Eleanor Larrabee Lattimore.

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Issued by the Industrial Committee,
War Work Council of the National Board
Young Womens Christian Associations
600 Lexington Avenue, New York City



Together we have striven to solve our common social and
industrial problems. Together we accept the responsibility
the great war has placed upon us as creative factors in the
new democracy. Together we hope to attain to a higher
standard for the future of our common w r omanhood.


Copyright 1919

by the Industrial Committee

War Work Council of the National Board

Young Womens Christian Associations


! I -


Foreword .

Preface by^ay S. Trent

Introduction American Industry and Woman Labor

Chapter I. Woman as a Producer 1

Woman has always worked Woman's work in the
herdsman's stage In the agricultural stage Household
manufacture Leisure is socially expensive Leisure as-
sociated with surplus Woman's work and the industrial
revolution The factory system Drift of population
from country to city The lot of the female factory
worker Regulating the employment of women workers
Low-paid labor not necessarily economical labor-i
Protection of women is still developing.

II. Prevalence of Women in Industry 9

In the United States Cause of increase in wage-earning

III. Why Women Work 12

Women always an economic asset The "pin-money"
theory Women must work.

IV. Woman's Place in the World of Labor 16

What is a woman's work? The boundaries of woman's
activity are constantly enlarging Woman's work and
man's work overlap The world's work is woman's

V. Economic Problems in Woman's Work 19

Replacing men Equal pay for equal work Wages
The cost of living Gap between wages and living ex-
penses Wage rates greater than actual earnings Need
for study of wage problems Overtime not a good prac-
tice Wages not keeping pace with living costs Need
of recognition of skill and experience Problems re-


VI. Social Value of Woman's Labor 31

The working-woman a social asset Woman's physio-
logical handicaps Certain employments should be pro-
hibited to women Married women in industry Need
for legislative minimum Women must study industrial
problems Women must raise an American labor ideal.

VII. Labor Legislation : Social Insurance 38

History of legislation for women Laws must be
drafted by experts Social insurance Workmen's com-
pensation Health insurance Mother's Compensation
What sickness means to an employer What sickness
means to an employee Amount of sickness Much sick-
ness is unnecessary Health insurance a road to health
education What health insurance provides Medical

VIII. Labor Legislation: Hours of Labor 49

Great Britain's war lesson What the United States
learned The eight hour day an efficiency measure
Value of the shorter day Overtime Shorter hours in-
crease the output Shorter hours for women Wo-
man's Land Army Night work should be prohibited
One day of rest in seven Legal aspects.

IX. Labor Legislation: A Fair Living Wage, Mis-named

a Minimum Wage 59

A living wage Objections to minimum wage laws
Replacement of women by men and boys Minimum
wage drives out industry Minimum wage improves
basis of competition Mother's pension Provision for
old age Living Wage endorsed by War Labor Policies
Board Minimum wage should be fixed by a commis-
sion What happens when a minimum wage is not a liv-
ing wage Equal pay for equal work Legal aspects.

X. Labor Legislation: Safety, Sanitation and Health... 69

Physical conditions of work Legal aspects Child labor
Child labor legislation.

XI. Labor Legislation: Collective Bargaining 74

What is collective bargaining? Collective bargaining is
sound in principle The need for organization is es-
pecially great among women workers Women encour-
aged to organize Organization for industrial peace
Collective bargaining is rapidly being recognized by the
captains of industry.

XII. Legal Recognition of Industrial Workers. . 80

Legal recognition gaining ground Future legislative
demands Elevator girls Office workers Women in


transportation service Comfort and sanitation Pos-
ture at work Safety Conditions needing correction
Uniforms Home work Hiring, separations, and deter-
mination of conditions Women in supervisory posi-
tions Choice of occupation Cooperation with official

XIII. Democracy in Industry 85

A new type of worker Women must face their re-
sponsibilities Need of technical training "English for
safety" a prime requirement Provision for higher edu-
cation A new type of employer Recognition of indus-
try by the public Basis of a working relationship On
the part of employers Of employes Of both employ-
ers and employees The spirit of justice more important
than legislation.



THE Industrial Committee has had repeated calls for a simple
text discussing briefly the problems involved in woman
labor and the various legal remedies which have been
devised for meeting these problems, giving some idea of what
the laws should contain and what would be their desired effect.
This pamphlet is offered in response to those calls.

While the authors have striven in the main for a simple and
direct presentation of the subject, having in mind the primary
purpose to which the book is dedicated use among industrial
women they have also had in mind the varied sources of the
call for the book. Wherever it was possible to meet the needs of
college student, business man, club woman, social worker or
others without detracting from usefulness for industrial women
we have felt it was wise to fit the text to the broader use.

