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In the beginning of the 20th century, the small number of women who worked stopped working once they got married. They stayed home and raised the kids. During World War II, many women entered the workforce to do the work that men had done before going to fight in the war.
In the United States, about 33 percent of women were in the workforce in 1950. The percentage of women working has increased since that time. As we ended the 20th century about 60 percent of women were working. Women had limited opportunities for jobs. Many women worked as teachers, secretaries, clerks, or nurses. Women have been constantly fighting for more job opportunities and for equal pay. This struggle continues today. While it is more common and acceptable to see women working today, the issues they face still remain relatively unchanged.
In 1950, approximately 33.9% of woman age 16 and older participated in the work force. There were variations by age group. For women in the 25-34 age group the percentage was just a bit higher at 34% while those aged 16-24 had the largest percentage at 43.9%. Some might find it surprising that in 1950 approximately 40% of young mothers were employed outside the home.
Early in the 1950’s women were recruited for traditionally female careers such as nurses, teachers, stenographers, and secretarial positions. Later in the decade, women who were able to obtain post-secondary and professional degrees sought out a variety of professions with more financial incentives but they made up only 15% of women who were employed outside the home. Only 6% of women worked in managerial positions.
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