case
in^ the earlier year. However, the data do n o t indicate whether
this means that at the latter time the women's rate had been drawn
up to the men's, or merely that the women were no longer employed
there i n these processes.
In
J V ^
for M a y 1936. shows similar sei differences in hourly rates
i n the printing industry for a few cities. See pp. 30-32.
I b i d . Union Scales of Wages and Hours of Labor, M a y 15,1924. Bui. 388. 1925.pp. 185-190.




Chapter 4 . — R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y O F E M P L O Y E D W O M E N F O R
T H E SUPPORT OF OTHERS ^
While there are employed women as well as employed men who are
not responsible for the support of others, very many women at work
have persons dependent upon them for a livelihood. These may be
children of their own or of others; young sisters or brothers; parents or
other elderly relatives; husbands i l l or unable to get jobs. Information
on the extent to which this is the case is scattering, b u t such as exists
indicates t h a t the situation is widespread among gainfully occupied
women, whether i n industrial, professional, or other work of whatever
type.
The Women's Bureau, i n addition to 22 studies i t summarized at an
earlier date,^ recently has examined 50 reports published i n 1929 or
thereafter, and the findings discussed i n the following are the result of
selections of the more outstanding data presented b y these 72 reports.
They ^vill be analyzed here to give indications as to the following:
Extent to which women are the sole support of their families.
Size of the famUies dependent for support on a woman.
Occupations of women who are supporting their families.
Women w i t h dependents (but not sole family support).
H a v i n g f u l l dependents.
Contributing t o dependents, and number of these dependents.
Extent t o which employed women contribute earnings t o family expenses.
Women as heads of families.
Families w i t h no men wage earners (but not necessarily w i t h only one woman
wage earner).

W o m e n W h o Are the Sole Support of T h e i r Families.
Very many women i n this country are solely responsible for the
entire support of their families. T h e results of 10 important studies,
most of t h e m made i n the period f r o m 1930 to the present, a few
earlier, and several of them giving information for very large numbers,
include reports for nearly 370,000 employed women, and show t h a t
more t h a n one-eighth of these—12.7 percent, or nearly 47,000 women—
were reported to be the sole support of families including at least one
person besides themselves.® I n half these studies, a f i f t h or more of
the women reporting were the sole family support, and i n some of
them the proportions were very much larger. I n addition to these
»Tho National Board of tho Yoang Women's Christian Association and tho National Federation of
Business and Professional Women's Clubs now have in progress studies that will contribute to the scattered
information on this important subject new data taken from their own membership and club groups.
® See Women's Bureau Bui. 75, What the Wage Eaminji Woman Contributes to Family Support. 1929.
Complete references to most of the additional reports cited in this section will bo found m the partial list of
references in the Appendix since to refer to all ot them by footnote here would be unnecessarily cumbersome.
* I n perhaps one of these studies there may have been some duplication of individuals where more than one
study was made at different dates in the same locality or by the same agency, but the proportionate values
are not affected thereby, since they are similar to those found in other studies; and of course there are very
many other women I n similar situations who are not included in these sample studies.




t o

91

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

special studies, analysis of 1930 census data covering all the employed
' women i n the country who were reponsible for the homemaking in the
family besides having paid jobs shows that a similar proportion of
these—13,7 percent of them, or more than 450,000 women i n aU—
were the sole support of their families. The data reported i n these 10
studies, and also the residts of the 1930 census analysis, are as follows:
Number of women
reported on tht,

Census study of 11 cities, 1920, by Bureau of the
Census
Family status of breadwinning women, 4 cities,
analysis of census data of 1920, by Women's
Bureau
Denver, married women applying for jobs, study by
Women's Bureau, 1928
Meat packing employees, survey by Women's
Bureau, 1928
South Bend, Ind., industrial survey b y Women's
Bureau:
1930
1932
Bridgeport, Conn., analysis of census data, 1930, by
Women's Bureau
F o r t Wayne, Ind., analysis of census data, 1930, by
Women's Bureau
Philadelphia, unemployment i n families, 1931, b y
Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania
New Y o r k C i t y , employed women on relief, by New
Y o r k State Department of Labor, 1935
Beauty shop employees, by New Y o r k State Department of Labor, 1936

^fJ^I^J'llf^^^

271,022

8.1

31,482

21.0

180

52. 2

897

11.3

3,063
1,438

12.0
7.7

10,869

10. 3

7,496

10.5

34,000

28.4

5, 946 '

89. 1

3, 332

21. 8

369, 725

12. 7

Employed women homemakers, analysis of census
data 1930, b y Women's Bureau
3, 331,386

13. 7

Total, 10 studies

__

* Dates for the most part are for the period covered in the study and not the year of publication.
• Exclusive of women who were living alone or boarding.

Several of these studies which reported on size of family showed that
many of the women reported were supporting good-sized families. I n
practically 40 percent of the South Bend families i n which a woman
was the sole wage earner this woman was supporting three or more
persons besides herself. This also was the case w i t h more than 60
percent of the New Y o r k employed women on relief, and w i t h just
over 17 percent of the women who were the sole family wage earners
i n Bridgeport and i n F o r t "Wayne.
Women who are the sole support of their families are found in all
types of occupations. According to the study of employed women on
relief i n New Y o r k C i t y , the proportion of families being supported
solely by women wage earners was about the same both for women
employed as domestic servants and for women employed i n other
occupations.
Considerable proportions of these women who bear the entire
financial responsibility of their families are single, but many of them



R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y FOR T H E SUPPORT OF OTHERS gg

are married. The Philadelphia survey cited deals only w i t h married
women and reports more than 9,500 of them i n t h a t city alone as the
sole support of their families. I n South Bend more than a t h i r d of
the sole f a m i l y wage earners were married. I n Bridgeport and F o r t
Wayne, analysis of census data for all employed women showed t h a t
a small proportion of the employed married women whose husbands
were l i v i n g at home were the sole family support. I f all the cities i n
the United States t h a t are at least as large as Bridgeport and F o r t
Wayne had m u c h the same number of married women who were the
solo family support though their husbands were at home—and since
more than 40 cities are very much larger t h a n Bridgeport and F o r t
Wayne i t m a y be assumed t h a t even more of their employed married
women are the sole financial stay of the family—there would be well
over 4,000 employed married women i n such a situation i n these cities
alone, taking no account of more than 300 cities of a similar size or
smaller. N o r does this take into consideration many times as many
married women whose families have a need of their earnings, only less
great than those just cited. This is telling evidence showing how
vital i t is t h a t married women as well as others are given opportunity
to keep their jobs.
W o m e n Responsible for Support of Dependents.
I n the 11 reports cited t h a t show the cases i n which the woman was
the sole f a m i l y support, i t is obvious t h a t such woman had persons
entirely dependent upon her, b u t many women n o t the only economic
stay of the f a m i l y also have others wholly dependent upon them for
support.
Other studies that show women having f u l l dependents include
surveys of their own memberships made i n 1931 b y the National
Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs and reporting
on more t h a n 14,000 women, and b y the American Woman's Association of N e w Y o r k i n 1933, reporting on more t h a n 1,300 women. I n
each of these practically 17 percent carried the complete responsibility
for support of one or more persons, and a number had additional
partial dependents. M o r e than one-tenth of the business and professional women i v i t h others f u l l y dependent on them were supporting
three or more persons besides themselves.
The studies cited give a much more definite picture of the numbers
reported who are f u l l y responsible for the support of dependents than
is the case w i t h many such studies. Often i t is very difficult to get a
clear picture of the extent to which wage earners carry the entire
support of others. I n many cases a woman wiU be found to share w i t h
others the support of one or more persons. M o s t reports, therefore,
can indicate only partial dependency, the extent of which is very hard
to measure.



82

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

A n examination of 34 studies giving information as to dependents
(exclusive of census and relief administration reports) shows that, of
the 155,282 women they included, 59.6 percent were contributing to
the maintenance of dependents, i n some cases i n addition to those for
whose complete support they were responsible.® This gives striking
evidence of the fact t h a t employed women are most likely to be at
least sharing i n the support of others. This is true of the reports
showing a woman the sole stay of the family. Other outstanding
studies showing that, besides earning their own support, very many
employed women contribute to dependents are as foUows: ^

Study *

Number of
teamen reported on
thts subject

Women w i t h a Ph. D., by Emilie Hutchinson, 1921. _
485
Business and professional women:
1926-27
13,856
1930
14,346
New Y o r k , American Woman's Association:
1929
1, 710
1933
1,350
Employed women i n New Haven, by Russell Sage
Foundation, 1931
1, 034
Bridgeport, Conn., women registered w i t h Citizens'
Emergency Committee, 1931
557
Portland (Oregon) teachers, Reed College, 1932
629
Single women teachers i n 37 cities, reported by N a tional Education Association, 1932-33
1, 955
Gainfully-employed married women homemakers, by
Cecile T . L a Follette, 1932
652
Pennsylvania, women suffering temporary t o t a l injuries, 1933
2, 406
Philadelphia, women applicants to employment
agencies:
193 3
6,932
193 4
6, 574
Single women reported by New Y o r k Emergency
Work Bureau, 1932-33
20, 000
New York C i t y , employed women on relief, by New
Y o r k State Department of Labor, 1935
6, 674
Y. W. C. A. employees other than professional, 1936_ 2, 217

Percent of women having
1 dependent or more
(total or partial undetermined)

69. 5
39.0
63.6
40. 0
44.2
23. 3
64. 5
51. 8
68. 7
62. 0
15. 7
66.6
77. 0
37. 3
93. 6
4. 4

< Dates for the most part arc for the period covered In the study and not the year of publication.

Considerable proportions of the women reported have a number of
dependents. I n the New Y o r k study of women on relief, 11 percent
of the women included had 5 dependents, and some had 9 or more.
A somewhat similar proportion of the Philadelphia women i n search of
work i n 1933 had 4 or more dependents. Of the business and professional women surveyed i n 1931, 45 percent had 2 or more dependents
and nearly 9 percent supported 4 or more. Of the women who had
siiffered industrial accidents i n Pennsylvania i n 1933, a number had 4
or 5 dependent children.
» I n some cases there m a y be duplications for individuals where more than one study was made at different
dates b y the same agency or in the same locality, but the proportionate values are not thereby overweighted
for dei>endency.
7 A report listed here m a y have been listed also among those reporting women as the solo support of their
famUies, since some reports give both types of information.




R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y FOR T H E SUPPORT OF OTHERS

gg

I n many cases some statistical method of reporting is used to show
the average number of dependents per woman at work. I t cannot
be told from this type of reporting how many women were entirely or
even partially supporting one or several others; nevertheless, i t is of
some interest as indicating the general situation. Data from the following reports show one dependent or more per employed woman
reporting this type of information (in each case i n addition to the
employed woman herself):
Study

Number q, Average numwomen report- ber of depending as to detnts per
pendents
woman worker

New Y o r k , American Woman's Association:
1929
9 453
1933
9597
Single women teachers, by D a v i d W. Peters, 1930-31
921
Single women teaehfers i n 37 cities, reported by National
Education Association, 1932-33
» 327
Gainfully-employed married women homemakers, by Cecile
T . LaFollette, 1932
« 405
Pennsylvania C. W . A. workers, 1933-34
13, 329
New Y o r k C i t y , employed women on relief, 1935:
Domestic workers
2, 272
Other ^vorkers
4, 254

1. 9
2.4
1.5
(i")
1. 7
1. 3
2. 2
4. 4

• Number of women w i t h dependents.
" 2 or more.

I n the New York C i t y study of employed women on relief i n 1935,
there were selected 565 women w i t h especially large nmnbers of dependents—something less than one-tenth of all reported—in order to
show their wages, and this group affords data on the occupations of
women w i t h dependents. The 60 percent of these who were engaged
in manufacturing had the most dependents. The average numbers of
dependents according to occupation group were as follows:
Average
number of
dependents
per woman
worker

Manufacturing
Clerical
Trade
Domestic service

5.
4.
- 4.
2.

1
7
4
2

The women supporting dependents may be either single or married,
and i t is easily understood that the usually smaller group of widowed
and divorced might be likely to have dependents. The list of women
w i t h dependents, cited, shows data for certain of the studies that deal
wholly w i t h single or w i t h married women. The following proportions of the women for whom such information was reported i n additional studies were single:
Study

Business and professional women, 1930
New Y o r k C i t y , employed women on relief, 1935:
Domestic workers
Other workers
Beauty shop employees, New York, 1936
» Sole support of their families.




Number of women
v}ith dependents

Percent who
were single

096

60. 0

2,001
4,096
" 728

14. 1
61.7
42. 0

84

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

I n the N e w Y o r k study of employed women on relief, i t was stated
t h a t there were relatively few siQgle women t h a t had only themselves
to support. Only 93 of the 2,903 reported had no.dependents, and for
all those outside of domestic service, the median number of dependents
was 5.3. Only 8 of the 481 single clerical workers, only 4 of the 108 in
hotels and restaurants, and only 4 of the 1,384 i n factories had no
dependents.
M a n y married women also are financially responsible for dependents. I n a study i n the Minneapolis schools, 23 percent of the single
and 42 percent of the married teachers were supporting others besides
themselves. The New Y o r k employed married women on relief were
responsible for supporting an average of 3.6 dependents. Other data
on the large extent to which the employed women who support others
are married are as follows:
Study

Business and professional women, 1930
Women euffering temporary t o t a l injuries i n Pennsylvania, 1933
Beauty shop employees, New Y o r k , 1936-

Number oficomen
with dependenU

Percent who were
married

9, 096

21. 5

,

377
» 728

76. 9
33. 3

,

» Sole support of their JamUies.

Contributions of W o m e n ' s Earnings to the F a m i l y Support.
I n the Women^s Bureau summary of information on women's
family responsibility/^ reports f r o m 22 studies showed t h a t over half
of the more than 60,000 women reported had given all then* earnings
to the family support, and another large proportion had given part
of their earnings, the extent n o t shown.
A few of the more recent studies examined report this type of information. I n a study of women i n Bethlehem and Philadelphia after
the shut-down of Pennsylvania silk mills i n 1931, all the married women had used their entire earnings i n the support of the family. I n
two other surveys of industrial women two-fifths of the women reported had contributed all their earnings to the f a m i l y exchequer, and
well over half had given at least half their pay to the f a m i l y upkeep.
I n the survey of South Bend, I n d . , i n 1932, the earnings of nearly
one-third of the women for whom such information was reported
formed the entire family income, and i n another one-fourth of the
cases such earnings formed a t least half the amount the f a m i l y had to
live on.
W o m e n as Heads of Families.
I t may be surprising t o many people to learn t h a t more than 2)i
m i l l i o n women i n the United States are heads of families of two or
more persons. T o p u t i t another way, n o t f a r f r o m one-tenth (9.4
percent) of the families of such size i n this country have a woman
head. The proportion is larger i n the more underprivileged families,
" Op. cit.. Bui. 75.




R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y FOR T H E SUPPORT OF OTHERS

gg

as represented b y those eligible for employment for work projects i n
January 1936, among whom 15.4 percent of the family heads were
women. V e r y nearly all the women employed on work projects, over
410,000 of them, are heads of their families. Reports of the following
additional studies indicate t h a t i n industrial localities especially large
proportions of the women are family heads, as for example i n the
Massachusetts Old Colony area or i n South Bend, I n d . , surveyed by
the Women's Bureau. The findings of several special studies that
reported this type of information show the following:
Stv4v

New Y o r k unemployment surveys, 1931: .
Buffalo
Syracuse
Industrial women i n South Bend, Ind., 1932
Massachusetts census of heads of families not fuUy
employed, 1934
Old Colony area, Mass., 1935
J

Number of famiitesrermied

Percent having a
tcoman at head of
family

9,557
4,682
1, 295

6.2
7.6
18. 4

269, 554
1, 734

7. 1
25. 4

Some of these women heads of families are married, some are single.
M a n y of these women family heads are women of a mature age, as the
following shows:
study

Rural cases on relief, 1933
Massachusetts Old Colony area, 1935

Age of women family heads

49.8 years, median. .
45 to 60 years, 37.4 percent of those reported.

F a m i l i e s W i t h N o M e n W a g e Earners.
A further illustration of the economic situation of women i n this
country is i n the extent to which women w^ho are at work have no
men wage earners i n their families. Though these data do not show
the responsibility of individual women, they do indicate i n several
cases t h a t practically one-tenth or more of the families reported have
no men wage earners.
Perhaps the most complete sample of fairly recent data on this
subject exists i n the Women's Bureau analyses of census reports on
employed -women i n two industrial cities of over 100,000 inhabitants—Bridgeport, Conn., and F o r t Wayne, I n d . " I n 15 percent of
the families i n each of these cities the only wage earners were women.
The smaller of these had a t o t a l of about 7,500 families. Supposing
the 93 cities of 100,000 or more population i n this country to have
at least this many families w i t h an employed woman (many of them
have considerably more), and supposing 15 percent of these to have
only women wage earners, there must be well over 100,000 families
in the U n i t e d States maintained entirely b y their employed women.
" N o t yet pubUshed.




