Working: Women's Participation in the Labor Force
I am writing you this letter asking you to help me in getting work. I am willing to work at most any thing I can do and I realy kneed work if any one in this world does. I have 4 children out of school because I haven't the money to buy their school supplies. My husband is a carpenter and he don't draw much salary and dont get much work at that and is not able to work on account of his back. And I have tried to get work ever-where and they turn me down. . . .
If you don't help me I dont know what I am going to do for part of the time we don't have any thing to eat ever thing has gone up so high. I have done ever-thing I can to keep things going. I have made over old clothes for the children and I have saved in ever way I could to keep things going and we have gotten behind in everthing.
-- San Antonio, Texas, September 27, 1939
Mrs. Samuel Bush to Eleanor Roosevelt1
THE trend toward paid work outside the home has dramatically altered the style and the quality of the lives of twentieth-century women. From the establishment of the New England textile mills in the 1820s through the twentieth century, changes in the overall occupational structure have pulled women into the work force.2 The Depression highlighted the importance of occupational segregation and the transformation of work in drawing women into employment. Neither public fears that women might take the jobs of male family heads nor the employment collapse of the decade stopped the flow of women into the labor market during the 1930s. In San Antonio and elsewhere, however, women increased their representation only in "female" occupations that expanded as a consequence of changing technology or consumer tastes despite the grim state of the economy.____________________