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The women of the 1930s were the
foundation of the household, a working woman was suddenly a treasure and a key
component to keeping the family alive, they frequently went unnoticed, however,
they held everybody, and everything, together amid one of the hardest decades
the United States has ever confronted: The Great Depression. Women became more
associated with the society, bolstered their families, and battled to have a
voice in the country. “Almost 11 million women, which is about 24.3% of all
women in the US were securely employed, according to the 1930 census”. However,
by 1933 the official rate of unemployment was 25%. (Milkman, pg 16) By 1940’s
women’s employment rate went up to 13million, which is not considered as a
significant increase even though, these women paved the way for working-class
women in the 21st century. In 1930’s women entered the workforce at
a rate twice that of men, mainly because women’s wages were much lower compared
to men, therefore, employers were willing to hire more women due to lower wage
rates. Even though Women were simply trying to find jobs for the survival of
their family or themselves, they were still “viewed as un-American
money-grubbers, stealing jobs from men who needed them to support their
families” (Moran par. 3)

essay mainly focuses on the methodologies of finding how women’s income levels
change during the Great Depression and the overall effect of the Great Depression
on women by comparing three different types or groups of employed women during
the Great Depression. The three methodologies are as follows; Firstly, I would
like to compare employed women by their marital status. Secondly, by their Socioeconomic status, and lastly, by
comparing their race; white vs non-white women.

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In this paragraph, I would like to compare income levels and the overall
effect on married vs unmarried women during the Great Depression. Once the
Great Depression hit America, life for a woman changed. It did not matter whether
they are married or unmarried, the Depression devastated everyone and changed
women’s life drastically. Married Women had to go look for jobs or take on
part-time jobs on top of taking care of their households and children for the
survival of their families. Many men were left unemployed during the Great
depression hence women had to be the breadwinners of their families. The number
of married women joining the workforce increased by 50% during 1930’s to 1940’s.

(Moran par. 26) However, during the great depression married women who worked
faced so much discrimination. Some of the common arguments they faced at the
workplace are that they were trying to take jobs away from men and that women’s
place should be at home taking care of the children. Furthermore, both private and
government companies laid off so many married women and made it hard for them
to find a high paying job by imposing a law (Section 213 of the 1932 Federal
Economy Act) that prohibited more than one family member from working at a
government job. That is, employers were able to lay off married women if their
spouse is already employed. (Goldin, Claudia D. 1991) This law affected married women more than
single women. In the 1930’s some women, mostly college-educated women chose to
remain unmarried because due to the Great Depression a lot of women did not
have to depend on their husbands for financial stability. According to the US
census, more than 6 million single women supported their parent’s households or
lived by themselves in 1930’s. 

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