In the preparation of this pamphlet Mr. Trent of Indiana
University and of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce has
given most generously of his time and labor in an editorial
capacity this in addition to permitting liberal and unquoted use
of extracts of his war time pamphlet on Women in Industry.
We take this opportunity to make grateful acknowledgment of
the cooperation Mr. Trent has so cordially extended to the
Y. W. C. A. and to observe that his joint authorship seems to us
indicative of new hope for the cause of women in industry and
therefore for industry as a whole. Business man and university
professor, he joins with the responsible leadership of Christian
womanhood in our nation to set down as clearly as possible their
mutual convictions regarding a justtind Christian use of wom'an
labor not alone because it is woman labor but because of a
mutual concern for woman as a new factor in the world of
industry, that world whose after-war unrest is so deep-rooted
and today so vitally concerns all nations. By such contributions
is the thought and feeling of today crystallized and made a step-
ping stone to the justice and progress of tomorrow.



THE modern industrial system presents no graver aspect
than its almost remorseless and insatiable demand for the
time, strength and skill of women workers. Into factories
and stores women have gone of late in such numbers, and with
such consequences, as to compel public attention and public
concern. To set forth the bases of this concern and the practical
measures which are gradually being taken or ought to be taken
to give expression to it, is the primary purpose of the pages
which follow.

For many years students of economics, theorists in the field
of industrial enterprise, have warned the public that our women
were not receiving the protection which their welfare and the
general wellbeing of society demanded. Long hours, lack of
rest periods, low wages, unsanitary conditions, and over-time
were pointed out as costly privileges in a laissez faire system of
economics, and public action in woman's behalf was advised and
even urged.

Later the physician and neurologist began to support this
position of the economist. The effect of modern industrial proc-
esses was studied scientifically. Fatigue was connected with
and related to efficiency in no uncertain manner; so that the
humanitarianism of the economist and sociologist was reinforced
by the practical advice of the medical specialist.

Last of all the intelligent employer has added the weight
of his testimony to that of the economist and the doctor. The
employer has tried shorter hours, adequate wages, more whole-
some conditions, rest periods, and the like; and, how strange!
They pay. Hence the legal recognition of industrial women has
come as a matter of slow but sure progress, supported by the
best theory and by actual results in an ever-increasing number
of establishments employing women.

For years I have felt more and more keenly that we all of


us are responsible for whatever social injustice characterizes our
industrial life, but the lot of our women workers has seemed to
me particularly needful of improvement. In an effort to set
forth the need and the responsibility, Indiana University last
year published my bulletin on Women in Industry. This pam-
phlet having gone out of print, it has seemed to me both a
pleasure and an opportunity for national service to join with
Miss Lattimore in a further attempt to make clear the legal
ways in which society may begin to mend whatever needs mend-
ing in the industrial life of to-day.


Indianapolis, June 12, 1919.



American Industry and Woman Labor

DURING the last-quarter of a-century great changes have
taken place in America's industrial and social life. The
country has been phenomenally prosperous. Nearly two
hundred million acres of newly cultivated land have been added
to our farms so that the farm land of the country is now worth
more than three times as much as it was. During the same
period the value of our manufactures has increased until it is
twice that of the farms an increase of from three to eighteen
billion dollars in value. And although the population has not
doubled-the number of wage earners has more than doubled.

Thus we see what has happened the rapid growth in manu-
facturing has created a great need for workers, and since the
population has not increased fast enough to supply these workers
from the men, women who were not wage earners before have
been recruited into industrial work. This increase in the number
of women in industry and their entrance upon kinds of work
which they have never done before Irsrsr created economic and
social problems that had not been solved when the war came.

The changes in economic life which took place between 1880
and 1910, however great and numerous as Jthey were, can hard,ly
be compared to the upheavals of the four years which have inter-
vened since August, 1914. Viewed superficially, the g*sa
seems to have broken every precedent, shattered every tradition,
and destroyed every so-called law. Private enterprise, private
property, and personal liberty seem to have vanished, and in
their stead have come public regulation, public ownership, public

While the war brought many new and intricate problems, in
reality it precipitated progress in a number of ways. Ottr dream
of national prohibition is being realized -\Voman suffrage is
vindicating itself in the down-trodden races of Europe and has
become one of thp, "common-places of the practically-minded,
everyday citizen. "(!)

Into trade and transportation and into manufacturing and
mechanical pursuits, woman's entrance has been comparatively
recent; and her crowding into these occupations is going on at
a greatly accelerated rate.

In all European countries the world war has already called
into industry millions of women who might otherwise not have


been engaged as breadwinners; and certain it is that many
industrial operations and processes which, but for this war,
would still be carried on by men, are today wholly dependent
upon female laborers. In the United States likewise the war has
greatly increased the demand for women workers. What this
fresh and irresistible impetus to female breadwinning forebodes,
not only for the welfare of women workers in new lines of
employment but for society and for civilization, cannot but
challenge our deepest concern.

