Women, War, and Work: The Impact of World War I on Women Workers in the United States

Women, War, and Work: The Impact of World War I on Women Workers in the United States

Women, War, and Work: The Impact of World War I on Women Workers in the United States

Women, War, and Work: The Impact of World War I on Women Workers in the United States

Synopsis

"In this fine, scholarly work detailed case studies document the complexities and ambiguities of the status of women industrial workers in World War I. Professor Greenwald's determination to see the larger picture and see it whole makes her book equally valuable to those interested in the history of labor, in social and reform history, and in the history of women."- Gerda Lerner

Excerpt

This book studies American women wage earners in the era of the First World War. It explores the war's direct effects on female employment in the context of fundamental long-term social and economic changes in the nature and structure of work in the United States. The analysis is presented through a series of case studies which both exemplify the larger trends and indicate the war's specific impact on various work settings.

During the five-decade period beginning in 1870 dramatic changes occurred in the structure and scale of American business and finance and in the organization of work in factories, foundries, offices, retail stores, and many other workplaces. In those fifty years the corporation became the dominant form of business, while all manner of work underwent subdivision, routinization, and mechanization. Organizational and technological changes of this sort frequently permitted the dilution of skills formerly needed to perform standard work processes, and women often gained employment in such redefined jobs. As a part of this business revolution, white-collar work assumed increasing importance in the economy and women came to compose a major segment of this new working class. Business initiated new pay schemes and introduced innovative welfare measures to help stabilize the work force and encourage employees to increase their efficiency and maximize productivity. As a result of management innovations, workers had to contend now not only with traditional supervisors and bosses, but also with the instructions, standards, and intrusiveness of time‐ . . .

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