Part II.—EXPERIENCE OF WOMEN UNDER
LABOR LEGISLATION
Consideration of the effects of labor legislation opens a very broad
field of investigation, since every type of such legislation may be
expected to have a number of different effects and these may vaiy
widely m t h the differences i n location, i n time, i n previous custom,
and i n the special provisions of the law as well as the general circumstances of its introduction and administration.
Instances illustrating the effects of labor laws along many different
lines and from many different angles are continually sought. Nattirally, all the possible effects of all types of labor laws cannot be reported
upon here, and indeed data for such an evaluation do n o t exist, but
the most usual experience as to the effects certain kinds of laws have
had upon women's employment situation can be described from full
and adequate data. Summaries \vill be given here of material from
a few comprehensive surveys that indicate definite conclusions, drawn
from vdde areas, as to the results m t h i n particular fields of study
arising from certain types of labor legislation; other instances illustrating the most usual and wide-spread effects of various types of
such laws also w i l l be shown. Together, these w i l l cover the following
subjects:
Effects of the National Industrial Recovery A c t on women's employment,
hours, and wages, and on collective bargaining.
Effects of mininum-wage laws.
Effects of labor legislation on the employment opportunities of women.

Certain of the labor legislation considered here applies to both
women and men, but even though the basic law makes no difference
between the sexes, the results show that along some lines the benefits
of the law have been considerably more marked for women than
for men. Other types of labor laws considered here apply solely to
women and have been enacted to reheve situations imder which women
were especially exploited.
The major purpose of labor legislation is the same as the primary
purpose of all legislation. I t is an effort to p u t the authority of the
Government behind such regulation of conditions as is necessary for
the life and work of the individual at the points where without such
authority he or she is unable to provide adequate self-protection in
relations w i t h other individuals or organizations. Labor legislation
recognizes the stake of the community i n healthful and satisfactory
living and working conditions for the people. E v e i y evidence points
to the fact that employed women often are i n a situation particularly
86




EXPERIIONCE UNDER LABOR L E G I S L A T I O N

37

Open to exploitation, and consequently there have been lines along
which the action of government has been more necessary for women
than for men.
Where the employed are organized i n groups of comparable strength
with those that exist for their employers, i t is less necessary for the
Government to step i n as arbiter or commander. B u t where labor
organization is weak the strength of the Government is the more
needed.
Experience i n the United States, as i n other countries, has shown
women^s difficulties i n developing labor organization, i n consequence
of which they sometimes particularly need legislation to prevent
exploitation. A primary reason why organization moves especially
slowly for women Hes i n the very fact emphasized so frequently i n
these pages, that women often form exploited groups, low paid,
engaged i n highly seasonal industries and i n various types of part-time
work, and usually subject to the traditional evaluation of their work
as not highly skilled.
A number of the strongest organizations of men are i n work i n
which women are not engaged; for example, building trades or mining.
Of American Federation of Labor membership, building trades account
for over a third, and more than another third are included i n transportation and communication, mining and quarrying, and metal,
machinery, and shipbuilding unions taken together (1932). The large
manufacturing woman-employers, textiles, leather, and clothing, have
formed together only about 6 percent of the Federation membership;
adding food, liquor, and tobacco; paper, printing, and publishing;
personal service and trade; and amusements and professions, stiU
does not bring the proportion to one-fourth.^
I t was estimated i n 1924 that of the more than S% million women
then employed only about 250,000 were organized.^ This was less than
9 percent as great as the total membership of the American Federation
of Labor reported for the next year, though the 1920 census figures
showed that women formed over 20 percent of all gainfully employed
persons and at least 15 percent both of those i n manufacturing and
mechanical industries and of those i n trade. There are some unions
that do not admit women, though women work i n non-union shops i n
the same industries; for example, certain metal trades and glass unions.
A t present, labor organization is advancing rapidly, under fuUer
governmental protection than heretofore, and this benefits women
as well as men. However, the position of women i n union development as well as i n the working w^orld still requires the assistance of
government through strong legislation to relieve situations i n which
women as workers are especially subject to exploitation.
Lorwin, Lewis L., and Jean A. Flemer. The American Federation of ^ b o r .
' Wolfson, Theresa. The Woman Worker and the Trade Umons. 1926. p. 127.
150483'—37

7




1933. pp. 303, 486.

99

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

Of primaiy importance to workers are the following: The opportunity to get and hold a job suited to theu' abilities; hours of work short
enough to preclude physical strain and to provide some leisure for life;
a wage at least sufficient to maintain healthful living and help to
provide for old age; healthful and otherwise suitable physical surroundings i n the work place; and, basic to all of these, the right to
associate freely w i t h other workers for the purpose of bargaioiag
collectively ^vith the employing agency in order to secure these needs.
Ordinarily i t is i a relation to some phase of these matters of major
importance that labor laws seek to place the authority of the Government behind workers' needs. Experience has shown that this authori t y often is even more imperative i n the case of women than of men,
because there are many ways i n which women's employment situation
is especially difficult and is such that they frequently are not able to
maintain strong organizations to secure these things for themselves.
T h a t this is the general experience of employed women is illustrated
by the low rates of women's wages compared to men's, discussed
earlier i n this report (see pt. I , ch. 3), and by the fact that even where
State legislation fixes maximum hours for women this maximum quite
often is very much longer than the hours actually being worked by
the majority and is needed primarily to hold i n check the more unscrupulous employers and to provide better conditions for the groups
of workers most exploited.




Chapter 1 . — E X P E R I E N C E O F T H E E F F E C T S O F T H E N A T I O N A L INDUSTRIAL RECOVERY ACT ON WOMEN'S
E M P L O Y M E N T , HOURS, A N D WAGES, A N D O N COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
When the National Kecovery Administration was organized, a part
of its program of reviving industry sought, so far as the workers specifically were concerned, " t o increase the consumption of industrial
and agricultural products b y iucreasiag purchasing power, to reduce
and relieve unemployment, to improve standards of labor.'' ^ The
present report has stressed repeatedly the fact that the situation of
women cannot be considered as isolated from all the other elements
in the economy of a nation, b u t is instead an integral part of this
economy. Though this A c t applied to all workers, its effects along
certain lines were, on the whole, more pronounced for women than
for men, as, for example, i n connection w i t h wages, which were at a
much lower level for women t h a n for men.
Several very f u l l studies of the effects of the National Recovery
Administration have been made, and a simmiary w i l l be given here
of material f r o m various sources, and particularly of what is shown,
especially i n application to employed women, i n the conclusions of
three major ones of these t h a t deal vnth employment, hours, wages,
and collective bai^aining. Though these evaluations were made by
entirely different agencies and approached the problem f r o m quite
divergent angles, the fact t h a t their findings on these subjects are substantially similar reinforces the significance of such ladings as a
measure of effects of this law i n respect to labor.^
When i t was apparent t h a t the framing of codes for various industries (the method employed under the Recovery Act) would consume a considerable time, the President's Reemployment Agreement
was instituted, encouraging all individual employers to agree to a
week of not over 40 hours and to certain m i n i m u m wages for the various industries (scaled according to size of locality) u n t i l such time as
codes could be approved. The provisions of the P. R . A . were i n
some cases modified for individual industries. The effects of this
agreement often were as pronounced as those of later codes, or even
more so, and the following summaries sometimes apply to b o t h the
1 National Industrial Recovery Act. Public, No. 67. 73d Congress. H . R. 5755, p. 1.
> Unless otherwise specified, the discussion following is based on findings in the following: (1) Hours.
Wages, and Employment Under the Codes, prepared by the National 1
Kecovery Admmistration for its
3
codes.
hearings on employment provisions of codes^ January 1935; (2) Employed
a report by the Women's Bureau; and (3) Report of the President's Committee of Industrial Anal
•
was
- the Administration of The National Industrial Recovery Act, February 1937. This committeeI W£ com*
,
posed of John M . Clark, economist, Columbia University, chairman; William n Davis, of Pennie, Davis,
Alarvin, and Edmonds; George M . Harrison, president. Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship <

. 35, ]




89

90

WOMEN I N T H E 3 ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

P. E . A . and the N . E . A . Since the effects of the two, though they
may have differed i n degree, usually were i n much the same direction,
the term N . E . A . often may be used to include both.
HOURS A N D E M P L O Y M E N T UNDER T H E N. R . A .

The President's explanation of the act stated:
The law I have just signed was passed to put people hack to work * *
The idea is simply for employers to hire more men to do the existing work by
reducing the work hours of each man's week and a t the same time pay a
living wage for the shorter week.®

I t is most i m p o r t a n t to note t h a t this differed materially from the
various "spread-the-work" plans t h a t formerly h a d been attempted,
since its i n t e n t was to maintain, and indeed to advance, wage levels,
Whereas the "spread-the-work" plans usually reduced wages as well
as time worked. The effects of this p a r t of the program were twofold: t h a t on employment, and t h a t on hours worked.
E m p l o y m e n t Under the N . R . AT h e N . K . A . report made i n January 1935 gave an estimate of the
number of employees added to pay rolls i n N . R . A . industries. How
much greater the increase was under the N . R . A . and P. R . A . than
prior to these moves is shown by the figures as t o additions to pay
rolls from M a r c h 1933, which, i n round numbers, were as follows:
To June 1933 (prior to N. R. A. or P. R. A.)
To November 1934 (latest date reported)

1,628,000
3,464,000

Though care was taken n o t to say w h a t p a r t of this increase could be
attributed specifically to the N . R . A., the statement was made that
an appreciable increase i n employment was experienced, particularly
i a those industries t h a t were operating under codes when the report
was made.
I n September 1934 the Recovery Board included i n its policy statements—
That the maximum hour provisions of the codes have made a definite contribution to reemployment.

The President's Committee of Industrial Analysis, headed b y a distinguished economist, i n its report i n February 1937 stated t h a t —
The effect of the P. R. A. in bringing about increased employment through
reducing weekly hours of work was striking.

Between June and October 1933, the report continues, employment
i n N . R . A . industries had increased 11.4 percent, i n other than
N . R . A . industries only 4.4 percent, and i n agriculture only 1 percent.
''Since industrial a c t i v i t y declined during this period, increase in
employment is directly attributable to the shortening of hours under
the P. R . A . " Between October 1933 and the early months of 1935,
' N a t i o n ^ Rocove^ Administration, Bui. 1. Statement by the President of the United States of America.
Outlining Policies of the National Recovery Admmistration. 1933. p. 1.




E F F E C T S OF T H E N A T I O N A L I N D U S T R I A L RECOVERY A C T

QJ

there were slight further increases i n employment, and these were
greater i n N . R . A . industries than i n others, though the differences
were not larger. A recent statement by a former N , R . A . official
shows t h a t —
D u r i n g the N . R. A. period, employment i n N . R. A. industries increased
by some 2,055,000 persons, primarily because of the decrease i n hours
effected b y the N . R. A., as production was declining during the period
when this increase was effected.*

Hours of W o r k Under the N . R . A.
I n the 1929 period of peak production, working hours averaged
more t h a n 48 a week. They fell markedly during the depression and
averaged less than 35 a week i n 1932, but when recovery was imminent,
i n the spring and summer of 1933, they rose b y more than 30 percent
i n 3 months.
The first N . E . A . code (that for the cotton textile industry) established a basic 40-hour week as the maximtmi, and this was the standard
adopted i n 84 percent of the codes. However, very many forms of
exceptions were allowed, either b y specific code provisions or through
administrative tolerance. According to the report of the President's
Conmiittee, a m a x i m i m i workweek of 48 hours or longer thus was
permitted for a substantial part of the employees i n 64 percent of the
codes, those covering 61 percent of the workers i n all those industries
that were under codes.
The N . E . A . report of January 1935 showed t h a t the average hours
i n manufacturing industries for 11 months i n 1934, December excluded, were more than one-tenth lower than the average for the first
6 months i n 1933. The President's Committee of Industrial Analysis,
reportiag i n 1937 the results of its investigations of 159 industries,
showed t h a t because of reductions i n the hours of work from June 1933
to October 1933, b y the latter date only very small proportions of these
industries h a d an average week above 40 hours, most of them having
an average of 35 to 40 hours. The figures are as follows:
Percent of 169 indmtries with hours
specified inAverage hours

More t h a n 45
40-45
35-40
Less t h a n 35

June 193S

October 19SS«

25.2
37.8
28.3
10. 0

1.9
5.0
58.5
34 6

® No data on number of employees.

W o m e n ' s Hours a n d E m p l o y m e n t Under the N . R . A .
N a t u r a l l y , women as well as men profited by the N . R . A . , and
along some lines women benefited more than men.
T h a t on the whole greater reductions i n hours had taken place i n the
large woman-employing industries than i n those employing chiefly
< Barkin, Solomon (formerly of the N . E . A . Labor Advisory Board).
In Journal of Electrical Workers, March 1937. p. 103.




Revival of N . R . A . Labor Program.

92

W O M E N I N THE3 ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

men is indicated from the N . R. A . report of January 1935 as to
changes i n average hours for the first half of 1933 to the average for
11 months i n 1934 (December omitted). I n all but 1 of 6 important
woman-employers, hours had been reduced 16 percent or more i n this
N . R. A . period, while i n only 1 of 9 industries not among the great
woman-employers had the hour reduction been so great. The figures
are as follows:
Indu&try

Ptrcent redudion in hours

Woman-employers:
Cotton goods
Boots and shoes
Electrical machinery
K n i t goods
Sak goods
Woolen and worsted goods

^
28. 4
16. 2
«6. 0
20. 4
16.3
25. 1

N o t predominantly woman-employing:
Automobiles
Cane sugar refining
Cement
Chemicals
Leather
Iron and steel
Lumber and timber products
Paper and pulp
Rubber tires and tubes.

6.2
2G. 0
4. 3
7.9
15.4
®3. 4
9. 2
12. 3
3. 1

< I D this case hours increased.

During this period the Women's Bureau, in the course of an
investigation of women employed in the large manufacturing State
of Michigan, reported striking employment increases due to hour
reductions made necessary by the hour provisions set b y codes i n 10
industries. Before the P. K . A. or N . R. A., from 38 percent to 90
percent of the women worked more than 40 hours a week, but after
the introduction of codes less than 10 percent (except i n one industry)
worked so long; in 5 of the 10 mdustries less than 5 percent
of the women worked over 40 hours. These figures for Michigan
follow:'
_ ^ ,
Jjidmtrif

P<rcf.ncTMW
in employment
under codti or
P. a. A.

Bakery p r o d u c t s . .
D r u p and chemicals
Electrical supplies
Furs and millinery
K n i t goods:
Hosiery
Other _
M e t a l products
Paper boxes
Paper manufacturing
vvomen's underwear
» Prcm unpublished material i n the files of the Women's Bureau.




Percent 0/emp/oyees
working
omjOhouuliefort codes At dote of
orP.R.A,
193^

16.0
18.0
58. q
4. 4

51.3
43.5
37.9
90. 1

6.8
7.2
4,1
56

52.4
25.0
93.6
16.7
12. 1
15. 2

68.9
76.6
40.8
62.0
50. 3
83. 8

1.3
2.6
7.6
4 1
21. 9
1. 1

EFFECTS OF T H E N A T I O N A L I N D U S T R I A L RECOVERY ACT

QJ

Other scattered studies further illustrate the benefits of the N . R. A .
to women. For example, a State survey of identical firms i n M i n nesota reported an increase of 24 percent i n the employment of
women, \vith shortened hours and increased earnings as a result of the
N. R. A.»
A study of the cotton-garment industry i n Pennsylvania, among
whose employees women greatly predominate, reported that " E v i dence is conclusive that the N . R. A. has = * * reduced the
•
=
working hours of all employees and increased the weekly earnings for
the majority of workers i n the cotton-garment industry." ®
Compared to the advantages for women i n manufacturing industries, the N . R . A. was not able to do so well for women i n their two
largest fields of employment—service and clerical work. I t did not
succeed i n dealing adequately w i t h enforcement of labor provisions i n
the service codes, such as those for the laundry and hotel industries.
Practically two-fifths of the codes established longer hours or greater
tolerances for clerical workers than for production employees, though
i t was common knowledge that very large proportions of the women
seeking jobs through employment agencies were clerical workers.
WAGES UNDER T H E N. R. A.

Since the effort of the N . R. A . was to reduce working hours and
at the same time to increase purchasing power, naturally there had
to be a considerable advance i n hourly rates. This upward movement of hourly earnings continued throughout the period of N . R. A.'s
existence. The statements of the N . R. A. as to policy, made i n
September 1934 and based on experience of the law, included the
following:
That a minimum-wage structure is socially beneficial not only as a safeguard to the worker but also as a wage-floor for the operation of the competitive system and therefore should be maintained.

More significant from the point of view of increasing purchasing
power, as well as from that of the benefit of the law to the worker, are
weekly earnings. Increases i n these are of more importance than
hourly increases, which could be considerable without meeting the
purpose of the act if hours were reduced too drastically.
According to the 1937 report of the President's Committee of
Industrial Analysis, average weekly earnings for the manufacturing
and 13 nonmanufacturing industries combined increased from June
1933 to October 1933 by 3.6 percent, i n spite of a reduction of 12.7
percent i n actual weekly hours worked. Of this P. R. A . period the
report states, ''The course of industrial trends was completely
changed.'*^ From October 1933 to the early months of 1935 there
was an 8 percent advance i n wages.
• Minnesota. Department of Labor and Industry. Biennlalreport , 1933-34. pp. 1^156. ^ ^^
_
•Pennsylvania. Department of Labor and Industry. Bureau of Women and Children. Cotton Garment Workers in Pennsylvania Under the N . E . A . 1934. p. 1. (Mimeog.)




