The women of the 1930s were thefoundation of the household, a working woman was suddenly a treasure and a keycomponent to keeping the family alive, they frequently went unnoticed, however,they held everybody, and everything, together amid one of the hardest decadesthe United States has ever confronted: The Great Depression. Women became moreassociated with the society, bolstered their families, and battled to have avoice in the country. “Almost 11 million women, which is about 24.3% of allwomen 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’swomen’s employment rate went up to 13million, which is not considered as asignificant increase even though, these women paved the way for working-classwomen in the 21st century. In 1930’s women entered the workforce ata rate twice that of men, mainly because women’s wages were much lower comparedto men, therefore, employers were willing to hire more women due to lower wagerates. Even though Women were simply trying to find jobs for the survival oftheir family or themselves, they were still “viewed as un-Americanmoney-grubbers, stealing jobs from men who needed them to support theirfamilies” (Moran par. 3) Thisessay mainly focuses on the methodologies of finding how women’s income levelschange during the Great Depression and the overall effect of the Great Depressionon women by comparing three different types or groups of employed women duringthe Great Depression. The three methodologies are as follows; Firstly, I wouldlike to compare employed women by their marital status. Secondly, by their Socioeconomic status, and lastly, bycomparing their race; white vs non-white women. In this paragraph, I would like to compare income levels and the overalleffect on married vs unmarried women during the Great Depression.
Once theGreat Depression hit America, life for a woman changed. It did not matter whetherthey are married or unmarried, the Depression devastated everyone and changedwomen’s life drastically. Married Women had to go look for jobs or take onpart-time jobs on top of taking care of their households and children for thesurvival of their families. Many men were left unemployed during the Greatdepression hence women had to be the breadwinners of their families. The numberof 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 workedfaced so much discrimination.
Some of the common arguments they faced at theworkplace are that they were trying to take jobs away from men and that women’splace should be at home taking care of the children. Furthermore, both private andgovernment companies laid off so many married women and made it hard for themto find a high paying job by imposing a law (Section 213 of the 1932 FederalEconomy Act) that prohibited more than one family member from working at agovernment job. That is, employers were able to lay off married women if theirspouse is already employed. (Goldin, Claudia D. 1991) This law affected married women more thansingle women.
In the 1930’s some women, mostly college-educated women chose toremain unmarried because due to the Great Depression a lot of women did nothave to depend on their husbands for financial stability. According to the UScensus, more than 6 million single women supported their parent’s households orlived by themselves in 1930’s.