Women in the Early to Mid-20th Century (1900-1960): Social and Economic Conditions

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WOMEN IN THE EARLY TO MID-20TH CENTURY (1900-1960): SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS

WILLIAM H. CHAFE (ESSAY DATE 1990)

SOURCE: Chafe, William H. "World War II as a Pivotal Experience for American Women." In Women and War: The Changing Status of American Women from the 1930s to the 1940s, edited by Maria Diedrich and Dorothea Fischer-Hornung, pp. 21-34. New York: Berg, 1990.

In the following essay, Chafe provides an overview of the changes in the social and economic roles played by women during and immediately following the end of World War II.

Few areas of American life demonstrated such rapid and dramatic change during World War II as the social and economic roles of women. Just a few months before Pearl Harbor, more than 80 percent of American men and women declared that it was wrong for wives to work outside the home if their husbands were employed. School systems throughout the country refused to hire women teachers if they were married, and fired them if they got married after being employed. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins had denounced women as "pin money" workers for taking jobs away from needy men (the charge had no basis in fact), and the federal government itself prohibited by law the employment of two members of the same family in the civil service. Now, suddenly, all that changed. Women workers became the secret weapons of democracy's arsenal, "Womanpower," the key to victory against fascism. Those who had been told just a few years earlier that they were threatening the nation's survival by taking jobs were now enjoined to rush to the workplace as part of their sacred patriotic duty.

As it turned out, of course, much of that dramatic change disappeared with the war's end. Rosie the Riveter went back home when the soldiers returned, or at least moved to a less well-paying, less rewarding job. Some have argued that in the long run of history, especially in a subsequent era featured by the Baby Boom and the "feminine mystique," the war signified very little substantive change for women's lives. Others, including myself, have contended that despite the absence of progress toward sexual equality during the war, the behavioral changes that did occur played an important role in breaking previous patterns and setting in motion long-term, important shifts in employment patterns and sex role expectations. This essay will seek to address the issue of what changes did and did not occur in women's lives as a result of World War II. It begins by surveying briefly some of the highlights of the wartime experience and then examines three specific problem areas: (a) why there was no feminist protest when women were forced to leave their wartime jobs; (b) why child care centers never became a well-entrenched and widely accepted feature of wartime society; and (c) how to explain the paradox of women's growing employment in the postwar years in light of the Baby Boom, the "feminine mystique," and continued barriers to sexual equality.

Employment statistics convey some of the radical up and down quality of women's wartime experience in the labor force. At the beginning of the war there were only 143 women employees in seven airplane factories surveyed by the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor; eighteen months later the same plants employed 65,000 women. At the end of 1939 only thirty-six women were involved in the construction of ships. Three years later the figure was 160,000. As men were called to war, women took their places on assembly lines and in offices. Between 1941 and 1945 the female labor force increased by more than six million, or approximately 55 percent. Wages increased substantially, the number of women in unions grew fourfold, and women suddenly found themselves doing jobs hitherto strictly defined as men's work. In Gary, Indiana, women operated giant overhead cranes and cleaned blast furnaces, while in the state of Washington, women took the place of men lumberjacks cutting down huge redwoods.

The about-face of government propaganda on women's "proper place" suggested the dramatic changes that occurred, at least temporarily. "Getting these women into industry is a tremendous sales proposition," the head of the War Manpower Commission declared. As a result, public relations campaigns were mounted to persuade women to enter the work force. "Men are needed at the battlefront," one Office of War Information film-strip noted; "women are needed at the home front. Men are needed with minds clear and steady. Women are needed with attention for their work undivided." Magazines were enlisted to celebrate the heroism of women war workers, and hardly a week went by without some newsreel or national publication singing the praises of women pilots, steelmakers, or taxi drivers. The impact of such messages could be seen in public opinion polls. In 1942, 60 percent of the American people declared that wives should be employed in war industries and 71 percent believed there was a need for more married women to take jobs—a striking contrast to the four out of five Americans who four years earlier had said that married women should not hold jobs if their husbands were employed.