94

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

There were greater wage increases i n the combined industries under
codes than i n those n o t under codes, and t h e ' N . K . A . report i n 1935
shows from weighted averages the follo^ving advances.
Percent increase from June 19S3 to—
Jum 1934
Novemter 19U

N . R. A. industries
Noncodified industries

8
4

6
4

Discussing real wages, t h a t is, wage levels adjusted according to
changes i n l i v i n g costs, this report shows t h a t i n every m o n t h after
M a r c h 1933, wages were above the low point of t h a t month, and wages
i n the early months of 1933 (Januaiyr-April) always were exceeded by
those of the corresponding m o n t h i n 1934. Of course, there were
differences among industries. Of 10 shown i n detail i n the report,
7 showed wage increases from the early months of 1933 (JanuaryA p r i l ) to the latest months then reported (October-November 1934).
The advances i n some of these were very much greater than the
declines i n the remaining 3.
These reports are careful not to estimate the exact extent to which
. these advances can be attributed to the N . R . A . and the degree in
which other factors operated i n the same direction. However, as to
the effects of the N . R . A . on wage standards the following may be
quoted from the simunary of the final i m p a r t i a l report:
The N. R. A. represented the first attempt at regularizing the wage conditions i n industry on a uniform National basis * * * N . R. A . d i d usher
In an upward wage movement which had tremendous force, establishing a
firmer basis of buying power; removing inordinately low wages; stabilizing
wage competition t o a considerable degree through the establishment of a
minimum-wage level; introducing higher wage standards i n many areas in
which low wage traditions prevailed.

W o m e n ' s Wages Under the N . R . A ,
The experience t h a t has been found usual imder labor legislation in
relation to women was demonstrated again imder the N . K . A . ; namely,
t h a t the establishment of moderate wage standards as a minimum
benefits women on the whole even more than men since i n general the
levels of women's wages are below those of men.
Available data show t h a t under the N . R . A . women's wages advanced more than men's even i n spite of the fact t h a t a wage lower
t h a n men's was permitted for women workers i n 159 codes, covering
16.6 percent of all persons a t work imder codes. The 1937 report of
the President's Committee points out t h a t "practically eveiy significant industry which employed women a t low wage rates or i n which
labor was unorganized requested female wage exception, or a minimum
rate so low as to allow for a differential w i t h o u t providing a specific
female wage exception." I n New Y o r k (the only State t h a t was
publishing reports of manufacturing wages by sex through the N . R . A.
period) women's average weekly earnings i n manufacturing increased



EFFECTS OF T H E N A T I O N A L I N D U S T R I A L RECOVERY ACT

QJ

by 16.2 percent, men's by 3.4 percent, from July 1933 to November
1934.^° The proportional wage increases for the two sexes i n certain
clothing industries i n this State were as follows:
Percent of wage imrease for—
Women
Men

Women's clothing
Men's furnishings
Women's head wear

IIII"
IIIIII

26
53
17

6
10
7

I n Pennsylvania, during the same time, wages i n all manufacturing
increased 11.6 percent, but i n the following important woman-employers they showed greater increases, sometimes very much greater: ^^
Percent increase in average weekly earnings
for all employees

Textiles
AVomen's clothing
Confectionery
Cigars and tobacco

27. 3
29! 6
I3' 9
42. 4

Examples taken from woman-employing industries further illustrate
women's wage advances under the N . K . A. A Women's Bureau
survey of the dress industry i n New York showed the following advances i n median week's earnings of women as inside operators i n
dress shops due to the N . E . A . or to the Union Agreement, the provisions of which were incorporated i n the code: ^^
Percent increase in median
week's earni:jgs

On cheapest dresses
On cheap dresses
On dresses highest i n price

75. 2
4 4 3 to 55. 7
47. 5

A Pennsylvania report of wages i n the cotton-garment industry, a
very large proportion of whose employees are women, showed that
from October 1932 to Februaiy 1934 wages had increased by one-half.^^
A survey of the cotton-textile industiy by the United States Bureau
of Labor Statistics showed that from July 1933 to August 1934 the
real weekly wage (that is, adjusted for cost of living) of women employees had increased by 7 percent i n the North, by 16 percent i n the
South.^^

I n cotton dyeing and finishing the same agency reports that 28
percent of the women received at least $14 i n July 1933, whereas i n
August 1934 the percent receiving so much was 36. I n silk and
rayon dyeing and finishing 47 percent of the women had received $14
or more i n August 1933 (the earliest data available for comparison)
in contrast to 56 percent i n August 1934.^®
According to other reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
wages i n the cigarette industry advanced by 46 percent for white
and 73 percent for Negro women.^® The same agency also gives the
" Y & T w ^ m ^ Bureau Bui. 130. 1935. p. 121.
" V.^s! S e i ^ m e n t of Labor.
"^Pennsylvania.

Women's Bureau.

Piece work in the Silk-Dress Industry.

Department of Labor and Industry. Bureau of Women and CJiildren.
i Under the N . R . A . 1934. p 7. (Minieo? )
" U . S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Monthly Labor Review. March 1935. p C24
" Ibid., M a y 1936, pp. 1347» 1357.
Ibid-, p. 1326




Bui. 141.
Cotton-

107

WOMEN I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

following evidence as to women w i t h hourly earnings of 35 cents or
more i n the silk and rayon industry and of 40 cents or more i n woolen
and worsted manufacturing: ^^
Percent before N.P,

Silk and rayon
Woolen and worsted

A.

Percent dUTing N. J2. A,
{A ugust im^

7 (April 1933)
19 (January-March 1932)-

67
48

The fact that women were among those especially benefiting by the
N . R . A. wage provisions, though i n many cases their minimum was
fixed below t h a t of men i n the industry, is indicated i n the following
summary statement from the 1935 analysis made by the N . R . A.:
I n short, there have been increases in wage rates nothing short of phenomenal, wherever the previous rate was low, t h a t is, for labor working in
low-paid industries, for labor i n the South, particularly female labor, for
labor living i n towns of less than 20,000 population, for labor i n low-paid
occupations, in a word for labor getting very low pay anywhere coming under
codes * *
I n short, the codes have probably helped those whom
i t was especially designed to help, namely, those whose real incomes were
already pitifully small * • ».
LABOR RELATIONS UNDER T H E N . R . A .

Of even greater importance to workers than the direct efforts of
the Recoveiy Act to secure better wage and hour conditions were
its parts designed to assure to the workers a more favorable status in
their formation of organizations and their use of these to improve
their employment conditions. Basically, the Constitution of the
United States contains the following provision:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of
the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition
the Government for a redress of grievances.
—Amendment I — p a r t of the original Bill of Rights of the Constitution.

This is the charter of right for every assembly i n the land, religious,
secular, pliilanthropic, or of whatever type, from the smallest woman's
club or struggling labor union or auxiliary to the largest federation of
organizations of whatever kind. There are countries i n which
women are not normally allowed free organization but, instead, all
their associations are controlled by a powerful State i n its own
interest. This has not been the case under the theory of the United
States Government. B u t there are still many cases i n which vigorous
efforts must be made to maintain and to make effective this constitutional guarantee.
I n this country the earliest women's clubs were not organized
u n t i l the eighteen-fifties,^^ though working women's organizations
" Ibid , June 1935, pp. 1436. 1451.
Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. X X V I I I , 1906, pp. 205-20C, 227IJflrif
^^^
^TTJf
'''
^-ere as follows:'18.52, the Ladies'
thJxw
1859Minerva d a b of N e w Harmony, 111; 1868. both the Soros s
l ^ b l v l^iie^thS^^Su Y n ^ T ^ ^
The
Female Labor Reform Association existed considerabiy earlier than Ihis. and the tailoresses m New York formed a union as early as 1825.




EFFECTS OF T H E N A T I O N A L I N D U S T R I A L RECOVERY ACT

QJ

existed earlier. I n 1833 so famous a leader as Lucretia M o t t reports
that she and three other women attending an antislavery meeting
'Vere not recognized as a part of the convention by signing the
document" agreed upon.^®
The basis of freedom to meet i n groups is the same, no matter what
the type of organization. To workers this freedom is of the first
importance when they meet for the purpose of dealing \nth problems
arising out of their employment. This is even more true when employers seek to prevent or circumvent what the Constitution
guarantees.
I t should never be foi^otten that the principles that apply to or' ganizations for labor bargaining are those that underlie all freedom to
hold club meetings or form any other associations. B u t because of
the primary importance to the worker of the employment contract
and the right to organize for its improvement, and because this comes
into conflict at times vnth. other and powerful economic interests,
there probably has been more discussion and more legal action on
this type of organization than on any other i n the United States.
This arises partly from the fact that the employer often has very much
more real power to affect the worker's whole life than has the Government, which normally is more remote from the individual. For example, a woman observer i n discussing a basic industry writes:
This land * * * is i n reality composed of a multitude of kingdoms
whose despots are the employers—the multimillionaire patrons—and whose
serfs are the laboring men and women * * * whereas Pharaoh by his
unique w i l l controlled a thousand slaves, the steel magnate uses, for his own
ends also, thousands of separate wills. ^

I t is not possible to discuss here the considerable body of American
legislation seeking to protect the free organization and action of labor
groups, such as the Clayton Act of 1914 and the Norris-LaGuardia
Act of 1932, both seeking to l i m i t court injunctions against labor
action, and the court cases defining more closely the position of labor
in respect to organization.^*
The famous section of the National Kecovery Act that sought to
give further guarantees for the f u l l association and action of labor
groups, Section 7 (a), provided i n part as follows:
T h a t employees shall have the r i g h t to organize and bargain collectively
through representatives of their own choosing, and shall be free f r o m the
interference, restraint, or coercion of employers of labor, or their agents, i n
the designation of such representatives or i n self-organization or i n other
concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other m u t u a l
aid or protection; t h a t no employee and no one seeking employment shall be
required as a condition of employment to join any company union or to refrain
f r o m joining, organizing, or assisting a labor organization of his own choosing.
» James and Lucretia M o t t - L i f e and Letters.
pp. I l l , I H .
Van Vorst, Mrs. John» and Marie Van Voret. The Woman Who Toils. 1903. pp S^IO
SeeT for S ^ p l e . L o r r ^ . Lewis L.» and Jean A J f l e p e r . The America^ Federatyn of Labor.
Also Commons. John R., and John B. Andrews. Principles of Labor Legislation. 1936.




1933.

98

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

As to the purpose and effects of this, a thorough study of the work
of the labor relations boards made these statements:
Congress sought t o make sure t h a t collective bargaining, through organizations of the workers' own free choosing, was furthered, and t o protect workers
against coercion or dismissal for union activities.
Employers i n industry as a whole were no longer legally free t o impose upon
employees against their w i l l a form of labor organization t o which they did
not agree and employers were to negotiate i n good f a i t h w i t h bona-fide labor
organizations. ^

The N . R . A. experience showed that these groups of workers freely
organized formed the most effective force i n carrying out the spirit of
the N . E . A . provisions. The impartial report of the President's
Committee of Industrial Analysis, made i n 1937, states that—
* * * the declaration as public policy of the provision for the protection
of the workers' individual right to organize and bargain collectively represented a landmark i n the development not only of labor organization but of
labor legislation.
The N . I . R. A. had declared definitely i n favor of collective bargaining by
assuring protection t o employees who organized themselves f o r this purpose
* * * i t was recognized t h a t labor representation and active participation
were essential.

The report states further that the Recovery A c t and its administration '^profoundly affected labor relations i n American industry",
and that the greatest contribution of the boards created under the
N . R. A. ''was i n an exposition of the meaning of collective bargaining."
The provisions of 7 (a), taken seriously by workers, gave a tremendous impetus to organization. New drives for membership were
undertaken, both through existing unions and tlirough new unions in
industries formerly unorganized. Labor organizations were given an
opportunity, where sufficiently well-formed and articulate, to have a
fuller influence i n establisliing and maintaining better standards of
work i n American industry. During 1933-34 the number of paid-up
union members increased by about 650,000. A former N . R . A . official
has stated recently: " M e m b e h h i p i n unions rose; new unions appeared; collective bargaining spread; trade agreements increased."
He indicates further the effects of the law i n maintaining labor standards, since after i t became inoperative these standards declined, and—
* * * hourly wages have fallen t o the depression levels i n some industries, and i n industry as a whole, despite the fact [of] increased economic
a c t i v i t y , have not risen appreciably; and hours have been considerably
lengthened. ^

A series of special studies of typical clothing iadustries, which are
important woman-employers, reported that i n hosiery manufacture
the most important gain for the workers has been the right of collective
!! L o J ^ ' P ' L - ; and Arthur Wubnig. Labor Helations Boards. 1935. pp. 448, 450.
" Barkin, Solomon (formerly of N . R. A. Labor Advisory Board). Revival of N . R . A. Labor Program.
In Journal of Electrical Workers, March 1937, p. 136.




EFFECTS OF T H E NATIONAL I N D U S T R I A L RECOVERY ACT

QJ

bargaining. They showed also that i n the men's clothing and ladies'
garment industries workers gained because the codes were national i n
scope and enabled standards to be established for the entire industry,
and because they provided for a label on goods produced under code
conditions, thus making possible a check to see that all manufacturers
were aware of the standards required. I n the ladies' garment industry
the ban on overtime, together w i t h the 35-hour week, made possible
a better control over a highly seasonal industry than the union formerly had achieved, and establishment of uniform standards tended
to halt the migration of shops into lower-wage areas.^^
S U M M A R Y AS TO EFFECTS .OF T H E N. R- A.

The experience under the National Industrial Recovery Act gives
definite testimony to the benefits secured by workers through tliis
piece of labor legislation, especially i n its early stages. Hour standards were materially shortened on a national scale, new guarantees
were given for collective bargaining, and a new impetus to the development of labor organization resulted.
The levels of wages i n manufacturing industries were advanced
somewhat, very much more so for women than for men because
women's wages had been at the lowest levels. Women i n two very
large occupational groups—service and clerical work—received less
benefit than did those ia manufacturing. The Administration never
was able to enforce adequately the labor provisions i n codes for
servdce industries, i n some of which there was little organization of
labor to be of assistance; and a large proportion of the codes allowed
to clerical workers, most of whom are women, longer hours or greater
tolerances than were allowed i n the case of production workers.
This experience again illustrated the fact that under legislation which
i n itself includes women on the same terms as men, women whose
employment standards are so much below those of men are more
affected along some lines than men are, but they still fare worse
than men do since more than a fourth of the codes had exceptions
permitting a lower minimum wage for women than that permitted
for men. T h a t custom and the powerful force of tradition still
countenance such a situation again emphasizes the fact that i n many
cases special measures to assist women i n attaining adequate standards
continue to be necessary.
Affiliated Schools for Workers, Inc. Labor and the N . R . A.
and Theresa Wolf^n. 1934. pp. 33,34, 37,38,46.




By Lois MacDonald, Gladys Palmer,

MINIMUM WAGE LAWS FOR WOMEN AND MINORS
JUNE 1,1937

o
Low mandatory after (rial
ptriod.
Rafts fixed by
Commiuion or department
head*

M a n d a t o r y law.
Rates
fi«ed by Commission.

czzz
M o n d a t o r y law.
Rates
fined b y Commission for
men, women, a n d minors.

V / / / A
M a n d a t o r y law.
fixed b y law.

Rates

w

H
ffi
K
^
C

c
o
H
a
K
n
»-H

H
M
O
Rote fixed in law but Commission also lias power to
odjust.

N o law.

» This type, known lus "(he minimum fiiir wat?e law", is the imiform sfan<luni now in fort-e in States.




ui

H

Chapter 2 . — E X P E R I E N C E AS T O T H E
M I N I M U M - W A G E LAWS

EFFECTS

OF

Other parts of this report have shown how consistently the level
of women's wages has remained below that of men's.^ There is considerable testimony to the definite effects minimum-wage legislation
i n this country has had i n raising women's \vages. For a time
such information was very scattering, but i n 1935 there were 16
States t h a t had mandatory minimum-wage laws on their statute
books; one State adopted such legislation i n 1936 and three others
by M a y 1937.^
A t least 13 States and the D i s t r i c t of Columbia have had periods of
effective minimum-wage activity, i n most cases affording data as to
the results obtained.^ These data invariably show some effect i n
raising women's wages. A few of these States have been continuously
at w o r k for many years to raise women's wages by this method and
have met with a considerable measure of success i n so doing. D a t a
for eight States, all of them important industrially, w i l l be presented
here.^
STATES W I T H CONTINUOUS MINIMUM-WAGE EXPERIENCE FOR MANY
YEARS

California.
Experience of more than 20 years i n the administration of minimumwage provisions i n California illustrates the efBcacy of this type of
legislation i n bringing women's w^ages more nearly to the level of
men's and i n maintaining high wage levels i n a considerable degree
even during severe depression.® Women's wages i n this State showed
an abrupt rise each time the m i n i m u m was increased, and even i n
1931, \vhen some concessions became necessary because of the depression, they were maintained at a level surprisingly high considering the
abyss i n t o which women's wages had fallen elsewhere. Three proiSee ch. 3 o f p t . 1.
» California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey,
Kew York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. I n 1936
Rhode Island was added. I n 1937 Nevada, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania were added by May 1, Arizona
later in 1937. A decision of the United States Supreme Court in this year has been held to revive laws
never repealed in Arkansas, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and in Minnesota as applying now to
adult women. Hcnce, such laws are operative in 24 jurisdictions.
xr , xr
-r^ , *
3 Arkansas, California, Kansas, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota,
Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. Minnesota can be added to this list, but is not
discussed here since the law m that State for years applied only to minors. Orders have not been issued or
the law has not been put into effect in Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
Connecticut and Rhode Island have not yet had orders for important woman-employing industries that have
been in effect lonp enough for determination of results, though both have made careful industry studies and
each has issued one imiHjrtant order.
,
.
. , ^
* For discussion of Arkansas, Kansas, and the District of Columbia, whose laws were declared unconstitutional. see Women's Bureau Bnl. 61, The Development of Minimum-Wage Laws in the United States,
1912 to 1927. 192S. pp. 334-337 and 310-346. Por discussion of Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington,
where few data are available, see Bui 61, cit., pp. 374;-396.
• The first decree was in effect m 1916. See Women's Bureau Bui. 61, cit., p. 11.




