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Why after the 1929 crisis, women had more jobs than men

Why after the 1929 crisis, women had more jobs than men

October 24, 1929 was the first day the Wall Street Stock Exchange began its worst decline in history. The New York Stock Exchange suffered a 50% drop in all its stocks, thus launching the worst economic crisis ever recorded in the United States. And, in the period of the Great Depression, there was a perhaps unexpected fact: the employment rate of women increased.

In fact, in the decade 1930-1940, the number of women working in the US increased by 24%. This is because jobs dedicated to the female population belonged to the more stable sectors and, consequently, less affected by the stock market crisis than those of men. If the latter were engaged in coal mining, automobile assembly lines, and many other manufacturing sectors, women were more likely to find work as teachers, office workers, maids, or nurses. After the crisis of 1929, many of them, even those staying at home, were forced to look for work because their husbands had lost their jobs.

The real problem was wage equality. Their work had never been so present, but, at the same time, female workers were mostly unpaid well: even in the same company, men received a higher salary just for the fact that they were men. A situation that worsened even more for African-American women or immigrants from Mexico: the former for the most part took on the role of maids for wealthy white families. In the period of the Great Depression, a great supporter of working women was undoubtedly First Lady Eleaonr Roosevelt: she always fought for the protection of civil rights and was a devoted activist on several fronts, especially on the feminist one. So much so that she pressured her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to bring more women into government. Such as Frances Perkins, the first woman to hold a cabinet position and supporter of the Social Security Act. A law passed under the New Deal, which introduced unemployment and pension benefits in the United States. for workers: it was a big step forward for workers' rights, but it was not enough.