Naturally, the most startling changes occurred in areas where defense industries were concentrated. The female labor force doubled in San Francisco, growing from 138,000 to 276,000, while in Detroit, center of the automobile industry now converted to wartime production, the increase was from 182,000 to 387,000. Overall, the number of women serving as operatives in heavy industry climbed 109 percent. Yet, other areas also showed considerable change. More than 900,000 women, for example, went to work for Uncle Sam, most of them doing clerical work with the War Department and other agencies. By the end of the war, women comprised almost 38 percent of all federal workers, more than double the percentage in 1940. Indeed, gains in clerical fields turned out to be among the most permanent from the war years, with the ranks of women clerical workers 65 percent greater in 1948 than in 1940.

Significantly, millions of women took advantage of the war emergency to improve their economic situation. More than 700,000 war workers, for example, moved from other occupations, so that an assembly line at a typical aircraft plant consisted of former saleswomen, waitresses, stenographers, and seamstresses, as well as factory employees who had shifted from textiles to airplanes. One Women's Bureau survey showed that two-thirds of women who had previously held jobs in eating and drinking establishments moved to other jobs during the war. Nor was the reason hard to find. In addition to the rhetoric of patriotism that existed everywhere, wages and benefits were a critical incentive. Employees in defense industries received 40 percent more than those in non-defense factories. A woman shipbuilder in Mobile, Alabama took home $37 a week, a saleswoman $21, and a waitress $14. It was not surprising, then, that more than half the women employed in Mobile in 1944 had changed jobs since 1940.

The most important change produced by the war, however, had less to do with the jobs women held and more to do with the identity of the women who went to work. Throughout the history of women's gainful employment, young, single, and poor women had dominated the work force. It had become a sign of men reaching middle-class status if they could afford to support their families solely through their own work. If married women held jobs, they were seen as acting in an unseemly fashion—violating their primary and natural responsibility to their home and children. Women who wished to pursue careers ordinarily faced the necessity of foregoing marriage, since the majority of people saw the two as incompatible. It was true that most women worked at some point in their lives, but usually for just a few years, in their late teens or early twenties, before getting married.

Now, however, the primary source of recruitment for employers consisted of women who were married and middle-aged, and who often came from middle-class backgrounds. By the end of the war, it was just as likely for a wife over forty to be employed as for a single woman under twenty-five. During the war, nearly three out of four of the new women workers were married. Sixty percent were over thirty-five. By 1945, married women, for the first time, comprised almost a majority of the female labor force. Nearly 4 million of the 6.5 million women who joined the labor force listed themselves as former housewives. They may have worked at an earlier point in their lives, but given the deep prejudice in society against married women working, especially in light of the intensification of that prejudice during the Depression, it seems highly unlikely that they would ever have gone back to work had it not been for the war.

Despite such changes, there was little, if any, progress made on issues of sexual equality during World War II. Women may have done a thousand new jobs, but rarely, if ever, were they given supervisory responsibility or placed in executive positions. Women were also excluded from policy-making positions in the government, even on questions directly related to women workers. Although a Women's Advisory Commission was appointed as an adjunct to the War Manpower Commission, all the decisions were made in a group composed entirely of men, causing one woman to comment: "You can only make yourself felt … if you are where a thing happens, and they apparently don't happen here [in the advisory committee]." Women who served in the armed forces frequently were objects of derision, rarely receiving the credit or the autonomy they deserved. Women in the nurses corps fared better, but the army refused even to commission women doctors until 1943.

In the workplace, meanwhile, conditions often failed to measure up to the government's rhetoric of democracy and equality. Although the National War Labor Board announced a policy of equal pay for equal work in 1942, the policy was rarely implemented. Employers could simply change the label attached to a job, substituting the categories "heavy" and "light" for "male" and "female" in order to keep women's wages lower than men's. The government itself ruled that the equal-pay policy did not apply to jobs that were "historically" women's, which meant that wherever they constituted a significant majority of the work force, women would be treated less well than men. Job segregation remained the primary source of poor wages for women, and notwithstanding some breakthroughs, job segregation actually increased overall during the war, as Ruth Milk-man has shown. A number of employers did significantly improve the safety features in factories, creating, as well, better recreational and rest room facilities, which helped the morale of all employees. Still, there were too few women counselors and personnel directors to help with the problems women workers encountered—problems ranging from sexual harassment on the job to difficulties in coordinating one's work schedule with time needed for shopping, laundry, and cooking.

