Women at Work
If you find yourselves troubled with too strong a competition from female workers, just prove yourselves worthy to be their husbands, marry them, provide good homes, and thus remove them from competition with you.-Horace Greeley to the New York Typographical Union No. 6.
ACCORDING TO the United States Department of Labor, by 1970 there will be 30,000,000 women in the American labor force. This number (predicated, of course, on a “normally” expanding economy) would represent an increase over the present of 25 per cent, that is, 6,000,000, as against a predicted increase of only 15 per cent for men in the same period. Now such figures stated flatly tend to conjure up an image as misleading as it is frightening to the popular imagination, an image of men and women coming to be less and less differentiated, elbowing one another for room in some kind of sexual and occupational jungle. Whereas the fact is that as yet women do not-nor does it seem likely that in the foreseeable future they will- have the same relation to salaried employment as do men: they do not upon leaving school enter the labor force and remain there permanently to support themselves and others, nor as a general rule define themselves by what they do, nor try to be as successful as possible. As it has become more common (to the point, now, of near universality), and as it has begun to assume a rather uniform, predictable pattern, female employment outside the home has become all the more casual and voluntary-and, what seems at first glance paradoxical, more than ever before dependent on the role of women as homemakers and mothers.
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