Letter to Franklin Roosevelt on Job Discrimination (20 December 1933, by Frances M. Kubicki)

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Massive unemployment and layoffs were among the most devastating effects of America's Great Depression. Unemployment rose from 1.5 million in 1926 to 2.7 million in 1929, and one hundred thousand Americans lost their jobs every week between October 1929 and March 1933. President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal offered relief in the form of public works projects, federal banking insurance, the development of social security, and the passage of the National Recovery Act (NRA), among other things. Passed in June 1933, the NRA attempted to alleviate unemployment by establishing regulatory business codes. Though the NRA was successful, disenfranchised populations of American workers, such as single women, continued to struggle for fair labor practices. In this letter to President Roosevelt, Frances Kubicki explains the particular difficulties faced by the single working woman.

Cornell University

See also Discrimination: Sex ; Women in Public Life, Business, and Professions .

Kansas City, Missouri.
December 20th, 1933.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt,
Washington, D. C.
United States of America.

Dear Mister President;

Having long been an admirer of your integrity and wisdom, I am taking the liberty of writing to you of a problem which is getting more serious each day.

I am thirty seven years old, and for fourteen years held the position of assistant bookkeeper in a large department store in Kansas City. Recently, this company changed hands, the new president bringing in an efficiency engineer. This man put in a new system in the office, which required bookkeeping machines and calculators. So far, there has been eight of us to lose our jobs.

No consideration was given as to who needed jobs, in fact is seemed that those who needed them most, were fired. Not one married woman in that office was fired, and each and every one of them has a husband employed. This deplorable condition seems to be prevalent in this city and other cities of this country. Every-where I go to look for a job I find these women, some of them my friends, working—and I have found that nine cases out of ten their husbands have good jobs. I do believe there are about ten percent of these cases where husbands are out of work.

I understand that some employers say that the married woman is more efficient. Naturally, the half-starved, worried, single woman hasn't a chance with a well-kept married woman who has two incomes to meet her greedy demands. I have come in contact with quite a few single women since I have been out of work, and many of them are eating only one or two meals a day. My heart aches for these women, Mr. President, and I know you would feel the same way, if you knew this condition as it really exists.

The greedy type of married woman does not only cheat her single sisters, but she makes conditions worse for the single and married men who are out of work. They are also a stumbling-block to the boy and girl out of school. The people of Kansas City are greatly incensed over this, but of course it is up to the employers to act and only a few of them have done so. So far, the N. R. A. has done nothing about it. It seems to me, Mr. President, that it could be handled through this source.

Wishing you and yours a Glorious Christmas and a Merry New Year, I am

Miss Frances M. Kubicki,

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Letter to Franklin Roosevelt on Job Discrimination (20 December 1933, by Frances M. Kubicki)

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