It was in this last area—broadly defined as community services—that absence of progress was most noticeable—and most harmful to the war effort. Virtually all women workers were being asked to do two full-time jobs simultaneously, working a forty-eight to sixty hour week in an office or factory while also managing a home. Central kitchens, take-away hot meals, communal laundries, easily accessible child care centers—all these were essential both to promote the war effort and to provide a greater possibility of securing sexual equality for women workers. A 1943 survey of defense plants showed that 40 percent of all women who left work cited marital, household, and associated difficulties as reasons; another study by the National Industrial Conference Board indicated that, after illness, family needs ranked as the cause most often given for women's absenteeism.

Yet little was done to address these problems. Some private employers, such as Kaiser in Portland, Oregon, worked to develop high-quality day-care facilities and to provide such additional services as hot take-home meals. But these were the exception rather than the rule. Although the government estimated that two million youngsters needed some form of assistance, it was not until the end of the war that federal efforts to build and run child care centers went into high gear.

The experience of women workers during the war thus seemed uneven. Some observers, noting the dramatic increase in women's economic contributions, predicted continuing change. "Women must get it out of their heads [that they belong in the home]," one prominent woman leader declared. "We are in the throes of a stupendous social revolution. Because of their work in the war, [women have] come to feel that they are socially useful. They will want to continue that feeling of independence." Certainly, the testimony of women war workers lent credence to such predictions. More than 75 percent of women in war jobs indicated that they intended to keep their positions when the war ended. As one worker said: "War jobs have uncovered unsuspected abilities in American women. Why lose all these abilities because of a belief that 'a woman's place is the home'? For some it is, for others it is not." On the other side, however, the persistence of a double standard of wages, the absence of executive opportunities, the inadequacy of community services, and the continued prevalence of traditional notions of sex roles, all suggested a more restrained, cautionary stance. What came after the war would ultimately say the most about what had been accomplished during the war itself.

On that issue, however, the results were also ambiguous. Certainly in the immediate months after the war came to an end, demobilization proved disastrous for women workers who had wanted to continue in their war jobs. Layoff rates for women workers averaged 75 percent higher than those for men. Over 800,000 workers were terminated in the aircraft industry, most of them women. Under federal legislation, returning veterans had first claim on their old jobs, which by itself put women at a disadvantage. Their problems were compounded even further by the fact that unions had kept separate seniority lists for women, thus denying female employees the accumulated benefits of their tenure vis-à-vis male union members. With the wartime crisis over, some companies even reinstituted age requirements which threw women over forty-five out of work, or reimposed earlier restrictions against hiring married women.

There was also a strong campaign by leaders in business, labor, and the mass media to reinforce traditional definitions of women's place. Congress, one Southern senator declared, should "force wives and mothers back to the kitchen" in order to assure jobs for returning veterans. Ironically, even some of the wartime propaganda to recruit women workers fed into the new campaign. In one ad, used at the end of the war, a daughter asks her working mother, dressed in overalls, "Mother, when will you stay home again?" The answer was clear. "Some jubilant day," the mother responded, "mother will stay home again, doing the job she likes best—making a home for you and Daddy, when he gets back." As Leila Rupp has shown, such propaganda appealed to a concept of "extended motherhood," with women war workers taking jobs in order to serve their men while away, but by implication, eager to resume their traditional way of serving loved ones after the emergency had passed.

Within a few months, what Betty Friedan later dubbed "the feminine mystique" had come to dominate American popular culture. According to this constellation of values, women could only be happy if they devoted full time to the roles of housewife and mother. College newspapers described young coeds as distraught if they were not engaged by their senior year, and young women told pollsters that they looked forward to four or more children. According to Modern Woman: The Lost Sex, a popular best seller, the independent woman was a "contradiction in terms." Women had to unearth the old arts of canning, preserving, and interior decorating, making household work into a creative adventure. Any woman who wanted a career must be "masculinized," neurotic, rejecting the path of "normal femininity." What modern woman needs to recapture, one magazine writer declared, "is that just being a woman is her central task and greatest honor.…Women must boldly announce that no job is more exacting, more necessary, or more rewarding than that of housewife and mother." The fact that such sentiments were expressed at exactly the same time as the marriage rate skyrocketed, the Baby Boom was in full swing, and the mass migration to suburbia began, all suggest that the years after the war represented a headlong return to the "good old days" of gender relationships, not some radical new departure fueled by women's wartime experiences.

