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date: 27 November 2020

Women in the Labor Force. 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to United States History
Author(s):
Jeanne BoydstonJeanne Boydston

The history of women in the American labor force has been shaped by diverse cultural, legal, demographic, and ethno-racial influences. Like men, women in preindustrial America contributed to their household and community economies through paid and unpaid labor, but the material rewards of their labor were limited by cultural beliefs, social practices, and laws that subordinated women to men. Except by special legal arrangement, married women could not sign labor contracts, own property, or claim their own wages. Some women did work for wages, but those who did, even unmarried women and widows, clustered in lower-paying occupations and earned lower wages than men.... ...

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