101

102

WOMEN I N T H E 3 ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

gressive weeldy minimum rates for industries i n general—hourly rates
for canning had been set i n 1916—were fixed i n California as follows:
1917
191 9
192 0

$10. 00
13. 50
16. 00

The last ^vas the highest ever fixed on a general scale i n any State,
and women's wages i n California thus were kept at a correspondingly
high level for more than 15 years. This situation was maintained with
the ardent support of many employers, in spite of the fact that some
of the most important industries to which the law applies are highly
seasonal and some are among those usually thought of as especially
low-paying; for example, various types of canning and preserving,
laundries, confectionery, and certain of the clothing industries.
Median earnings i n California industries before and after the 1920
standard ^vas established were as follows:®
^^edian of week's earnings in—
1919
1920

Manufacturing
Laundries
Mercantile

S13. 50
13. 85
13. 85

S17. 10
17. 25
17. 35

Striking examples of the effect of the minimum-wage provision are
shown by comparison of the proportions of women earning certain
amoimts before and after the order fixing a $16 minimum. The
following are the proportions vnth earnings of $17 or more before and
after this minimum was set: ^
Percent earning $17
or more

March 1919 ($10 minimum)
March 1922 ($16 minimum)

16. 5
54. 5

The proportion continued to rise, and even i n the depression years
of 1930 and 1931 more women than at the earlier dates were earning
at least $17, well above the required minimum. I n September 1931
the following were the proportions earning $17 or more:®
Percent earning
$17 or more

Manufacturing
Laundry and dry cleaning
Mercantile

44. 0
45. 7
72. 4

The proportions of women i n manufacturing whose wages were well
above $16 even i n the earlier depression year of 1921 had more than
doubled those before such minimum was fixed. I n laundries and in
those manufacturing industries for wliich 500 or more women were
reported, the follo%ving are the proportions whose wages were $18 or
more before the decree and after the decree fixing the minimum at
$16.«
« See AVomen's Bureau Bui. 61, cit.. p. 337.
s
ll^nriS^^^
Industrial Relations.
« CallfonSa.

Bureau o i Labor Statistics.




Biennial report, 1930-32, p. lOS.

Biennial reports: 1919-20, p. 140 IT, and 1921-22, p. 146 ft.

EFFECTS OF M I N I M t B l - W A G E L A W S

JQS

Percent whose wages were $1% or more—
f

J.

.

Before decree, 1918 After decree, 1921

A l l manufacturing
Bakery products.
""
Boxes, bags, cartons, etc., paper
Canning and preserving of fruits and vegetables,..
Canning a n d packing of fish.
Packing and processing of dried fruits
Clothing, men's
Clothing, women's
Confectionery
Electric machinery, apparatus, and supplies..
Food preparations
Printing and publishing
Tobacco manufactures
Laundries (steam)

15. 0
2. 7
,4
20. 9
10. 5
18. 3
16. 1
12. 9
7.4
6. 0
1.0
14. 6
18. 8
6.6

40 0
30 0
17] 3
38 7
31 6
37 4
57.6
51. 7
27.7
54. 5
27.2
77, 1
30. 8
39.6

Comparison of the California wage rates w i t h those of other States
indicates the influence of the minimum-wage law and its administration
in keeping up women's wages. I n surveys of two important industrial
States i n 1922, the Women's Bureau found women's median week's
earnings i n manufacturing, stores, and laundries combiaed to be $13.65
i n Ohio and $14.95 i n New Jersey,^** b u t i n California i n the same period
women h a d median earnings i n manufacturing of $17, i n laundries
of $17.35, and i n stores of $18.35."
I n spite of the definite effect of the minimum-wage law i n increasing
the proportions of women receiving amoimts well above the miaimum,
such amounts still were received b y very many more men than women.
The reports on manufactures for 1918 (prior to decree setting $16)
and 1921 (after the $16 minimum) show more than nine-tenths of the
men to be receiving $18 or over, the proportions being the same i n the
2 years. F o r women, while the proportion after the $16 m i n i m u m
was set was more than two and one-half times t h a t before, i t still
was less than half of men's. The figures are as follows:
Percent whose wages were $18 or more—

1918
91.0
15.0

Men
Women

mi
91.8
40.0

I t w o u l d be difficult to find a more striking example both of the
need of minimum-wage legislation for women and at the same time
of its marked effect i n raising the levels of women's wages.
Massachusetts.
The first m i n i m u m wage i n Massachusetts was p u t into effect i n
1914. T h r o u g h most of its history the law i n this State has been
nonmandatory—carried out only through publicity of violations, not
through any active enforcement powers—and the m i o i m u m rates
fixed have been rather low. These conditions have n o t fostered so
spectacular a showing of results as t h a t i n California. Nevertheless,
" XT. S. Department of Labor. Women's Bureau. Women in Ohio Industries.
131, and Women in New Jersey Industries. Bui. 37. 1924. p. 13.
» Women's Bureau Bui. 61, cit., p. 337.
»
> California, cit., 1921-22, pp. 97» 98.
»
150483*—37

8




Bui. 44.

1925. pp. 26,

104

W O M E N I N T H E 3 ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

there is considerable evidence to indicate that the more than 20 years'
experience of Massachusetts has demonstrated that the law has had
some influence i n advancing women's wages.
The experience as to the extent to which the low-wage groups had
been raised i n certain important woman-employing industries is quite
striking when the reports are considered from inspections made before
and those made shortly after the minimima-wage decrees were issued.^^
Though the minima feed were quite low and though the period was
one of generally rising prices, these reported inspections are not
representative of either the price peak of 1920 or the trough of 1921-22
and may be considered fairly indicative of some definite influence of
the wage law even though compliance was not compulsory.
Percent whose rates were
Before wage
decree

Druggists' preparations (1923; 1924)
Electrical equipment and supplies (1925; 1928)
Laundries (1918-19; 1923)
Retail stores (1919; 1922-23)

9. 8
46. 2
" 14. 4
21. 8

or more-^

At first inspection
after decree

51.
63.
50.
68.

6
6
8
4

,
'

$13 or more.

Earnings had been very materially raised for the women i n one
very low-paid group for which between 1,000 and 2,000 women were
reported—the cleaners of offices and buildings. Before the decree
well over two-fifths of these workers had rates of less than 32 cents
an hour; after the decree less than 3 percent had such low rates in
any year reported. Before the decree only 13 percent had rates so
high as 38 cents; after the decree, i n the various years reported, from
a third to more than a half received this much and practically a tenth
to a sixth were paid at least 45 cents.
Before the decree the median of the week's earnings was the pitifully small sum of $6.55, and only a fourth of the women received as
much as $7.35. After the decree, even i n the depressed year of 1921,
the median of the earnings was $11.35 and a f o u r t h received more than
$12.55. These and other week's data from inspections of the wages
of this low-paid group at various times are as follows:^®
One-half earned above One-fourth earned abore
this amount
this amount

1917
1920

$6. 55
10.00
11-35
11.55
12.10

1922

$7. 35
10. 90
12.55
13.20
13.50

Reports for individual industries indicate marked rises i n earnings
after a decree or frequently a series of several decrees progressively
raising earnings over a period of years. While these years represent
a time of generally rising prices, yet the wage advances i n a number
" M^SLCHSFet& ci?® i q S ' ^ P ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
" Women's B u r ^ u Bui. 61, cii.,'p. 34S AT.




Industries.

Annual reports: 1928, p. 64, and 1929, pp. 74-75.

EFFECTS OF M I N I M t B l - W A G E LAWS

JQS

of cases were greater than could be accounted for without the action
fixing a m i n i m u m . I n stores and i n bread and bakery products, for
example, a rise of about one-fifth took place in a 2-year period not
one of phenomenal price rises. I n women's and men's clothing,
laundries, and men's furnishings very great wage advances occurred
over 5- to 10-year periods marked b y decrees successively raising the
minima fixed. These and other figures for special industries show
the following wage advances: ^^
Median of week's eaTnings—
Before any
After decree Percent

Manufacturing:
Bread and bakery products
Candy
Corsets
K n i t goods
Men's clothing
Men's furnishings
Millinery
Muslin underwear
Paper boxes
Women's clothing
Cleaners, ofRce and building
Laundries
Retail stores

$12. 05
8.30
10.25
10.40
6.50
6. 65
& 95
6. 10
10. 15
6. 00
^ 55
5.95
7. 05

" I n this case a decrease, in the depression year 1921.
1 The median falls above this amount.
9

$ l i 25
12.35
9.70
"15.00
"18.00
13. 75
15. 60
9. 35
13. 70
» 18. 00
10. 00
13.35
8. 55

18 3
48.8
"5,4
2 44.2
0
2M76. 9
106. 8
74. 3
53. 3
35. 0
200. 0
52. 7
124.4
21. 3

» See footnote 19.
«

Wisconsin.
Since the m i n i m u m rates fixed i n Wisconsin have been relatively
low, the effect i n raising the general wage level has not been great.
However, 20 years of experience has shown definite effects i n raising
the wages of m a n y women whose earnings were very low.
The first decree was p u t into effect i n 1917. After the minimum
was raised i n 1921 to yield, on the basis of the 50-hour week usually
worked, $11 to $12.50 according to size of locality, computations
show three-fourths of the women i n all industries, from localities of
all sizes, earning above the following amounts:
192 2
192 3
192 4

$13. 35
13. 65
14. 10

Comparison of Wisconsin wages w i t h those i n other States shows
the definite benefits of minimimi-wage laws for women. D u r i n g the
late depression year of 1932, m i n i m u m hourly rates set for experienced women i n canning factories i n Wisconsin were, b y size of locali t y , 20 and 22}^ cents. I n California, another minimum-wage State,
the rate was higher, 33K cents. "An investigation made i n the summer
of 1932 of 43 canneries i n N e w Y o r k State, which at t h a t time had
no minimum-wage law, showed t h a t i n almost three-fourths of these
plants women received n o t more than 12K cents an hour.^®
Women's Bureau Bnl. 61, cit., p. 348 ff.
n Women's Bureau BuJ. 61. cit.. p. 367
" New York Consumers' Leajfuo. What the New Cannery Code Has Done for the Women Employed
in New York Canneries. [1932?J p. 10.




106

WOMEN I N T H E 3 ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

Data on average full-time earnings per week i n 1930 i n tliree industries reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics show
the average lower i n most States than i n Wisconsin, i n spite of the
rather low Wisconsin rates.
States or cUits
reported

Boots and shoes ^
Hosiery ^^
Men's clothing

Having wnges below
those of TVwconsin

14 States.
13 States «
12 citics.

M U . S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

11 States.
8 States.
9 cities below
Milwaukee.

Wages and Hours of Labor in the Boot and Shoe Industry, 1910 to

^^aUbiS W a g ^ an^Hours of Labor in tho Hosiery and Underwear Industries. 1932. 13uL 591. 1933. p. 9.
n Data for Minnesota were tabulated with thoso for Wisconsin, but the latter, an imiwrtant State in this
Industry, undoubtedly predominated.
U . S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages and Hours of Labor in the Men's Clothing Industry, 1932.
Bui. 694. 1933. p. 7.

STATES W I T H RECENT MIBOMUM-WAGE EXPERIENCE

The severe depression that began i n 1929-30, causing unprecedented lows i n women's wages, aroused a very keen and widespread interest i n existing minimum-wage laws and gave new impetus
to their passage in additional States. I n four of these States the new
laws were followed by the fixing of minimum rates i n an important
service industry i n which such low wages had been paid by many
plants that employers desired State cooperation in setting a bottom
level to wages—the laundry industry. I n each of these States the
experience has been that the minimum-wage orders considerably
raised the wage levels of women at work i n laundries. The advances
i n average week's earnings i n this industiy in three of these States
were as follows:
Average weekly earnings—
Before miniAfter viini*
mum
filed
mum fixed

New Hampshire
New York
OhioM

$10, 20
10.41
8.83

Percent
increase

$11. 33
13.42
10.61

11.1
28.9
20.2

" Some Effects of the Laundry Wage Order. Report of Inspections M a d e Under Directory Order No 1
;he
Ui
b y t h e N e w H a m p s h ilire -Minimum-Wage Office, 1934-35. Table 1. (Mimeog.)
r-" "^-'
_
« Factual BrieHor Appellant in the N e w York Minimum-Wage Case Before 1
Mmimum-Wage
the United States Supreme
age L a w .

Bui. 145.

omen and Minors
1936. p. 53.

Average hourly earnings also increased i n these States, as well as in
Illinois, as follows:
Aterage hourly
earnings—
Before min- After minimum fixed imum fired
icents)
(cents)

Illino^so..
New Hampshire
New York
Ohio 3
3
(MiSfo^V^

(rates)

25.8
27. 3
24.1
22.9

Percent
increase

27.6
30. 6
31.0
27.5

7.0
12.1
2a 6
20.1

Laundry Directory Order on the Wages and Hours of Women and Minors (Dlinols).

" New Hampshire, cit.
" Unpublished data compiled by the Women's Bureau
« Women's Bureau Bui. 145, cit., p. 76. Figures are for 60 laundries reported for both periods.




EFFECTS OF M I N I M t B l - W A G E LAWS

JQS

I n N e w Y o r k 81 percent of the women had increases i n hourly
earnings after the laundry order went into effect. The advance i n
women's average week's earnings f r o m M a y 1933 to November 1935
was much greater i n laundries than i n aU manufacturing industries,
the percent of increase being as follows:
Percent increase i n
women's average
weekly earnings

Laundries
A l l manufacturing industries

28. 9
16. 7

Further testimony to the beneficial effects of a minimum-wage law
for women on their wages is shown i n the fact t h a t i n New Y o r k such
wages immediately declined when the law i n that State ceased operation. I n presenting the data confirming this, the New Y o r k State
Industrial B u l l e t i n says:
I t is significant that the increased hours and the decreased wage had
occurred within four months after invalidation of the minimum fair wage law
by the Supreme Court and i n spite of sincere attempts by laundry associations
to maintain higher wage standards.

I n order t o secure further information on the effects of minimumwage legislation, the Women's Bureau investigated women's wages i n
131 laundries i n New Y o r k , operating under a minimum-wage law,
and 116 laundries i n Pennsylvania, a State having no m i n i m u m wage.^®
Advances i n women's wages had been much greater and wage levels
were considerably higher under the m i n i m u m wage than Avithout i t ,
as the following data for women's wages show:
Percent increase in
average hourtif earnings, 1933 to 193S

New Y o r k . . .
Pennsylvania

Percent receiving less
than £7H cents an
hour, November 1B35

28. 6
14.7

0. 8
73.5

EFFECTS OF MINIMUM-WAGE LAWS OTHER T H A N I N RAISING WAGE
LEVELS

F r o m the foregoing data i t is apparent that i t has been the universal
experience i n this country t h a t minimum-wage legislation for women
has raised the level of women's wages.
T w o i m p o r t a n t questions t h a t frequently have been asked as to its
other effects on women can now be answered f r o m experience of
considerable duration. These questions are: H o w does i t affect the
employment of women? Does i t pull down the wages of the women
formerly paid above the minimum?
E m p l o y m e n t of W o m e n Where M i n i m u m - W a g e Laws Exist.
There is no evidence t h a t where minimum-wage laws have been i n
operation they have had any general effect upon the employment of
women. Indeed, there is no reason why the fixing of a m i n i m u m
should cause women to be replaced by men, for even though i t raises
" N e w York.^ Department
Labor. T h e Industrial Bulletin, February 1937, p. 49.
« Unpublished data compUed by the Women's Bureau.




108

WOMEN I N T H E 3 ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

women's pay considerably their wage levels still are very materially
below those of men. The continual shifts i n women's employment that are occmiing at all times and i n all places are caused by
many factors other than those of the establishment of a minimuin
wage. Where losses occur they are due to industrial reasons, and the
type of law that has been shown t o have raised women's wages has no
appreciable effect on their employment. I n fact, the usual experience
is that women's employment continues its normal increase where
minimum-wage laws are i n effect, as is illustrated b y the following
charactertistic data from several States.
California.—^The experience of California indicates that, rather
than a decline i n the employment of women after the $16 mimmumwage orders had been p u t into effect, there were increases i n numbers
of women i n manufacturing industries, and very decided increases in
the proportions women formed of all employees. These orders were
applied i n 1920 and the figures compared are those reported by the
California Bureau of Labor Statistics i n 1918 and 1921.®^
I n all manufacturing industries (laimdries included) the proportion
of women among the employees increased considerably f r o m 1918 to,
1921, the figures being as follows:
Percent women
formed of all employm

1918
1921

19. 8
26. 7

Among the industries employing 500 or more women i n 1921 were
5 reporting an increase i n the number of women employed, even
though i n 3 cases fewer firms were reported. The proportion women
formed of the whole showed little change i n two industries. There was
an increase i n five industries as is shown i n the following summary:
PercerU icomen formed
of all employees iti—

Canning and preserving of f r u i t and vegetables
Clothing, women's
Food preparations
Packing and processing of dried fruits
Tobacco manufactures

1918
62. 1
77.3
_ 48. i
. 29.8
51. 4

1921
65. 7
79.6
54. 9
66.4
59. 6

I n this case fewer women in 1921, since fewer firms reported.