But on closer examination, the story is more complicated. Despite the seemingly frantic embrace of traditional values, many women seemed dissatisfied with their role in society. "Choose any set of criteria you like," Margaret Mead wrote, "and the answer is the same: women—and men—are confused, uncertain, and discontented with the present definition of women's place in America." When a 1946 Fortune magazine poll asked women whether they would prefer to be born again as women or as men, a startling 25 percent declared that they would prefer to be born as men. A later poll of the 1934 graduates of the best women's colleges indicated that fully one third felt frustrated and unfulfilled.

Employment statistics, meanwhile, belied the notion that all women had returned permanently to the home after their wartime experience. Many women went back to work after the immediate impact of demobilization. Although the total number of women in manufacturing jobs declined by nearly a million between spring 1945 and winter 1946, there were still one million more women workers in the nation's factories shortly after the war than in 1940. By the end of the decade the proportion of women at work had increased to 32 percent as opposed to 27 percent a decade earlier. The change was greater than that for the entire preceding thirty years. The proportion of married women workers had increased 50 percent. Moreover, the greatest change—77 percent—occurred among women forty-five to fifty-four years old, the group most committed to retaining wartime jobs.

None of this suggested progress toward equality. Those who came back to work generally were forced to take jobs that were lower paying and less intrinsically rewarding than those they had held during the war. Although wartime clerical employees had for the most part stayed on the job, many munitions and durable good workers had now taken jobs as waitresses, saleswomen or service workers. One survey of Baltimore's women war workers showed that their average weekly wage fell from $50 to $37 by 1948. For women in manufacturing, median earnings fell from 66 percent of men's pay in 1945 to just 53 percent in 1950. Discrimination continued in professional positions as well. The number of women doctors and lawyers continued to decline.

Still, millions of women were continuing to take jobs; in ever increasing numbers, they were middle-class and married. By 1960 twice as many women were employed as in 1940, and the proportion of wives holding jobs had doubled from 15 percent in 1940 to 30 percent in 1960. The employment rate for women in the 1950s increased four times faster than that for men. Significantly, the greatest changes occurred among women who before World War II had not usually been employed. The number of married workers grew from 7.5 million in 1947 to 10.4 million in 1952. The number of mothers at work leapt 400 percent, from 1.5 million to 6.6 million. And the percentage of wives who were employed in households where the husband earned between $7,000 to 10,000 a year (clearly a middle-class salary in the 1950s) increased from 7 percent in 1950 to 25 percent in 1960. By the early 1960s, more than half of all women college graduates were at work compared with only 36 percent of those with just a high school diploma. Almost none of these women were holding jobs that were in competition with men. Most were trapped in dead-end sales and clerical positions, with little chance of promotion or increased wages. Yet they were doing jobs that women in their class and position had not previously held. In many cases, these were the same women whom Betty Friedan described as totally controlled by the feminine mystique. By the 1970s and 1980s, of course, these changes seemed moderate. The female labor force continued to swell, often dramatically, so that by the end of the 1970s, a majority of married women were employed. Sixty percent of mothers of children aged six to seventeen were in the labor force, as were more than half of mothers with children under six. The shape of women's lifelong participation in the work force came to resemble much more the shape of men's participation, with just a few years taken out for childbearing and early child rearing.

What then are we to make of this puzzling picture? One way to proceed is to examine more closely the three questions mentioned earlier. Why was there no feminist protest when women were forced back into the home after the war ended? How did the United States manage to avoid widespread reliance on day-care centers during the war (unlike her Allies)? And what is the explanation for the continued growth of the female labor force after 1947, during a period of seeming conservatism in cultural values and an unprecedented twentieth-century birthrate? Although these questions may not seem intrinsically related, the answers, I think, help make sense of what did and did not happen to American women as a result of World War II and may offer a framework for assessing the larger question of how much change occurred.

