Woman's Place in the Economy

February 13, 1957

Report Outline
Woman's Place in the Economy
Legislation on Employment of Women
Factors for and Against Women Workers

Woman's Place in the Economy

American women last year made a contribution to the national economy “unequaled at any other peacetime period in our history.” Assessing the factors that made 1956 a banner year for women workers, Mrs. Alice K. Leopold, Assistant to the Secretary of Labor for Women's Affairs, said on Feb. 7 that “The favorable economic climate enabled them to achieve an all-time high in employment' She added that “Women's many skills, acquired through their increasing utilization of educational and training facilities, opened doors to new opportunities and brought to women workers a growing recognition.”

At the same time, the administration's advocacy of federal legislation to assure women equal pay for equal work pointed to the persistence of long-standing disparities between the sexes in occupational attainment. Although women have made great strides as job-holders in the past half century, and especially In the past 15 years, they are fctill limited for the most part to lower-level or low-paid jobs.

Past experience would indicate that the average young woman entering employment today is not likely to get much closer to the maximum wage leveis attained by male workers than did her forebear of 50 years ago. However, new factors coming into the picture may change that prospect. The fact that the American economy is increasingly dependent on a large and permanent body of woman workers is expected to give women new levers in their struggle for equalization of job status and earnings. Economic planners are looking to women as a major source of skilled labor to maintain or lift present levels of prosperity. Anticipated shortages of trained personnel in scientific and technical fields will put a premium value on female recruits in a widening range of high-grade occupations.

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Feb. 13, 1957  Woman's Place in the Economy
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