No state will have done her part in this great emergency
unless she has not only contributed her women to take the
places left vacant by her sons who were on the firing line, but
also made the industries of the state safe for these raw recruits
of her industrial army. To fail in this would be to fall short of
democracy, and to hinder the cause which our country has so
unselfishly espoused.



WOMAN has always worked. Even before the industrial
revolution when hand-work became machine work and
industries left the home for the factory upon the introduction of
power-driven machinery, woman had always to earn her keep.
Only her maternal function and her inferior physical strength
made her different from man in this regard ; and in the early
stages of human development, even these distinctions were
reduced to the minimum.' In fact, the primitive woman had to
bear the brunt of providing for her offspring and not infrequently
for a worthless man in addition. Certain it is that nature has
niade woman the original provider, a position which she must
have held with little competition until a comparatively advanced
economic and social stage.

1. Woman's work in the herdsman stage. When mankind
had passed from the savage stage, wherein he appropriated
directly the gifts of nature but exercised little or no intelligent
control over his surroundings, to the pastoral stage, wherein his
wealth consisted largely of flocks and herds, woman still held a
position of great economic importance. Hers was the task of
watering the flocks, and even of tending them, of preparing the
skins for clothing and the flesh for food.

2. Woman's work in the agricultural stage. Likewise in the
agricultural stage, woman was a producer. In certain backward
communities even today women plow and plant, hoe and reap.
In fact, they often do these things in order to provide food and
clothing for a husband as well as for children. Gardening, caring
for the chickens and cows, soap-making, spinning, the manufac-
ture of butter and cheese, and weaving, as well as preserving and
canning, have always been woman's work. In no stage of
economic development have women confined their economic
activities within the four walls of a house.


The slightest familiarity with life on the farm of fifty years
ago or even less is convincing as to the economic status of
women. It would be difficult to name an activity on such farms
with which women were not associated. Was it haying or har-
vesting or threshing? The women carried the water to the
"hands" and cooked their meals. Was it hog-killing? The
women rendered the lard or ground the sausage. Was it
sorghum-making or corn-planting? Women and girls stripped
the cane or dropped the grains of corn into the open furrow.
Not a moment of the time of the pioneer woman was or could
have been given over to pink teas. The economy of each house-
hold assigned to her a position of economic importance second
to none. In fact, the endlessness of her tasks has been immor-
talized in the rhyme:

"Man works from sujj to sun,v*
But wotnans work is never done."

Household manufacture. The importance of household
manufacture, which one writer makes to include all those articles
now made in factories but formerly made in the home and on the
plantation from raw material produced largely on the farm where
the manufacturing was done, is thus set forth in its relation to
our early colonial and national history :

"The almost economic independence of many homes and
communities was a great asset to the people of the Revolutionary
days in their struggle for political liberty. War and blockade
only drove them back to more primitive conditions and estab-
lished an industrial independence of both foreign and domestic
markets. After seven years of costly warfare, England finally
realized the difficulty of conquering colonists who could within
their homes manufacture the necessities that her blockade aimed
to keep out. The service rendered by this family industry during
the Revolutionary War is the more significant when contrasted
with what the South attempted through it during the Civil War.
In spite of its reversion to the primitive ways of supplying neces-
sities, the Confederacy was unable to escape what the federal
blockade brought.

"Aside from the part played by the system of household
manufactures during the Revolution in securing and maintaining


an industrial independence, it was of very great moment to the
nation at large in its early history as a supplement to agricul-
ture of necessity the prevailing industry in a new country.
Without a European market, or in fact any market at all, agri-
cultural profits were always very small. This was especially
true on the frontier and in all sections devoid of transportation
facilities, because there were so many farmers, hence a small
number depending on others for their agricultural products. The
fertility of the soil also gave a liberal return for the work
involved. Since there was no market for the labor of the field,
the farmer had to exchange his leisure hours for a supply of
clothing and other necessities which he could have purchased if
he had had a market for his staples. Until this market came his
dependence upon the household factory was almost absolute. It
is certainly no exaggeration to say that civilization could not
have been maintained in sections of the New England and middle
states during the colonial period, and on the frontier everywhere
for several years after the appearance of the first settlement,
without the system of household manufactures."

Thus by inference we come to the appreciation of woman's
part in the economic life of the early days, for "household manu-
facture" was carried on very largely, though not entirely, by the
women of the household. The men produced the raw material,
but the women "manufactured" it. If the boys and men made
plows, harrows, ox yokes, sleds, butter-paddles, bread troughs,
and the like, it was the women and girls who were taught to
spin, weave, knit, crochet, darn, patch, quilt, do laundry work,
make butter and cheese and candles, and to perform many other
important household tasks. The point is, that under such con-
ditions as obtained when the United States was young, each
member of the household was of necessity of some importance as
a producer.