The absence of feminist protest at the end of World War II has many explanations, but one of the most salient is the fact that feminism per se lacked substantial standing and credibility in the culture. In the years after suffrage for women was won, the feminist movement split into multiple factions, with one group in particular—the National Women's Party—claiming for itself the authority to be called "feminist." Yet this particular group was often viewed as extremist, even narrow and reactionary, because of its insistence that women be treated as identical with men, and thus denied the right to protective legislation. The National Women's Party devoted itself totally to support of the Equal Rights Amendment, but in those years, the ERA was seen by many "liberal" women as a right-wing measure. Hence, the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor denounced ERA supporters as a "small but militant group of leisure class women [venting] their resentment at not having been born men." Thus, the feminist label was associated with a fringe group. Most other women's organizations did not unite around a common program to support the interests of women workers, and there was no viable, coherent, politically effective point of reference around which aggrieved women could organize. If we accept the contention that social protest movements require some leadership with a coherent point of view, then the absence of such leadership in 1945 offers one reason for the failure of women workers to join a feminist protest of their treatment.

A second, equally important reason for the lack of protest was the way in which the layoffs took place, the context in which they occurred, and the resources which women did or did not have to respond. By the very nature of the demobilization process, layoffs took place over time. Not every worker received her pink slip the same day. Moreover, most workers accepted the necessity of some period for reconversion. It was a time of joy and anticipation. The Allies had won. Understandably, then, there would be ambivalence and confusion over how to respond when layoffs occurred. Many were overjoyed that husbands and brothers were coming home, welcomed the opportunity to have some time off, and did not necessarily see, in immediate terms, that a pink slip meant that their jobs, or jobs like them, would never be available again. After all, wasn't protest and recrimination out of place in the midst of victory celebrations?

Finally, it was significant that those who were concerned lacked a place in which to gather to express their concern. Although women had become union members in record numbers during the war, the unions themselves had not demonstrated much concern with women's issues and had not made any substantial effort to involve women in the day-to-day policy-making or activity of the unions. With most women having to rush home after a twelve-hour day to do laundry and housework, there was little prior experience of meeting together at a union hall to discuss common grievances. In short, women did not have the benefit of a common space, or common institutions through which to express their solidarity and concern. Thus, in the moment of transition, they lacked the political organisms through which they might formulate and express their concerns.

In many ways the same lack of an alternative political and cultural perspective also helps to explain the failure of America's experiment with child care centers. Here, there was an interesting process of mutual reinforcement between popular cultural values and government policies. Although military and business leaders pressed for building day-care centers in order to assure a more reliable work force not tied to the home by family problems, politicians were reluctant to act. The idea of child care centers violated conventional notions that mothers should take care of their own children. Most policymakers appeared to agree with the Children's Bureau when it said: "A mother's primary duty is to her home and children. This duty is one that she cannot lay aside, no matter what the emergency." Reflecting the same approach, the Women's Bureau noted that "in this time of crisis … mothers of young children can make no finer contribution to the strength of the nation than to assure their children the security of the home, individual care and affection."

The operative words here were "individual care and affection." Child care centers were seen as impersonal, institutional, and thus a threat to the primacy of the nuclear family. Yet, as D'Ann Campbell has shown, most women retained their commitment to the nuclear family and were devoted to the idea of providing personal, family care for their children. Thus, when the government finally did commit itself to building a substantial number of day-care centers, most women workers chose not to use them, preferring instead to work out alternative, private arrangements for child care by enlisting either other family members or friends as caretakers. On this issue, then, devotion to traditional values of family and maternal care, together with the absence of a sanctioned, alternative set of values, helped to insure that a significant prerequisite to gender equality was not implemented. The absence of a fully-developed social and political program committed to feminism was significant, helping to explain the persistence of relatively traditional attitudes and values.

This same persistence of traditional values provides a key to understanding how women's work-force participation could continue to accelerate at the same time that the Baby Boom and the feminine mystique dominated social and cultural life. The women who went back to work after the war, and continued to take jobs during the 1950s and 1960s, were not acting from "feminist motivations." They were not competing for men's jobs, nor demanding equal pay or promotion. Rather, they were seeking jobs to "help the family," thus acting in a manner totally consistent with their traditional role as "helpmates," even as they found the only way open to them in the culture for creating a wider range of options. In short, the persistence of traditional attitudes may well have been a prerequisite for the expansion of the female labor force rather than an impediment.

It is also imperative to recognize how indispensable women's economic activity was to the development of America's postwar, consumer society. In the 1960s, Census Bureau officials noted that the number of households earning $15,000 or more would be cut in half if women's incomes were excluded. Many members of the "new middle class," in fact, could never have afforded a new home or new appliances without the wife's second income. The extent to which this second income did not involve a direct challenge to the other values of the consumer culture, including the values of the feminine mystique, simply made easier the triumph of the "affluent society." A woman could live in suburbia, have children, take care of them in their preschool years, then return to work without challenging, or even thinking about challenging, traditional gender role values.