Further evidence of the fact that minimum-wage legislation for
women does n o t cause decline i n their employment opportunities is
shown by the continuous increases i n their employment i n mercantile,
laundry and d i y cleaning, and manufacturing industries i n California
after the minimum-wage orders were p u t i n t o effect. Though there
were declines during the depression, yet even i n some of the worst depression years, 1930 and 1931, there were more than twice as many
women i n these occupations as i n 1919, before the $16 minimum-wage
orders. While the increase from 1920 to 1930 i n employment of women
California, cit., 1919-20, p . 140 ff., and 1921-22, p. 146 fl.




EFFECTS OF M I N I M t B l - W A G E L A W S

JQS

i n these industries i n California was nearly 69 percent, the increase for
the country as a whole, as nearly as comparable figures can be
obtained, was less than 13 percent.®^
Massachusetts.—In 5 years ending i n 1923, wage rates of 123,543
women covered by minimum-wage orders were examined. A wholly
negligible proportion of these, only 90 women i n the grand total, so
small a proportion as scarcely can bo expressed, had been discharged
because of refusal to adjust their rates to the law.^®
New York.—^The following statement, made by New York State
officials, is based on data collected by the State department of labor
as to the effects of the wage increase under the minimum-wage order
for the laundry industry:
There is no indication t h a t the increased wage for women nas resulted i n
the displacement of women by men i n the laundry industry. Throughout
the period f r o m 1033 t o 1935 women have continued to f o r m 60 percent of
the employees i n New York State laundries.^^

Visits to 36 New York laimdries, employing at least 60 workers and
showing a change i n proportion of women employed during the
minimimi-wage period, were made by agents of the Women's Bureau,
United States Department of Labor (data unpublished). The actual
number of women i n these laundries had increased 4.5 percent.
Though i n some cases women had lost jobs because of introduction of
machinery or other purely industrial causes, i n only three cases did
the employers mention the minimuyn wage as contributory. Their
complaint was not the basic minimum wage but the higher rates
required for short hours and overtime. I n the Women's Bureau
study of conditions i n 131 New York laundries as compared to 116
such estabhshments i n Pennsylvania, greater employment increases
were found i n New Y o r k than i n Pennsylvania where there was no
minimum-wage law.^^ Women's employment had increased i n the
following proportions during the period when the New York minimumwage law was i n effect:
Percent increase in
Koman-employment,
May
mS-NoiernbermS

New York
Pennsylvania

5. 9
2. 9

Ohio,—^A comparison of the numbers of women employed i n identical establishments before and during the operation of the minimumwage orders i n Ohio shows that the number of women both i n laundries and i n dry-cleaning plants had increased i n this period, though
the number of men i n dry cleaning had declined.^
Wisconsin.—Oi 863 Wisconsin employers asked i n A p r i l 1923 as to
whether the minimum-wage law had resulted i n dismissal of women
" California, cit., 1930-32, p. 108; U . S. Bureau of the Census.
Practice.

Fifteenth Census, 1930: Population, vol.

M a r y W . Dewson, and John R . Commons.
Published by National Consumers'League. 1924. p. 171.

« U n p u b S h J d dato^o^^^^




by the Women's Bureau.

State Minimum-Wage Laws in

« Women's Bureau Bui. 145, cit., p. 75.

121

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D H ' J ^ V T E S

and minors, 96 percent replied t h a t i t had not. Of the few who said
there had been dismissals, some added comments indicating inefficiency of the employees who had lost their jobs, and the possibilities
therefore were t h a t this would have happened w i t h o u t the law,^
Wages of W o m e n Above the M i n i m u m .
Minimum-wage laws are designed specifically to raise wages at the
very lowest levels, and i t has been abimdantly illustrated t h a t they
accomplish this. The experience also has been t h a t the laws have
tended t o raise the wages of many who were receiving above the minim u m , i n spite of the fact t h a t such laws are n o t especially designed to
apply to these workers. Instances of this i n a number of minimumwage States may be shown.
Calijomia.—The
experience of California has been t h a t the proportion of women receiving $17 and over has increased steadily from
1920, when the m i n i m u m of $16 was fixed, through 1929, vnth only a
slight drop i n 1930, and t h a t i n September 1931 such amounts were
received b y 58 percent of the women. Even i n this, depression period
(1931), the following proportions received $20 or more:
Percent reeeiv'
ing $20 or more

Manufacturing
Laundry and dry cleaning
Mercantile

25.6
22.9
45.7

Massachusetts.—In Massachusetts, where the m i n i m u m rates were
fairly low, usually less than $14, and the orders were n o t mandatory,
the increases i n proportions receiving $17 or more were remarkable.
These proportions follow:
Percent with rates of f 17 or mort-^
At inspecBefore wage
Atfint inxpec- Hon several
decree
tion ajter decree yean later

Druggists' preparations
Electrical equipment and supplies
Laundries
Retail stores

12. 0
(")
8.1

19. 5
24. 6
14. 1
26.3

31.4
26. 8
23. 7
38.3

N o t reported.

North Dakota.—Though
without a large industrial population,
N o r t h D a k o t a has had long experience w i t h a minimum-wage law.
A survey of t h a t State made by the Women's Bureau of the United
States Department of Labor i n the depression year of 1931 found that
almost two-thirds of the experienced women i n a large sample were
receiving more than the m i n i m u m rates fixed for the industries in
w h i c h they were employed.'*®
** Frankfurter, Dewson, and Common?, cit., pp. 121-122.
pres^nUeS^^
« Massachusetts, cit., 1929, pp. 74r-75; 1930, p. fiQ.
(Mimeog.)
Women's Bureau.




particular industries, see p. 101 of

Wages and Hours of Women in N o r t h Dalcota.

EFFECTS OF M I N I M t B l - W A G E LAWS

JQS

Laundry wages in jour newer minimum-wage States.—The fact has
been referred to that several of the newer mumnmn-wage States fixed
such wages first i n the laundry industry. Their experience has been
that after a minimum was established not only did larger proportions
of women than before receive as much as this amount, but larger
proportions than before earned more than this minimum. For
example, 30 cents or more, an amount above the minimum, was
received by the following proportions of women in the States
specified:
Percent receiving SO cents or more—
Before mtmmum After minimum
fixed
fixed

Illinois"
New Hampshire ^ (rates)
Ohio"

18.2
37. 5
15. 6

20.9
42. 4
25. 0

" Illinois, cit., p
New Hampshire, cit., table 4.
ii Women's Bureau Bui. 145, c i t , p. 76. Figures are for 60 laundries reported for both periods.

A similar showing is made even if amounts considerably above
the minimmn are considered. These proportions of women received
as much as $16 and as much as $15 i n New Hampshire
and New
York/^ respectively:
Percent receiving amount specified—
Before minimum After minimum

Women in New Hampshire receiving as much
as $16
Women i n New York receiving as much as $15.

fi^fd
3.5
9. 1

13.9
21. 7

S U M M A R Y OF T H E EFFECTS OF M I N I M U M - W A G E LAWS

The universal experience m t h minimum-wage legislation, wherever
i t has been introduced into the various States i n this country, is that
i t has very materially raised the wages of large numbers of women,
and that i n some cases this effect has been most marked.
Far from reducing the wages of those receiving above the minimum,
this type of law has resulted i n raising the wages of many persons who.
previously had received more than the minimxmi fixed, and experience
has sho'vvn t h a t the minimum put i n operation does not become the
maximum.
I n regard to women's employment, the usual experience has been
that i t continues to increase regardless of whether or not there is
minimum-wage legislation, and i n the State where the highest minimum was maintained over a long period of years women's employment
increased considerably more than i n the country as a whole. The
constant changes i n employment that are occurring are attributable
to many factors not connected \vith the minimum wage, and there is
no evidence that such legislation has any general or controlling effect
toward inducing the replacement of women by men.
" New Hampshire, cit., table 2.
« N e w Y o r k brief, cit., p. 71.




Chapter 3 . — E X P E R I E N C E AS T O T H E E F F E C T S O F LABOR
LEGISLATION FOR W O M E N O N T H E I R OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMPLOYMENT
When the occupations of any group are under fire, t h a t group
naturally becomes very jealous of i t s position. F o r example, i n the
recent depression period the employment of women was imder fire
i n some areas and under certain situations—and indeed i n some countries i t was urgently suggested that, i n spite of a large imattached
woman population, the traditional housekeeping duties of their sex
still should f o r m almost their only job.
Women i n the United States, suffering f r o m a considerable drive
against the employment of married women, regardless of their status
and financial responsibiUties, saw i n this situation the beginning of
further opposition to the gainful employment of all women. This
caused a redoubling of the efforts of the advocates of opportunity for
women, accompanied b y a flare-up of the old fear t h a t legislation to
secure improved wages, hours, and conditions of w o r k for women
might l i m i t their chances of employment.
A similar situation occurred during the depression after the World
War. A t t h a t time also there was a fear t h a t women's employment
opportunities might be lessened b y labor legislation applying especially
to them, such as t h a t shortening their hours, even when i t merely
sought to secure for women hours as short as those already provided for
men through imion action.
Curiously enough, this led to a resistance to labor legislation for
their own sex on the p a r t of women who advocate p r i m a r i l y women's
rights, and who therefore, i t would be thought, would welcome efforts
to secure better labor conditions for women and t o b r i n g their situation i n this connection nearer t o the standards more generally enjoyed
b y men. This attitude has continued over some years.
The Women^s Bureau, the Federal agency officially charged w i t h the
d u t y to "promote the welfare of wage-earning women, improve their
working conditions, increase their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment", sought t o gather accurate
information as to the actual effects of labor legislation on the women
who were at work a t the time of its enactment. T o obtain this
information, a very extensive survey was conducted, consisting of
m a n y parts and planned specifically to secure objective data. The
findings of the survey constitute the most comprehensive and objective
report as to the experience i n the effects of labor legislation for women
t h a t ever has been made i n any p a r t of the world. I t s findings are
112




EFFECTS OF LABOR L E G I S L A T I O N FOR WOMEN

J13

in principle as authentic under present conditions as they were when
the study was made, and they are likely to remain so for many years
to come.
CHARACTER AND PARTS OF STUDY OF EFFECTS OF LABOR
LEGISLATION 1

The report was based on schedules secured over a nine-month
period beginning i n M a r c h 1926 f r o m more than 1,600 establishments
employing over 660,000 men and women, and from personal interviews
w i t h more t h a n 1,200 worldng women who actually had experienced a
change i n the law or who were employed under conditions or i n occupations prohibited for women i n some other State. The setting up
of the problem and the technique of procedure were designed to safeguard the objective character of the results. The survey sought to
find out w h a t actually happened i n a selected number of industries
i n various States before and after the enactment of laws i n those
States t h a t had them, compared w i t h what actually happened i n the
same industries i n States not having such laws.
I n planning the investigation a carefully considered choice was
made between a detailed statistical study of conditions i n a few establishments i n a l i m i t e d area and the collection of information through
individual interviews covering large groups i n many States and occupations. I t was felt t h a t the latter method woidd yield the most
significant results, because, provided the findings were acceptable
from a scientific point of view, the field f r o m which they were drawn
would be broad enough and sufficiently varied to be conclusive.
I t was necessaiy, of course, to adopt the sampling process so as t o
secure material t h a t would illustrate the subject adequately. I n selecting these samples the poUcy followed was to take certain industries t h a t , i n regard to numbers and proportions of women employed,
increases or decreases i n such numbers and proportions, extent of
oi^anization, type of w o r k done, amount of skill required, and opportunity for competition vnth. men, were typical of different conditions
of women's employment.
Five I m p o r t a n t W o m a n - E m p l o y i n g Industries Studied.
Five manufacturing industries—boots and shoes, hosiery, paper
boxes, electrical products (including apparatus and supplies), and
clothing—were selected as t y p i f y i n g representative conditions of
women's employment i n industries regulated by laws i n many States
and as furnishing adequate samples of the general influences that
have played a part i n determining women's position i n industrial
Muchofthematerial In the pages following is taken bodily from the report of the study. Bemuse of the
importance of making clear the scientific character of the su^ey, and W a u s e of ite many P ^ t e and f ^
re^hing character sc
^ — / r x i - t ^ t in /tAno^erahiA Hpfmi. For tne comDiete repori see
Women's Bureau B u i
1928. 49S pp. (Out 01 p n n i out
c h . H of the report. 1928. 22 pp.




114

W O M E N I N T H E 3 ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

pursuits. There was planned also a survey of possible opportunities
for women i n industries operating longer than the hours permitted
b y law for women or operating at night. I n States where there was
no legal l i m i t a t i o n of women's hours, the extent of women's employment under the conditions prohibited i n other States was studied;
and i n States where such limitations existed, employers were interviewed to discover what would be the possibilities for the increased
employment of women if the legal restrictions w^ere n o t i n effect.
One f o r m of schedule was used for the detailed comparative study
of women's employment i n five industries. F o r other sections of
the investigation, more limited i n scope, a less elastic schedule was used.
Special Lines of E m p l o y m e n t a n d Characteristic Occupations
Studied.
I n addition to the information concerning women employed in
general manufacturing processes, data were collected as to the effects
of any legislation regulating the employment of women and especially
of hour regulation i n the following:
I m p o r t a n t fields of work for women:
Occupations i n stores.
Waitresses i n restaurants.
Occupations representing concrete individual problems:
Core makers.
Street-car conductors and ticket agents.
Elevator operators.
Pharmacists.
Metal-trades occupations.
Printing occupations.
Special occupations prohibited in some States (in some cases very unimportant
numerically):
Welding.
Grinding, polishing, and buffing.
Taxi driving.
Meter reading.

Agencies Cooperating i n Special Parts of the Survey.
I n an attempt to secure information regarding women's employment as affected b y legislation f r o m the standpoint of the placement
official, the Women's Bureau was fortunate i n securing the cooperation
of the 44 State employment offices cooperatmg with, the United
States E m p l o y m e n t Service.
I n f o r m a t i o n was secured also f r o m the I n d u s t r i a l Survey Commission of the State of N e w Y o r k as t o the experiences of many
persons i n relation to a proposed 48-hour law for women.
I n two instances the information secured b y the Women's Bureau
was supplemented b y investigations made b y State labor officials.
I n N e w Y o r k State the Bureau of Women i n I n d u s t r y of the Depart


EFFECTS OF LABOR L E G I S L A T I O N FOR WOMEN

J13

ment of Labor made a survey of the number of women employed at
night i n newspaper offices t h a t was used i n tliis report i n the section
on night-work legislation; and i n Pennsylvania the Bureau of Women
and Children of the Department of Labor and Industry made a study
of the mercantile establishments of t h a t State and furnished an
abstract of the study for inclusion i n the Women's Bureau report.
Interviews W i t h I n d u s t r i a l W o m e n as to T h e i r Experiences.
Another p a r t of the investigation, fully as important as the detailed
examination of the industrial employment of women, was the securing, through interviews w i t h working women themselves, of accounts
of how legislation had affected them personally. W i t h the exception
of a group of women who were employed i n occupations or under
conditions prohibited i n other States by law, interviews were not used
unless the women were employed when some legislation went into effect.
I n this section of the investigation the effort was especially determined
to keep the material objective and t o record no general opinions as to
approval or disapproval of the laws i n question. This policy materially limited the group of women who could be iaterviewed, as i n
many States the only important laws had been passed so long ago
t h a t few women could be located whose w o r k history went back so
far. Nevertheless, a considerable number of women were found
who could give direct testimony of the effects on their opportunities
of specific labor laws, and this testimony threw much light on certain
aspects of legislation.
Coverage o£ the Survey.
The entire coverage of this very extensive investigation is shown
here and on the following page.
Grand total

Establish' • Men emments
ployed

Manufacturing industries
Boots and shoes
Clothing
Electrical products
Hosiery
Paper boxes
Stores.:.
Restaurants (waitresses)
Long-hour industries
The evening shift
The effect of night-work laws on women i n industry. .
Special occupations (where these can be statistically
recorded):
Elevator operators
Street-car conductors and ticket agents
Core makers
Women i n metal trades
Women i n printing and publishing

Women employed

1,663

500,223

312
37
81
106
42
46
54
198
233
7
301

75, 947
8,142
7,164
55,907
3,801
933
5,193
2, 537
90, 748
3,616
217, 421

164,552
44,894
7,238
8,942
17,055
9,581
2,078
13,374
2, 361
24, 453
^ 114
71,141

335
7
12
15
89

1,608
(2)
M98
101, 797
1, 158

691
» 121
5, 146
2o7

> The report on women street-car conductors and ticket agents was compiled from three sources: 2 studies
made in 1919 and 1 in 1926, Information giving total numbers of men and women employed therefore would
not be indicative of the situation at any one time and has been omitted for that reason.
» I n the occupation.




