Beyond the Typewriter: Gender, Class, and the Origins of Modern American Office Work, 1900-1930
By World War I, managers wanted young women with some high school education for new "light manufacturing" jobs in the office. Women could be paid significantly less than men with equivalent educations and the "marriage bar"--the practice of not hiring or retaining married women--ensured that most of them would leave the workplace before the issue of higher salaries arose. Encouraged by free training gained in high schools and by working conditions better than those available in factories, young working-class women sought out office jobs. Facing sexual discrimination in most of the professions and higher-level office jobs, middle-class women often found themselves "falling into" clerical positions. Sharon Hartman Strom details office working conditions and practices, drawing upon archival and anecdotal data. She analyzes women office-workers' ambitions and explores how the influences of scientific management, personnel management, and secondary vocational education affected office workplaces and hierarchies. Strom illustrates how businessmen manipulated concepts of scientific management to maintain male dominance and professional status and to confine women to supportive positions. She finds that women's responses to the reorganized workplace were varied; although they were able to advance professionally in only limited ways, they used their jobs as a means of pursuing friendships, education, and independence.
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Administration AMAOES American banks bookkeeping Bureau of Vocational Business School BVIWS census century Chicago City civil service Claire Casey clerical jobs clerical workers college women commercial comptometer corporations cost accounting department stores early earned economic efficiency employed employees employment managers engineering executive experts factory federal Feiss female feminist feminization fice firms foremen gender Gilson girls Goss graduate Harvard Harvard Business School high school hiring History Industrial interview large numbers Leffingwell managerial manufacturing marriage marriage bar married women Mary Parker Follett ment middle-class National numbers of women occupations office management older percent personnel management positions profes professional professions programs promotion railroad reform Rhode Island salaries scientific management Scovill Sears and Roebuck secretary sexual social stenographers Taylor teachers timekeeping tion typists University Press vocational guidance Vocational Information wages welfare William Henry Leffingwell woman women clerks Women in Offices women workers workplace York YWCA