How, then, does all this fit into the debate over the permanent impact of World War II on American women's lives? Arguably, it could support the contention that the war brought little long-range change. As Lynn Weiner and Karen Anderson have pointed out, the increase in employment among married women had already begun during the 1930s, and although virulent prejudice accompanied this increase, it still existed as an economic fact. Furthermore, the movement of women into clerical and sales positions had a long prior history. Thus, it could be argued that subsequent increases in married women's employment during the 1950s were part of a longitudinal trend that was affected little, if at all, by the Second World War experience. Furthermore, the absence of any progress on feminist issues during these years suggests a persistence, rather than an alteration, of social customs involving women.

I would still argue, however, that the war did make a significant difference, albeit in a paradoxical fashion. First, it sanctioned, and made possible, the employment of married women who were middle-aged and middle-class. Regardless of the increase in the number of married women in the work force during the 1930s, the female work force still consisted primarily of younger and poorer women, and it was still viewed as socially inappropriate for older, more well-off married women to work. Now, with the war, it was these middle-class women who took jobs with the approval of the dominant culture.

Second, it was these same women who went back to work after demobilization and helped to make possible the growth of the female labor force—and of a burgeoning middle class—during the 1950s and 1960s. Indeed, there was a clear, cultural logic to the changes in the female labor force after World War II. During the period 1945 to 1960, most new women workers were married women whose children were already in school. Then during the 1960s and 1970s, women in their primary childbearing age led the increase among women workers, culminating in the explosive growth of employment among young mothers in more recent times. I would argue that this cultural logic had its starting point with the sanctioned participation of middle-aged, married women during the war, and that ironically, the very absence of agitation about feminist issues during and after the war helped to facilitate acceptance of the growth in the female labor force.

Finally, I would like to propose that these changes, indirectly at least, had the paradoxical effect of facilitating the development of feminist protest during the 1960s and 1970s. The employment changes that began with the war did not cause the feminist challenge of recent decades. But by creating a basis in social reality for the idea that a woman's "place" is not in the home, and by creating an audience of women who knew firsthand how unequal their treatment in the work force was, these changes helped to provide a crucial precondition for the emergence of a coherent political movement that challenged traditional values regarding women's and men's proper roles. It was precisely such a movement that did not exist at the conclusion of World War II, and which, in the end, may have been possible only as a result of changes set in motion during World War II. Thus, paradoxically, the war did not create a revolution in women's lives. But it may eventually have helped to create a context in which another generation could attempt a revolution.

Select Bibliography

Anderson, Karen. Wartime Women: Sex Roles, Family Relations, and the Status of Women during World War II. Westport: Greenwood, 1982.

Campbell, D'Ann. Women at War with America: Private Lives in a Patriotic Era. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984.

Chafe, William H. The American Woman: Her Changing Social, Economic, and Political Roles, 1920-1970. London: Oxford University Press, 1972.

Clive, Alan. "Women Workers in World War II: Michigan as a Test Case." Labor History 20 (Winter 1979).

Hartmann, Susan M. The Home Front and Beyond: American Women in the 1940s. Boston: Twayne, 1982.

Honey, Maureen. Creating Rosie the Riveter: Class, Gender, and Propaganda during World War II. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1984.

Kessler-Harris, Alice. Out to Work: A History of Wage Earning Women in the United States. London: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Milkman, Ruth. "Redefining 'Women's Work': The Sexual Division of Labor in the Auto Industry during World War II." Feminist Studies 8, no. 2 (Summer 1982).

Rupp, Leila. Mobilizing Women for War: German and American Propaganda, 1939-1945. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978.

Skold, Karen. "The Job He Left Behind: Women and Shipyard Workers in Portland, Oregon during World War II." In Carol R. Berkin and Clara M. Lovett, eds., Women, War, and Revolution. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1980.

Weiner, Lynn. From Working Girl to Working Mother: The Female Labor Force in the United States, 1820-1980. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1986.

ELLEN CHESLER (ESSAY DATE 1992)

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Women in the Early to Mid-20th Century (1900-1960): Social and Economic Conditions