127

WOMEN I N T H E 3 ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

I n addition to the foregoing, pharmacists were reported on from 38
States i n which both the State boards of pharmacy and the labor
departments were consulted.*
Further than this, i n the case of four occupations prohibited i n some
States, information was obtained for women employed i n such occupations i n other States where they were not prohibited, though some
of them were of little importance numerically. The numbers reported
upon i n these were as follows:
Establishmenu

Grinding, polishing, and buffing
Welding
Meter reading (electric and gas)
Taxi driving

-

43
19
16
® 20

Womtn

526
126
None
MO

» Of the 20 establishments investigated, 19 employed no women.

CONCLUSIONS OF STUDY OF EFFECTS OF LABOR LEGISLATION

Women i n gainful occupations are assuming steadily a more
important position i n economic and industrial fields, i n spite of differences i n locality, economic condition, industrial need, demand for
labor, or status of women as wage earners.®
This development of gainful employment for women has been
accompanied by extensive increases i n the labor legislation applying
to women; and just as the growth of women's opportunities has shown
different trends i n different places, so has the legislative regulation of
their work. I n some States there is very complete legal regulation
of most phases of women's employment i n industry; i n other States
there is practically no regulation whatsoever. I n some States the
laws i n question cover a large proportion of the women who are at
work; i n other States they apply to only a small group. Even the
most comprehensive of them, however, does not apply to many women
i n business and professional occupations, to women who work independently, nor to women i n supervisory positions.
Disregarding two factors—the nonexistence i n 1937 of a figure even
approximating the number of women gainfully occupied and the effects
of recent changes, favorable and unfavorable, i n legislation—it can
be said that at the time of the Women's Bureau study of the effects
of legislation i t was estimated that the sum total of women i n the
United States having working hours regulated by special labor legislation amounted to only about one-third of the women gainfully
occupied. The industrial codes i n operation are due to the experiences
and efforts of many different groups, some of which have been dominant i n one locaUty and some i n another.
The Women's Bureau investigation sampled many different types
of women's employment. Some of the occupations studied may be
considered typical of a wider field; others are unique i n their require* As pharmacy study was made chiefly by questionnaire, the Information cannot be classified statistically
in the form required by this table.
* See pt. I . sec. 1. of the present report on employment of women.




EFFECTS OF LABOR L E G I S L A T I O N FOR W O M E N

J13

ments and correspondingly individual i n the effects of legislative
regulation. The variety of occupations and industries covered, however, was sufficiently wide to indicate the most obvious benefits and
pitfalls t h a t may result f r o m different kinds, of legislation covering
the outstanding occupations of women.
Effects of H o u r Laws.
I n general, the regulatory hour laws as applied to women engaged
in the manufacturing processes of industry do not handicap the women
but serve to regulate employment and to establish the accepted
standards of modem eflScient industrial management. When applied
to specific occupations not entirely akin to the industrial work for
wliich the laws were dra\vn, this regulatory legislation i n a few instances
had been a handicap to women. B u t the findings seem to show that
the instances of handicap, which were diligently sought b y the investigators, were only instances, to be dealt w i t h as such, w i t h o u t allowing
them to interfere w i t h the development of the main body of legislation.
I n 4 States w i t h laws t h a t limited women's working week to 48 or
50 hours, information was secured from 156 establishments employing
24,216 women. I n only 2 of these establishments was there any
indication of a curtailment i n women's employment resulting from
the hour law. I n those 2 establishments the total decrease i n the
number of women employed was only 9. The almost infinitesimal
proportion t h a t these 9 form of the more than 24,000 women included
under the l a w i n the plants studied indicates the relative unimportance
of legislation as a possible handicap to women.
There is no doubt t h a t legislation l i m i t i n g women's hours of work
has reacted to estabUsh shorter hour standards generally and to
eliminate isolated examples of long hours. Also, i n a large majority
of cases, when hours were shortened for women because of the law
they w^ere shortened also for men.
Legislation is only one of the influences operating to reduce hoiu^
i n manufacturing estabUshments. Other factors t h a t have the same
effect and t h a t operate to a greater or less degree according to the
locality and type of industry, are agreements w i t h employees or w i t h
other firms, competition w i t h other firms, production requirements,
and business depressions. The report stresses the impossibility of
generalization, the necessity for recognizing differences i n occupations,
industries, and localities.
On the whole, the investigation showed that legislative hour restrictions of women's work have a very minor part i n influencing their
position and opportxmities i n manufacturing industries. Employers
have v e i y generally accepted the fact t h a t long hours do not make for
efficient production. This has been even more widely accepted i n the
very recent years since the reports under discussion. Competition
between firms often leads to decreased hours so that a better type of



l l g

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

labor may be attracted, and cases even were reported of a reduction
i n hours t o lessen the competition for labor resulting f r o m a legal
standard of short hours for women i n a neighboring State.
The legal l i m i t a t i o n of women's hours occasionally results i n the
maintenance of different schedules for men and women i n the same
plant. This, however, has not limited nor restricted women's employment and is not a situation peculiar to estabUshments operating under
legal regulation. Employment of men and women on different hour
schedules was found as an operatiug policy where such differences
were not due t o the law b u t were inaugiu-ated merely for the convenience of the management or workers.
Legal limitations of women's hours of w o r k have not brought about
any degree of substitution of men for women. I n manufacturing
establishments t h a t employed men longer hours t h a n were permitted
for women there was no evidence of any decrease i n women's employment because they could not work so long as men could, b u t i n a comparatively small niunber of cases there m i g h t have been additional
jobs open t o women i f they could have worked longer hours. These
jobs, however, bore no evidence of especially valuable occupational
opportunity.
N o t only have there been practically no instances of actual decreases i n women's employment as a result of hour legislation, but the
general status of their opportunity seems n o t to have been limited by
this type of law. Women were employed as extensively i n California
as i n Indiana, i n Massachusetts as i n N e w Y o r k . M o r e t h a n haff the
employers who required of men longer hours t h a n were legal for women
stated t h a t they would not employ women f o r such hours even did
the law permit i t .
Aside f r o m the shortening of hours and the elincdnation of overtime,
the most i m p o r t a n t effect of legislation l i m i t i n g women's hours of
work is the increased employment of women t h a t accompanies such
legislation. I t is a very general condition t h a t where women are
restricted b y law to 48 or 50 hours of w o r k per week, a larger force of
women is hired than would be the case i f i t were legally possible to
employ women overtime to take care of rush work.
Further illustration of the fact t h a t hour laws have n o t limited
women's opportunities i n industry was given b y the actual experiences
of working women who had been employed a t the time when some
hour legislation went i n t o effect. N o t one woman had foimd t h a t such
legislation h a d handicapped her or limited her opportunity i n indust r y . As a result of the laws, hours had been decreased for the majority
of women, b u t this was the only result experienced generally enough
to be significant.
Effects of N i g h t - W o r k Laws.
Laws prohibiting night work f o r women i n industry are chiefly a
reflection of the usual attitude of employers regarding such practice.



E F F E C T S OF L A B O R L E G I S L A T I O N FOR W O M E N

J13

b u t occasionally they have resulted i n a l i m i t a t i o n of women's employment. There is an astonishingly strong feeling among employers i n
industry against the employment of women at night, irrespective of
legal regulation. N i g h t work, considered undesirable for men, is
considered very much more undesirable for women. Sometimes the
fact t h a t women cannot be employed at night reduces or eliminates
their employment diudng the day, but here again the legal prohibition
of night w o r k is not the primary factor; one of the most striking
examples found of such a situation was i n a State where there is no
night-work law for women.
O n the whole, i n most localities and industries night work for either
men or women is frowned upon and is decreasing. T h e majority of
employers i n industry consider night work to be even more imdesirable for women than for men and they would not employ women at
night even i f the law permitted. When applied indiscriminately to
special occupations t h a t are professional or semiprofessional i n type,
night-work prohibition or regulation has resulted i n restrictions of
women's employment.
Effects of Prohibitory Laws.
I t should be pointed out that labor legislation divides broadly into
two parts: (1) Laws definitely prohibiting employment of women;
(2) laws regulating their employment. The laws that regulate their
employment may become prohibitory i n their actual effects. A very
different problem of investigation was involved i n studying prohibitory
legislation f r o m t h a t followed i n connection w i t h regulatory laws.
T h e effects of the laws prohibiting employment i n certain occupations
are very different f r o m those t h a t are regulatoiy. Prohibitory laws
have really only one effect—the elimination of women from the occupations covered. T h e importance or significance of this elimination
is the one necessary qualification i n a measurement of the effect.
I t is a difficult thing to measure what the prohibitory laws may have
done to women's opportimities i n the States where they are i n eflFect.
Through personal interviews w i t h women employed i n these occupations where no prohibition existed, and Avith their employers, there
was obtained a record of conditions of employment and personal
experience t h a t would constitute a basis of judgment as to whether
or n o t prohibition of such employment i n other places had been a real
handicap to women.
Certain situations did n o t seem susceptible of inquiry, such as the
prohibition of employment of women i n mines and i n quarries and i n
saloons (which continued to be named i n legislation). N o one had
seriously suggested t h a t employment i n mines should be open to
women, and hence i t did not emerge as a subject for investigation i n
this study, i t being assumed t h a t the changed practice of the mining
150483<^—37




llg

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

industry w i t h respect to the employment of women which was universal i n the United States was generally acceptable.
The occupations prohibited for women b y the laws of one or more
States are limited i n number. M a n y of these laws are insignificant
i n their possible eflfect o n women, b u t certain of them deserve very
careful consideration. T h e prohibited occupations studied i n the
course of this investigation are grinding, polishing, and buffing,
acetylene and electric welding, taxicab driving, and gas and electric
meter reading.
F r o m the fact that at the time of the survey women were successf u l l y employed elsewhere i n many of the prohibited occupations, i t
appeared t h a t the prohibition must have been something of a restrict i o n where i t existed. This restriction afforded the outstanding
oxample of possible discrimination against women resulting from
labor legislation.
Industrial, Social, Economic Factors Influence M o r e T h a n Laws.
I n almost every k i n d of employment the real forces t h a t influence
women's opportunity were foimd to be far removed f r o m legislative
restriction of their hours or conditions of w o r k . I n manufacturing,
the type of product, the division and simplification of manufacturing
processes, the development of machinery and mechanical aids to
production, the labor supply and its costs, and the general psychology
of the times, aU had played important parts i n determining the position
of women. These factors have varied w i t h the different industries
and localities, b u t eveiywhere they have been far more significant i n
their influence on the employment opportimities of women than has
any law regulating women's hours of work.
I n other occupations other influences have been dominant i n determining the extent of w^omen's employment. I n stores a more liberal
attitude and successful experimentation w i t h women on new jobs; in
restaurants the development of public opinion as to the type of
service most suitable for women; i n pharmacy a gradually increasing
confidence i n women's a b i l i t y on the p a r t of the public; i n the metal
trades a breaking down of the prejudices against women's employment on the p a r t of employers and of male employees, and demonstration of women's ability along certain lines—these are the significant
forces t h a t have influenced and vnH continue to determine women's
place among wage earners. Such forces have n o t been deflected by
the enforcement of legislative standards and they w i l l play the
dominant p a r t i n assuring t o women an equal chance i n those occupations for which their abilities and aptitudes fit them.




APPENDIXES
A . Evidences as to W o m e n ' s Wages.
B . References.
C . Recent Action b y O f f i c i a l I n t e r n a t i o n a l O r g a n i zations o n T h e E c o n o m i c S t a t u s of W o m e n .




121




Appendix A . — E V I D E N C E S AS T O W O M E N ' S W A G E S
F o r the most part the data cited here refer to the earnings of
women only and hence are n o t shown i n chapter 3 of part I where
only those sources are used t h a t report wages of both sexes. I n
some cases, however, the sources quoted here also are shown i n the
chapter referred to.
Domestic a n d Personal Service.
This category includes not only household employment but such
workers as those i n hotels, restaurants, laundries, and beauty shops.
Service in homes.—The information obtainable on the pay for home
service is of a scattering character, b u t such as does exist indicates
t h a t women's wages for this type of work often are extremely low,
and v a r y considerably from place to place and even w i t h i n the same
place.
Only one State (Wisconsin) has taken legal action on the wage of
household workers, and i n t h a t case the m i n i m u m was fixed i n 1932
at $6 cash i n addition to board or $4.25 cash w i t h meals and lodging,
for a 50-hour week or longer i n places irrespective of size (equal to
cents cash an hour, w i t h board and room). Board was estimated
at S4.50, rooms a t $2.25 for the larger places, thus making a total
value of $11 a week or 22 cents an hour for 50 hours, and at the rate
of 20 cents an hour for smaller places.^
T h e wages paid i n 1936 averaged a l i t t l e above this, the Wisconsin
E m p l o y m e n t Service reporting t h a t the average beginning wage of
1,327 maids placed i n general maids' work and cooking i n the first 6
months of 1936 was 10 cents an hour i n cash, plus board and room.
(Equivalent t o $11.75 for the larger places i f all cash at the rate for
board and room for a 50-hour week set by the commission.) ^
I n several surveys made of the occupations i n homes, the following
wages have been reported:
Philadelphia, 1928, general houseworkers living i n : »
Median week's earnings $14.60.
Chicago, 1930, general houseworkers living in: *
Earning $15 or more, practically 80 percent.
Connecticut, 3 typical cities, 1934, employees living i r : «
Median weekly cash wage, by city, $8.42 to $14.65.
board aUowed, equivalent t o $16.50 to $21.50.)

(If room and

> Wisconsin. Industrial Commission. Minimum wage ordcr» Juno 1932.
> Wisconsin State Employment Service figures. Compiled by Statistical Department, Industrial Com'"•^U? s".
W o m L ' s Bureau. Household Employment in Philadelphia. Bui. 93.
1932. p. 40.
< Ibid. Household Employment in Chicago. Bui. 106. 1933. p. 40.
, ^
, ^
. , .. .
« Connecticut. Department of Labor. Household Employment m Hartford, Waterbury» and Litchfield. M a y 1936. p. 26.




123

llg

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES
St. Louis, 1935, all employees: «
Average weekly wage $5.79.
Pennsylvania, 1934, domestic servants not otherwise classified: ^
Median earnings for full-time week $7.75.

Beavty shop operation,—^A survey of the wages of women i n beauty
shops made by the Women's Bureau i n 1933-34 showed operators in
four cities averaging $14.25 a week.® A study of these occupations
made by the Division of M i n i m u m Wage i n Illinois i n late 1934 and
early 1935 reported a similar wage as the week's average, $14.54,
and median year's earnings of about $823.® The surveys made by
the Pennsylvania State Emergency Relief Administration i n 1934
reported median earnings of $13.30 a full-time week for beauticians.
Hotel and restaurant service,—In a survey of hotel and restaurant
employment made by the Women's Bureau i n the spring of 1934,
the median earnings of women i n the various cities included ranged
as follows:
Hotels
Restaurants

$8.25 to $16.25
6.55 to 12.50

Studies made of food service establishments i n Ohio and of hotels
and restaurants i n New Hampshire and New Y o r k reported the following as the average earnings of employees i n these industries:
Week's
wage

Ohio, M a y 1933 "
New Hampshire ^—Restaurants
Hotels
New Y o r k , 1933-34 »:
New Y o r k C i t y
Elsewhere
» Ohio. Bepartment ojjndustrial Relations.
i?th?Stete^ofOlSo^
^^

Ytafa
wage

$7. 70 $467
8. 70 ^^ 452
5.75 " 2 9 9
8. 96
7.84

537
459

Report of the Division of M i n i m u m Wage Relating to
Minors Employed i n Food Serving Establishments

, " N e w Hampshire. Bureau of Labor. M i n i m u m Wage Office. Wages of Women and Minors Employed
in R ^ t ^ m j ^ [and i ^ H o t ^ ^ a wmpanion report] in New Hampshire, 1935. N o table nor page numbers.
r a n t S S ' S S ? ^ V m ^

' ' C o m m i s s i o n e r

to the Hotel and Restau-

The Pennsylvania State Emergency Relief Administration survey
i n 1934 reported a median for a full-time week of $9.60 for waitresses
and $11 for cooks. Some of these xmdoubtedly were i n private homes.
I n a study of its own nonprofessional employees b y the Young
AVomen's Christian Association i n 1935, the payments made to certain
workers whose occupations may be considered somewhat comparable
to those i n restaurants were reported as follows:
Weekly average of maintenance w o r k e r s . . .
Weekly average of food service workers
?
sinH

u?'-

loLYi)

$13. 82
15. 00

if^V^y
Household Employment in St. Louis. A p r i l lft35. p 4.
?elicf Administration. Census of Employable Wofkcra in Urban
Employment Conditions in Beauty Shops.

Bui. 133.

sL^Jf^Skf
M i n i m u m Wage Division of the Beauty Culture Wape
^ f d ^ l a t m g to Wages and Hours of Women and Minors in the Beauty Culture Industry in Illinois.
Employment In Hotels and Restaurants.
ees^tfi?^^^^




Bui. 123.

StudyofStandardsofWorkofAssociaUonEmploy.

