Women During The Great Depression Essay

962 Words Dec 4th, 2014 4 Pages
At the beginning of the twentieth century, women were outsiders to the formal structures of American life—such as holding elective office—and they were subject to wide-ranging discrimination that marked them as secondary citizens. However, with the Great Depression began a period of substantial social change. Cleveland State University (CSU) conducted a series of interviews with women who remembered the Great Depression. These recordings show that due to their greater labor-force participation in the 1930s, women gained a greater political and social voice, and thus moved dramatically (though still not equally) into all aspects of public life, including politics and popular culture.
Women in the 1930s were doing the jobs they had traditionally done; however, now it was of greater financial importance. Due to the fact that traditionally male fields, like manufacturing, were the hardest hit by the Depression, while clerical and sales fields populated by women were somewhat less affected, the traditional division of labor gave women workers an employment edge. Helen Karpinski, who at one point worked in a silk mill, remembers the company employing primarily young girls who “started off at 14.” From Helen’s testimony, it is clear that women working to support their families was not limited to mothers. Helen also recalls mostly young women working at the K.W., where she was later employed, making boxes. Grace Kudukis recalls being a “receptionist in an engineering company ...”…

Related Documents