Women in the Workplace
In the United States, women had very low levels of workforce participation in the formal economy until the twentieth century. During the 1840s heyday of American industrialization, only 10 percent of women held jobs outside the home. While this figure increased to 15 percent by 1850, women’s workforce participation barely inched forward in the decades that followed. US Census Bureau data from the 1920s shows that only 20 percent of women held gainful employment at that time, with a large majority of those women being young, unwed, and childless.
For many years, the so-called doctrine of separate spheres defined women’s participation in the labor force. This idea governed the prevailing structure of American society from before the time of industrialization...Read more