A P P E N D I X A.—EVIDENCES AS TO WOMEN^S WAGES

125

Laundries,—In laundries, surveyed recently by the minimum-wage
authorities i n a number of States, the following average wages have
been found:
Average
week's wage

Connecticut (fall, 1935)
lUinois (August 1935)
New Hampshire (fall, 1934)
New York (November 1935)
Ohio (July 1934)
(April 1935)

S l l . 04
10. 90
11. 33
13. 42
10.61
1L40

I n a survey of this industry made by the Women's Bureau, the
average weekly earnings of white women productive employees for 21
cities i n 1934 ranged by city f r o m $6.67 to $13.05. The highest average year's earnings for these women ranged f r o m approximately $580
to $679 i n 6 of the northern cities, and white women i n 5 southern
cities averaged between $345 and $400.^®
Clerical Occupations.
Clerical workers' earnings are reported periodically b y the States
of New Y o r k and Ohio, the former giving information as to those
employed i n factory offices, the latter as to those i n all types of establishments. The average weekly earnings or rates reported at the
1929 peak and i n 1934 after the worst of the depression were as follows:
im

New Y o r k "
Ohio

$24. 38
22. 40

mi

$21. 15
18. 56

New York. Departnient of Labor. Labor Bulletin, November 1929 and November 1934. Figures
are average weekly earnings for October of each year.
. .
, ^ „
. ,
IS Ohio. Department of Industrial Relations and Industrial Commission. Division of Labor Statistics.
For 1929 from Rates of Wages, Fluctuation of Employment, Wage and Salary Payments in Ohio. Report
No. 26. 1929. p. 132. Average (median) computed in Women's Bureau. For 1934, from unpublished
material of the Commission. Average computed in Women's Bureau.

Three studies of office workers made or published b y the Women's
Bureau show their salaries as follows:
Survey of 7 cities by Women's Bureau," 1931-32:
Average monthly salary rate:
Median
$99 (equal to $1,188 if for 52 weeks)
High: B y city
109
B y type of office (banks) _ 111
Low: B y city
87
B y type of office (publishers)
87
Questionnaires by Young Women's Christian Association to their camps for
business girls,20 1930-31:
^
.
,
. , i.
Over 4,900 replies showed median week's earmngs $24.60; year's equivalent
if for 52 weeks, $1,279.
Range f r o m $19.85 for cashiers or tellers to $28.65 for secretaries.
Questionnaires by Women's Bureau t o employment agencies as t o their applicants' last pay,20 1931-32. Replies showed for over 4,300 women the following
ranges of median week's earnings, by occupation and city:
High—Secretary, $22.75 to $30.75.
Low—Clerk, $16.15 to $20.60.
»• U . S. Department of Labor.

Women's Bureau.

Factors Affecting Wages in Power Laundries.

Bui.

En,plopnent 01 w o m e n in Offices. Bui. 120. 1934:
''""Ibid.

Women W h o Work In Offices. Bui. 132.




1935. p. 27.

llg

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

T h e survey of employables made b y the Pemisylvania State Emergency Relief Administration i n 1934 showed weeldy full-time salaries
of women i n each of seven clerical occupations w i t h a median of more
t h a n $16, ranging f r o m $16.05 for general office clerks and typists to
$21.55 for secretaries. Of the clerks and stenographers, f r o m more
t h a n one-sixth t o practically one-fifth received less t h a n $12.50 a
week, or amounts that would equal less than $650 for a f u l l year.^^
A survey of its own membership i n all parts of the country made
b y the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's
Clubs i n cooperation w i t h the Bureau of Business Research of the
University of Michigan included reports of the earnings for 1927 of
5,500 women i n more than 40 clerical occupations.^^ I n the 10
occupations having the largest numbers, the median annual salaries
ranged f r o m $1,253 for cashiers to $1,582 for secretaries ($1,733 for
private secretaries or secretaries t o officials) and $1,881 for office
managers. The stenographers' median was $1,295, or as much as
$1,396 when combined w i t h other work.
M a n u f a c t u r i n g Industries.
I n manufactiiring industries, women's earnings have been separately reported over a series of years i n three States and b y the
N a t i o n a l I n d u s t r i a l Conference Board. I n the peak year of 1929,
a t the depression low (1932 or 1933), and i n 1935 or 1936, average
weekly earnings according to these sources were as follows:
Avcragt weekly earnings
I9t9

ininoisJs
N . I . a B.w
New Y o r k
Ohio "

Depremon low

S17. 49
17. 61
18. 75
16. 73

$11. 68
11. 73
13. 35
12. 72

(1933)
(1932)
(1933)
(1932)

After the
depremon

$15. 12
15. 28
15. 83
15. 33

(1936)
(1935)
(1936)
(1935)

M Figures computed by Women's Bureau from monthly figures issued b y the Illinois Department of
Labor.
" Average for 11 months.
" National Industrial Conference Board. Wages, Hours, and Employment in the United States, 1914-36.
1936 pp. 50, 61.
Factual Brief for Respondent, People ex ret. Tipaldo, Court of Appeals, State of N e w Y o r k , filed January 1936, p. 108.
i^Op.cit. SeefoothStelS.

I n certain States recently surveyed b y the Women's Bureau, the
average earnings of women i n manufacturing industries were as follows:
A r k a n s a s (spring, 1936):

White
Negro
Delaware (late spring, 1936)
Michigan (late 1934)
„
Tennessee (winter, 1935-36):
White
Negro
Texas (late spring, 1936)
w
. . .
West Virginia (summer, 1936)
« Op. cit .p. 68.
" Elliott, Margaret, and Grace E . Manson.
pp. 127, 128.




Week's wage

Yeaf swage

Sa50
$7.40
$1L 05
$10. 75 to S18. 75
(by industry)

$535

$12.00
$0.75
$6. 80 to $13. 05
(by industry)
$12. 70

615
345
(«)

690
605

670

Earnings of Women in Business and the Professions.
ti
reported.

1930.

A P P E N D I X A.—EVIDENCES AS TO WOMEN^S WAGES 138

I n i m p o r t a n t woman-employing manufacturing industries as reported periodically i n two large industrial States, women's average
weekly wages i n November 1936 were as follows:^
Average weekly wage
Illinois

New York

Cotton goods
3 $14. 12
0
K n i t goods (except silk)
14. 76
Shoes
13.81
Women's clothing
12. 46
Men's clothing
14. 19
Silk and silk goods
(si)
Electrical machinery, apparatus, and supplies. _
17. 83
Printing and bookmaking
15.51
Confectionery
13. 25
Gloves, bags, canvas goods
pi)
Watches, clocks, and jewelry
17. 07
Includes also woolen and silk goods.

$14. 00
13. 58
13.55
20. 29
13. 68
13. 23
pi)
16.01
14. 57
15. 29
PO

3 N o t reported.
>

The Pennsylvania State Emergency, Relief Administration survey
i n 1934 reported median earnings for a full-time week i n several characteristic manufacturing occupations of women ranging f r o m $9.40 for
sewing-machine operators i n garment factories to $15.25 for knitters
i n hosiery mills. Of the knitters, w i t h the highest median, practically
one-fourth had received less than $12.50 for a f u l l week's work, and
i n four other occupations practically half of those reported, or a proportion still larger, had received so low a wage. E v e n the knitters,
had they had 50 f u l l weeks' work i n the year—and even i n periods not
clouded b y depression i t is imusual to have so f u l l a year—would have
had less t h a n $763 to live on for the 12 months.
For territorial possessions, the only available figures except some on
home work, chiefly needlework, shown i n this report,^^ are of an
eariier date, 1927. These show women's earnings i n pineapple canneries i n Hawaii.®^ I n Honolulu the median was $9.90 a week and
about three-fourths of the women had received less t h a n $12; o n the
Island of Alaui, where the pay was b y the m o n t h and fewer women
were reported, the median was $20.75 and nearly one-half of the women
had received less t h a n $20 a month. I n Honolulu, the largest group
of those vnth. weekly hours reported had worked 54 to 60 hours and
had earnings w i t h a median of $9.80.
Professional W o r k .
One of the few studies affording data on the earnings levels of women
i n this category is the survey, already referred to, made b y the National
Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, which shows
the earnings for 1927 of more than 14,000 women i n all parts of the
country.®* These occupations were highly individualized, more than
175 types being given, and many i n clerical and sales occupations
New York. Department of Labor. T h e Industrial Bulletin, October 1936, p. 429. Illinois. Department of Labor. Division of Statistics and Research. Review of ErDplojTnent and Pay Rolls of Illinois
Industries, November 1936. (No page number.]
»»See pt. I , Compensation section, Home Work, p. 66.
^ ^^
, ^
. ^
" U . S Department of Labor. Women's Bureau. The Employment of W omen in the Pmeapple Canneries of Hawaii. Bul.82. 1930. pp. 21, 22.
Op. cit., pp. 11,19, and 127 fl.




llg

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

were included, groups considered separately i n the present report.
However, a separation of salaried and independent workers shows
the following annual earnings for these two classifications:
Annual

earnings

One-half earned One-fourth earned
less than—
less than—

Salaried workers
Independent workers

SI, 540
2, 043

$1, 211
1, 261

One-fourth
earned more
than-

61, 945
3, 072

According to the 1930 Census, three-fourths of the women professional workers were school teachers or trained nurses.
School teachers.—Eighty percent of the school teachers reported by
the census are women. The National Education Association has
reported the salaries of school teachers as fixed i n 150 recent salary
schedules (adopted by various communities in 1928 or thereafter).
According to size of city, the ranges i n the medians of the maximum
and minimum yearly salaries were as follows:
Median yearly salary
Mtnimum

Elementary school
Junior high school
Senior high school.

$999 t o $1, 227
1, 135 t o 1, 390
1, 269 t o 1,507

Maximum

$1, 141 t o $2, 280
1, 657 t o 2, 671
1, 983 t o 2,840

Later figures for cities of over 100,000 report the yearly rates fixed
i n schedules for women teachers' salaries i n 15 cities i n 1934-35,
ranging from city to city as follows:
Minimum
Majdmum

$1, 000 t o $2, 400
1, 500 t o 3,300

The median year's salary of 1,068 women teaching i n 50 land-grant
colleges or universities i n 1927-28 was reported by the OflBce of
Education as $2,309."
The survey of the National Federation of Business and Professional
Women's Clubs referred to included reports for 2,689 teachers. I n
1927, one-fourth of these earned less than $1,253, and the median
(one-half earning more, one-half less) was $1,557; only 4 percent had
received as much as $3,000. The largest groups showed the follo\ving
• median earnings:
Teacher, public elementary
Teacher, high school
Principal, public elementary or secondary

SI, 289
1,615
1, 700

The Pennsylvania State Emergency Relief Administration survey
i n 1934 shows median week's earnings of more than 34,000 women
"professors and teachers" at only $26.60.
Trained nurses,—Monthly salaries of public health nurses reported
for January 1936 show for public health nursing associations a range
of modes from $130 to $135 according to size of locality, running up
to $145 i n health departments.®® Entrance salaries of graduate
" National E d u c t i o n Association. Research Bulletin, March 1936, pp. 66,62,67.
w Unpublished data furnished the Women's Bureau b y the National Education Association,
n 11 •
department of the Interior. Office of Education. Salaries in Land-Grant Universities and
Colleges. Pamphlet N o . 24. November 1031. pp. 1 , 2 , 3 .
" Salaries of PubUc Health Nurses in 1936 In Public Health Nursing, M a y 1936, p. 314.




A P P E N D I X A.—EVIDENCES AS TO WOMEN^S WAGES

129

nurses i n the civil service are reported as ranging from $1,620 to $2,300,
according to grade of responsibility and duties.^® Trained nurses
reported in the business and professional women's study cited had a
median of $1,783 for the year, one-fourth of them having received less
than $1,558. Physicians i n private practice and osteopaths had
medians of over $3,000. Of more than 6,000 registered and graduate
nurses reported i n 1934 by the Pennsylvania State Emergency Relief
Administration, over a fifth had received less than $12.50 for a full
week's work, though their median was $21.35.
Librarians,—The other professional occupations largely engaged in
by women are those of librarians and social workers. Nine-tenths of
the librarians and four-fifths of the social and welfare workers reported
by the 1930 census were women. The business and professional women's study referred to reports median earnings of $1,595 for librarians.
The American l i b r a r y Association reports professional assistants in
cities of over 200,000 population as having median earnings of $1,110
to $1,800 on December 31, 1935; branch and subbranch librarians,
$1,422 to $1,957.50.^®
Social and welfare workers,—A study of the salaries of workers i n
family welfare agencies made by the RusseU Sage Foundation reports
median earnings of case work supervisors as of March 1936 to be
$2,100 where there were 10 to 19 workers and as much as $3,300 in the
largest agencies.^^ I n June 1936, a committee of the New York
branch of the American Association of Social Workers recommended
$1,800 to $2,040 for senior case workers, $2,200 to $2,650 for unit case
work supervisors.^^ I n the business and professional women's study
referred to, the general welfare or social service workers reported had
year's earnings w i t h a median of $1,650, the median for superintendents
and executives being more than $2,000.
Salaries at the 1929 peak and chiefly for New Y o r k City naturally
tend to go above, sometimes well above, those just discussed. A study
i n cooperation w i t h the President's Emergency Committee for Employment i n that year, made by the American Woman's Association, w i t h
membership largely among the better established business and professional women i n that city, reported the following earnings of its
members i n certain of the professions just discussed: ^^
Annual earnings
One-half earned
less than—

Teachers (not executives)
Nurses (not executives)
Public-health workers
Librarians
Social workers

One-fourth earned
less than—

$2, 750
2,160
3,375
2,320
2,320

$1, 875
1,750
2,335
1,895
1,805

« U . S. Civil Service Commission. Annual Report for Fiscal Year EndecUune 3C» 1935. p. 72.
« Bulletin of the American Library Association, April 1936, pp. 260-261. Reports also are given for higher
officers, and for three sizes of cities less than 200,000. The issue for February 1937 reports salaries in school
libraries.
American Association of Social Workers. T h e Compass, October 1936, p. 10.
A i S n S f n Woman?'A^^'ation.




T h e Trained Woman and the Economic Crisis.

1931. p. 94.

llg

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES

Home economics occupations.—^By far the most numerous group of
women making professional use of home economics training are highschool teachers. Yearly salaries reported for 1936 for this work in
six widely scattered States ranged f r o m an average of $908 i n South
D a k o t a to a m a x i m u m of $2,400 i n California/^ I n 1935 median
salaries of directors or supervisors ranged f r o m $1,253 to $2,770,
according t o size of c i t y . ^ Another large group of women i n the profession of home economics consists of those employed i n the cooperat i v e extension service carried on b y the U n i t e d States Department of
Agriculture and the State colleges of agriculture. L a t e reports were
t h a t salaries ranged f r o m $945 to $3,950 a year, ^vith an average of
$2,009.
Occupations i n Trade.
The earnings of saleswomen i n stores i n Ohio have been reported
over a series of years. Under the peak conditions of 1929, the average
weekly earnings for these workers were $15.21, falling to $12.63 in
the depression low i n 1932; i n 1935 they were $13.54. F o r 52 weeks'
work such averages would yield respectively $791 (1929), $657 (1932),
and $704 (1935).
A Women's Bureau survey made early i n 1933 reported wages of
women i n 46 department stores i n 17 cities i n 5 States, showing that
the median week's earnings of the women i n the various localities who
h a d worked 48 hours or more i n the week ranged f r o m $13.10 to
$17.15, the equivalent of f r o m $681 to $892 i f maintained f o r the full
52 weeks i n the year. F r o m 8 to 44 percent of all the women reported
i n the several localities had received less t h a n $12 for their week's
w o r k . ^ A suTvej b y the Bureau of wages of women i n limited-price
stores i n 18 States and 5 additional cities i n 1928 showed the median
earnings of the women reported to be $12 and one-fourth of them to
be receiving less than $10."*^
T h e Pennsylvania State Emergency Relief A d m i n i s t r a t i o n survey
i n 1934 reported median earnings for a full-time week for more than
24,500 saleswomen i n stores t o be $12.85. N e a r l y half had received
less than $12.50. Assuming even 50 f u l l weeks' w o r k i n the year—and
50 weeks, all things considered, is a hberal estimate—this would have
meant year's earnings of not more than $643 for a t least half these
women.
The study b y the National Federation of Business and Professional
Women's Clubs already referred to reported median year's earnings
of sales clerks a t $932, one-fourth having received less than $730,
one-fourth more than $1,100.
** Salaries Paid Home Economics Supervisors. £]/ William O. Carr. In Jo'imal of Home Economics,
June-July 1935, p. 36i.
« Unpublished data from the XJ. S. Office of Education, furnished the Women's Bureau by the American
Home Economics Association.
« U . S. Department of Labor. Women's Bureau. Employment Conditions in Department Stores m
1932-33. Bui. 125. 1936. pp. 14, 15.
*• Ibid. Women in 5-and-lO-Cent Stores and Limited-Price Chain Department Stores. 33ul. 76.1930. p. 52.




A P P E N D I X A.—EVIDENCES AS TO WOMEN^S WAGES

142

The average weekly earnings of regularly-employed women i n
department stores reported i n recent Women's Bureau surveys of
various States are given below. I n each case the potential earnings
for 52 weeks have been computed, the receipts i n this type of occupation tending to be fairly uniformforregularemployees. These averages,
for regular workers unless otherwise shown, are as follows:
Week*s median wage

Arkansas, 1936
Delaware, 1936
Michigan, 1934
Tennessee, 1936
West Virginia, 1936

—

$13.05
13.85
« 13. 50
12. 75
12. 70

Potential yearns wage
{if for 62 weeks)

'

$679
720
702
663
660

A l l workers.

W i t h one exception, the earnings were lower i n limited-price stores.




