Oregon League of Women Voters Bulletin

This 1933 article in the Oregon League of Women Voters Bulletin refers to a survey of working women conducted by the League’s Klamath Falls branch. The article does not provide details of the survey results. This document has been edited to highlight the selected article.

In 1932, the government began to fire married women from federal jobs after a clause was written into a Congressional bill dictating that during staff reductions, married women—whose husbands also worked for the government—would be the first employees to be let go. The national and local branches of the League of Women Voters (LWV) opposed the clause and discrimination against married women in the workforce. The clause was repealed in 1937.

During the Depression, many people believed that married women should only be allowed to work in cases of dire financial need. At a time when unemployment was high, some men and women argued that the employment of married women would result in neglected children and the downfall of the American family. Supporters of the rights of married and unmarried women to work argued that employment provided women with economic independence and a way to contribute to society.

The 1930 U.S. Census reported that almost 30,000 married women were employed in Oregon, about twice the number reported in 1920.

Written by Kathy Tucker, © Oregon Historical Society, 2002.

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