Leisure is socially expensive. Woman as a sex has never
been an economic parasite. She has always earned her living
and produced at least as much as she has consumed. The woman
of leisure is as rare as she is, expensive. Society could not afford
many of them at a time; ' They cost too much. In fact, few idlers
of either sex are possible in a society which carries on little trade
and in which each person must confine his consumption of


economic goods to the things which he or his family have
themselves produced.

Leisure associated with surplus. For this reason the woman
of leisure is associated usually either with the institution of
slavery or with the high productivity of human effort. Our own
country furnishes an excellent example of each. The leisure of
the Old South was due largely to the fact that slaves could He
. made to produce enough for themselves and for their masters
and mistresses as well. But as a means of supporting a leisure
class, the factory system has proved far superior to slavery.
With the introduction of machinery, the application of mechan-
ical power, a better organization of working forces, and the
simultaneous opening up of rich natural resources in the Western
Hemisphere, one factory worker has been enabled to produce
many times what he could formerly have produced. This surplus
has gone largely to the factory owners and has been used to
support their wives in leisure.

Such a surplus, it is clear, could hardly arise in any case ex-
cept among people who possess abundant national wealth, such as
fertile lands, vast mineral resources, extensive forests and the
like, and who have in addition an economic system whereby
some workers are denied the full product of their labor. We
may confidently expect, therefore, that the gradual exhaustion of
our natural resources and the constant effort to increase the
share of the social product which goes to the laborers will
eventually force an increasing number of women out of the
leisure class into the ranks of the breadwinners.

Woman's work and the industrial revolution. The effect of
the industrial revolution upon the female breadwinner may be
considered from two points of view. From the standpoint of
^'technique, woman was forced to acquaint herself with new tasks
and unfamiliar processes. Her unaccustomed ears and nerves
were subjected to the deafening roar and grind of heavy machin-
ery from early dawn until late at night. Her pace was set by
no will of her own, but by the inexorable and monotonous
motions of a thing that turned and thumped and rattled on in
pitiless unconcern for her pleasures or for her welfare.
K ^From the standpoint of product or economic return, woman




was often forced to adopt the starvation route to a job. Her
reward was frequently insufficient for either decent clothing or
wholesome food. So great was her helplessness in the new
industrial order that she was sometimes forced to perform the
services usually assigned to the donkey or the ox.

The factory system. The economic status of woman during
the industrial revolution has been influenced if not determined by
the rise of the factory system of production. Once water and
steam had begun to take the place of human muscle, the tasks of
the farm and of the fireside began to pass to the factory, and the
workers in the fields and households of the village and country-
side found themselves without means of support or livelihood.
Since they had no claims on the efforts of others, by means of
which they could live in idleness, they were compelled to follow
their work to the factory and there to produce largely by machine
processes what formerly they had produced by hand.

Drift of population from country to city. Meanwhile agri-
cultural methods were changing and machinery was supplanting
the simple tools of the pioneer farmer. The self-binding reaper
took the place of the sickle and the cradle, the mowing machine
succeeded the scythe, and the gang plow bid for recognition in
the face of the bull-tongue and the "double shovel." It so hap-
pened, however, in most cases that the improved agricultural
machinery was ill adapted for use by women. Hence the
demand for men in agriculture was given an impetus, the conse-
quences of which have been most interesting.

At the same time, then, that woman's task was being taken
over principally by the factory, the farm was employing machin-
ery which made woman's economic position in the country still
less secure. Caught between these two fires, women were driven
into the industrial ranks by the thousands. The effect has-been
not only to decrease the rural population, but also to make it
predominantly male.

This movement was accelerated by the growth of improved
methods of transportation and by the increase of commerce.
In fact, the fabrication of goods in huge factories and their dis-
tribution to many quarters by many hands over elaborate trans-



portation systems is, on its technical side, the factory system of
production, a system which has resulted, arriong other things, in
a serious diminution of rural population and in a constant drift
toward the factory town and the city.

Meanwhile the owners of the factories were not unaware
of the great gains possible for them through the use of this
labor force which was being remorselessly dumped at their
doors. Consequently, while farm machinery was forcing women
away from the farm, labor agents and obliging landlords were
preparing for these helpless workers a warm reception in the
city. As a consequence of unemployment in the country and of
greatly increased demands for factory workers, congestion in
cities multiplied rapidly; until, under the capitalistic philosophy
of the times, intolerable social conditions arose.

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Online LibraryEleanor Larrabee LattimoreLegal recognition of industrial women, by Eleanor L. Lattimore... and Ray S. Trent.. → online text (page 1 of 9)