Appendix B . — R E F E R E N C E S
The list following is presented merely as a n indication of the more
outstanding sources of information on the points covered and n o t i n any
sense as a complete bibliography. A number of the references listed
contain information on t w o or more of the subjects under consideration;
usually these references have not been repeated b u t have been placed
either under the subject most largely covered by them or under t h a t for
which they give outstanding data on something for which such data are
especially meager.
W O M E N ' S OCCUPATIONS A N D T H E I R R E C E N T CHANGES
Beard, Mary E.

America Through Women's Eyes.

1934.

Breckinridge, S. P. (XTniversity of Chicago). The Activities of Women Outside
the Home. In Recent Social Trends, vol. I , eh. X I V . 1933.
Women i n the Twentieth Century. 1933.
National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs. Series of 30
Pamphlets Discussing Changing Patterns i n Occupations for Women. 1935.
Peters, Iva L. Occupational Discriminations Against Women. 1935.
A Study of Employability of Women i n Selected Sections of the United
States. 1936.
A Study of Employability of Women i n Alabama.

July 1936.

Pidgeon, M. E. (Women's Bureau). Recent Changes i n Occupations of Women.
Personnel Journal, February 1933.
United States. Bureau of the Census. Women i n Gainful Occupations, 1870
t o 1920. B y Joseph A. H i l l . Monograph I X . 1929.
Department of l a b o r . Women's Bureau.
B u L 104. The Occupational Progress of Women, 1910 to 1930. 1933.
134. Summaries of Studies on the Economic Status of Women. 1935.
Woodhouse, C. G. (Institute of Women's Professional Relations). Some Trends
i n Women's Work Today. Journal of the American Association of University
Women, A p r i l 1936.
Women.
Woytinsky, W. S.

American Journal of Sociology, M a y 1933.
The Labor Supply of the U n i t e d States.

1936.

I R R E G U L A R I T Y OF W O M E N ' S E M P L O Y M E N T
United States. Department of l a b o r . Women's Bureau.
BuL 73. Variations i n Employment Trends of Women and Men, 1930.
83. Fluctuation of Employment i n the Radio Industry. 1931. pp. 4,
14.
88. The Employment of Women i n Slaughtering and Meat Packing.
1932. p. 158 flf.
100. The Effects on Women of Changing Conditions i n the Cigar and
Cigarette Industries. 1932. p. 53.
109. The Employment of Women i n the Sewing Trades of Connecticut.
1935. p. 13 ff.
113. Employment Fluctuations and Unemployment of Women. 1933.
pp. 69, 94, 119.
127. Hours and Earnings i n Tobacco Stemmeries.

1934.

p. 21 ff.

UNEMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN
Massachusetts. Department of l a b o r and Industries. Labor Bui. 171. Report
on the Census of Unemployment i n Massachusetts as of Jan. 2, 1934.
Michigan. Emergency Welfare Relief Commission. Census of Population and
Unemployment (January 1935). First Series.
132




A P P E N D I X B.—REFERENCES
National Industrial Conference Board, Inc.
1936.

133

Women Workers and Labor SUDDIV.

Pennsylvania. Emergency Relief Administration. Census of
Workers i n Urban and Rural Non-Farm Areas, 1934. 1936.
United States. Department of l a b o r .
Seekers? 1937.

Employment Service.

FiUing 9 M i l l i o n Jobs.

Employable

Who are the Job

1937.

Women's Bureau.
Bui. 1 0 7 . Technological Changes i n Relation to Women's Employment.
140. Reemployment of New England Women.

1936.

Works Progress Administration. Usual Occupations of Workers
Eligible for Works Program Employment i n the United States, Jan. 15, 1936.
January 1937.
COMPENSATION OF W O M E N
American Association of Social Workers.
October, 1936.

The Compass, January, June, and

American l i b r a r y Association. Public Library Statistics (for December 1935).
BuUetin, A p r i l 1936. Part I .
College and School Library Statistics (for 1935-36).

Bulletin, February

1937.
American Woman's Association. The Trained Woman and the Economic Crisis
(1929 earnings). 1931.
Women Workers Through the Depression. B y Lorine Pruette and
I v a L. Peters. 1934.
Branch, Mary Sydney. Women and Wealth. 1934.
Elliott, Margaret, and Grace E. Manson.
Professions (in 1926-27). 1930.

Earnings of Women i n Business and the

Illinois. Department of Labor. Report of M i n i m u m Wage Division to the
Beauty Culture Wage Board. June 1935.
National Education Association. The Preparation of Teachers' Salary Schedules
(from 1928 on). Research BuUetin, March 1936.
New York. Department of l a b o r . Report of the Industrial Commissioner to
the Laundry M i n i m u m Wage Board. July 1933.
Report of the Industrial Commissioner to the Hotel and Restaurant Wage Board. AprU 1935.
Course of Factory Employment i n New Y o r k State from 1921
1931.
Employment and Earnings of M e n and Women i n New Y o r k
State Factories, 1923-1925. 1926.

to 1930.

Ohio, Department of Industrial Relations. Report of the Division of M i n i m u m
Wage to the Laundry Wage Board. January 1934.
Salaries of Public Health Nurses (for January 1936). Public Health Nursing,
M a y 1936.
United States. Department of l a b o r . Bureau of Labor Statistics. Historical
Review of Wage Rates and Wage Differentials i n the Cotton Textile Industry.
B y A . F . Hinrichs assisted by R u t h Clem. M o n t h l y Labor Review, M a y 1935.
Wages and Earnings i n the Silk and Rayon Industry,
1933 and 1934. B y A. F. Hinrichs. M o n t h l y Labor Review, June 1935.
Wage Rates and Weekly Earnings i n the Woolen
and Worsted Goods I n d u s t r y , 1932 t o 1934. B y N . A. ToUes. M o n t h l y
Labor Review, June 1935.
Wages, Hours, and Working Conditions i n the
Folding-Paper-Box Industry i n 1933, 1934, and 1935. B y Victor S. BariL
M o n t h l y Labor Review, June 1936.




llg

W O M E N I N T H E ECONOMY OF T H E U N I T E D STATES
Department of labor. Women's Bureau.*
1. General studies of wages:
^
^
BuL 85. Wages of Women i n 13 States (for 1920-25). 1931.
122. Variations i n Wage Rates under Corresponding Conditions
(for 1 9 3 ^ 3 3 ) . 1935.
152. Differences i n the Earnings of Women and Men. ( I n press.)
2. Reports on wages i n particular industries:
Bui. 82, pineapple canning; 95, 96, 120, 132, office workers; 97, 109,
sewing trades; 93, 106, 112, household employees; 100, 127, tobacco;
111, cotton; 119, gloves; 121, shoes; 123, hotels and restaurants; 125,
department stores; 133, beauty shops; 141, silk dresses; 143, laundries.
3. Recent reports on wages i n particular States or territories (those w i t h no
numbers listed are i n mimeographed f o r m only):
Bui. 118, Puerto Rico; 124, Arkansas; 126, Texas; 142, Virgin
Islands; 149, Tennessee; 150, West Virginia; Michigan, Delaware,
Florida, D i s t r i c t of Columbia, Utah.

Young Women's Christian Association. 603 Pay Envelopes and W h a t They TelK
B y Grace L . Coyle. The Woman's Press, October 1932.
From Pay Day to Pay Day. B y Elsie D . Harper. 1934.
R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y O F W O M E N FOR T H E SUPPORT O F O T H E R S
Hogg, Margaret H. The Incidence of W o r k Shortage (New Haven).
pp. 90-94.
Hutchinson, Emilie J. Women and the Ph. D . 1930. p. 93.

1932.

l a FoUette, Cecile Tipton. A Study of the Problems of 652 Gainfully Employed
Married Women Homemakers. 1934.
National Education Association. The Teacher's Economic Position. Research
Bulletin, vol. X I I I , no. 4, pp. 178-182, 199.
New York. Department of l a b o r . Wages and F a m i l y Responsibilities of Employed Women on Relief i n New York C i t y . The Industrial Bulletin, February
—
Some Facts on Women's Wages i n New Y o r k State. November
1936.
Palmer, Gladys L. The Employment Characteristics of New Applicants at the
Philadelphia State Employment Office. 1934. pp. 8, 18.
30,000 i n Search of W o r k (Philadelphia).

1933.

pp. 60-3.

Pennsylvania. Report of the Administrator of the Federal C i v i l Works Administration. C i v i l Works Administration Program i n Pennsylvania. Nov. 15,
1933-March 31, 1934.
- , University of. Wharton School of Finance and Commerce. Releases
on unpublished material f r o m survey of unemployment i n Philadelphia families,
A p r i l 1931.
Peters, David Wilbur.

The Status of the Married Woman Teacher.

1934.

p. 76.

Short, Jessie M. (Reed College). Women's Wages Compared W i t h L i v i n g Costs
and General Community Standards, 1914-32. 1933. pp. 7, 14.
United States. Bureau of the Census. Women i n Gainful Occupations, 1870
t o 1920. B y Joseph A. H i l l . Monograph I X . 1929. pp. 1 4 ^ 1 5 2 .
Department of l a b o r . Bureau of l a b o r Statistics. Study of Unemployed Registered in Bridgeport, Conn. M o n t h l y Labor Review, M a y 1931^
Women's Bureau.
Unpublished material analyzing 1930 census data on homemakers for
Bridgeport, Conn.
Unpublished material analyzing 1930 census data on homemakers for F t
Wayne, I n d .
1 The reports listed do not exhaust the wage material published by the Women's Bureau. Other reports
listed elsewhere in this reference list also contain wage material. A full list of publications may be obtained
from the Women's Bureau.




A P P E N D I X B,—KEFERENCES

X35

Bui. 75. W h a t the Wage-Earning Woman Contributes t o Family Support.
1929.
77. A Study of T w o Groups of Denver Married Women Applying for
Jobs. 1929. p. 3.
88. The Employment of Women i n Slaughtering and Meat Packing.
1932. pp. 14, 120 ff.
92. Wage-Earning Women and the Industrial Conditions of 1930: A
Survey of South Bend. 1932. pp. 6, 9, 51.
103. Women Workers i n the T h i r d Year of the Depression. A Study
of 109 Students i n the B r y n M a w r Summer School. 1933. p. 10 ff.
108. The Efifects of the Depression on Wage Earners' Families: A Second
Survey of South Bend. 1936. pp. 4, 5. 13, 28.
117. The Age Factor As I t Relates t o Women i n Business and the Professions. 1934. p. 37.
140. Reemployment of New England Women i n Private Industry. 1936.
p. 115.
148. The Emplojred Woman Homemaker i n the United States, Her
Responsibility for Family Support. 1936.
151. Injuries t o Women i n Personal Service Occupations i n Ohio. 1937.
Wisconsin. Industrial Commission. Employment Services i n Wisconsin, January 1934r-December 1935. p. 33.
Young Women's Christian Association. Study of Standards of Work of Association Employees Other Than Professional, 1935-36. B y Elsie D. Harper,
pp. 20, 21.
EFFECTS OF LABOR L E G I S L A T I O N .
Commons, John E., and John B. Andrews. Principles of Labor Legislation.
1936 ed.
Frankfurter, Felix, and Josephine Goldmark. The Case for the Shorter Work
Day. Brief for defendent i n error, Bunting v. Oregon, Supreme Court of the
United States. October 1915.
History of Labor i n the United States. Vol. I V , Labor Legislation, by Elizabeth
Brandeis. 1935.
Lorwin, l e w i s L., and Arthur Wubnig. Labor Relations Boards. The Brookings
Institution. 1935.
IdacDonald, l o i s , Gladys L. Palmer, and Theresa Wolfson. Labor and the
N. R. A. 1934.
New York. Department of l a b o r . Laundry Pay-roll Data (November 1935 and
October 1936). The Industrial Bulletin, February 1937.
Court of Appeals. Factual brief for respondent i n case of Tipaldo v
Morehead. Economic background of Article 19, Labor Law, ch. 584, Laws of
1933 (minimum wage law). 1936.
Pennsylvania. Department of l a b o r and Industry. Bureau of Women and
Children. Cotton Garment Workers i n Pennsylvania Under the N. R. A. 1934.
United States. National Recovery Administration. Hours, Wages, and Employment Under the Codes. January 1935.
Report of the President's Committee of Industrial AnalysisFebruary 1937.
The Content of N . I . R. A. Administrative Legislation. Part B:
Labor Provisions i n the Codes. February 1936.
Public No. 67, 73d Congress (National Industrial Recovery Act).
Department of Labor. Women's Bureau.
Bui. 61. The Development of M i n i m u m Wage Laws i n the United States,
1912 t o 1927. 1928.
68. Summary: The Effects of Labor Legislation on the Employment
Opportunities of Women. 1928.
130. Employed Women Under N . R. A. Codes. 1935.
137. Summary of State H o u r Laws for Women and M i n i m u m Wage
Rates. 1936.
144. State Labor Laws for Women. 1937.
145. Special Study of Wages Paid to Women and Minors i n Ohio Industries Prior and Subsequent to the Ohio M i n i m u m Wage Law for
Women and Minors. 1936.
150483—37

10




Appendix C . — R E C E N T A C T I O N B Y O F F I C I A L I N T E R N A T I O N A L ORGANIZATIONS O N T H E E C O N O M I C STATUS
OF WOMEN
RESOLUTION PASSED AT 16TH SESSION OF T H E ASSEMBLY OF T H E
LEAGUE OF NATIONS. SEPTEMBER 1935
Political, Civil, ond Economic Status of Women
The Assembly,
Noting that the question of the status of women was placed on the agenda of the
present Session for examination, at the Instance of a number of delegations, vdth
particular reference t o the Equal Rights Treaty signed a t Montevideo on December 26, 1933, by representatives of the Governments of Cuba, Ecuador, Paraguay,
and Uruguay;
Considering that the terms of the Equal Rights Treaty should be examined in
relation to the existing political, civil, and economic status of women under the
laws of the countries of the world;
Recognizing that' the question of conditions of employment, whether of men
or women, is a matter which properly falls within the sphere of the International
Labor Organization:
(1) Decides that the question of the political and civil status of women shall
be referred by the Secretary-General to the Governments for their
observations, including observations as to the action which i n their
view the League might take in this matter, and t h a t the Governments
shall be requested to supply to the Secretary-General, together with
their observations, information'as to the existing political and civil
status of women under their respective national laws;
(2) Recommends that the women's international organizations should
continue their study of the whole question of the political and civil
status of women;
(3) Requests that the observations and information communicated by the
Governments and the statements of the said international organizations
shall be sent to the Secretary-General for consideration by the Assembly
of the League of Nations at a subsequent Session;
(4) Expresses the hope that the International Labor Organization will, in
accordance with its normal procedure, undertake an examination of
those aspects of the problem within its competence—namely, the
question of equality under labor legislation—and t h a t i t will, i n the
first place, examine the question of legislation which effects discriminations, some of which may be detrimental to women's right t o work.
E X T R A C T F R O M T H E REPORT OF T H E DIRECTOR OF T H E INTERNAT I O N A L LABOR OFFICE FOR 1935
During the year the Office has continued to carry out a number of inquiries in
response to the frequent demands which are made upon i t from a l l quarters.
Special mention may be made of the inquiry now in progress i n regard t o the employment of women. The Governing Body agreed t h a t the suggestion made by
the Assembly should be carried out and that a report should be prepared in regard
to the legal status of women i n industry w i t h particular reference t o any discriminatory measures which may have been taken against their employment. This is
136




A P P E N D I X C.—ACTION BY INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

137

to be followed by a more extensive investigation covering not only the legislation
affecting women's employment but also their actual position in respect of conditions of employment, wages and economic status. Clearly this inquiry involves
many difficulties and w i l l require considerable time. I t w i l l be carried out in
consultation w i t h members of the Correspondence Committee on Women's Work,
and i t may be hoped that i t will throw some light on the various questions relating
to women's work and position i n industrial and commercial occupations about
which controversy has been provoked. I t is probable that the supposed antagonism between the interests of men and women in industry is largely imaginary, and
i t may be noted in passing that w i t h the revival of the textile industry both in
Belgium and Great Britain, the reemployment of men was restricted in a number
of instances owing to the absence of a sufficient number of skilled women. However this may be, a thorough investigation of the question in all its aspects is
overdue, and the decision of the Governing Body that i t should be undertaken
should be generally welcomed.
RESOLUTION

PASSED

BY

INTERNATIONAL
JUNE 21. 1937

LABOR

CONFERENCE.

Concerning Women Workers
Whereas, in view of the social and political changes of recent years and the
fact that women workers have suffered from special forms of exploitation and
discrimination in the past, there is need to reexamine their general position; and
Whereas, i t is for the best interests of society that in addition to full political
and civil rights and f u l l opportunity for education, women should have f u l l
opportunity to work and should receive remuneration without discrimination
because of sex, and be protected by legislative safeguards against physically
harmful conditions of employment and economic exploitation, including the
safeguarding of motherhood; and
Whereas, i t is necessary that women as well as men should be guaranteed
freedom of association by Governments and should be protected by social and
labor legislation which world experience has shown t o be effective i n abolishing
special exploitation of women workers; therefore be i t
Resolvedf T h a t the Twenty-third Session of the International Labor Conference,
while recognizing that some of these principles lie within the competence of other
international bodies, believes them to be of the greatest importance t o workers
in general and especially to women workers; and therefore requests the Governing
Body to draw them to the attention of all Governments, w i t h a view to their
establishment i n law and in custom by legislative and administrative action.




o