Women in the workplace

Source: Fri, 4 Mar 2016 09:30 AM
Author: Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress
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For women 100 years ago, opportunities to work beyond the home and take part in political life were very limited.

As the 20th century progressed, hard-won progress included gradually improved voting rights, while the upheaval of global conflicts pushed doors ajar as women worked as part of the war effort.

U.S. Library of Congress archive photos show women’s workplaces ranging from a flour mill in England to a coal mine in Belgium or Lincoln Motor Co.’s welding department in Detroit. 

  • Here women work in an office, as a President Warren Harding portrait stands on the mantle circa 1921-1923.

  • Here a policewoman (right) arrests Florence Youmans (left) of Minnesota and Annie Arniel of Delaware for refusing to give up their banners while picketing for women's voting rights outside the White House in Washington DC in June 1917.

    Arniel was one of the first six suffrage prisoners and served eight separate jail sentences for Watchfire demonstrations. Across the Atlantic in Britain, the Suffragette movement was also fighting for women's right to vote.

    This year's International Women's Day, celebrated on 8 March, is calling for quicker progress to achieve gender equality.

  • Women work at a laundry, circa 1905.

  • Belgian women workers pose for a photograph as they stand in line holding baskets and shovels near a coal mine, circa 1910-1915.

  • Peasants in the re-taken Somme District work in the fields, circa 1916- 1917.

  • Women wear goggles as they work in the welding department of Lincoln Motor Co., Detroit, Michigan, circa 1914-1918.

  • Women work in ordnance plants during World War I making fibre powder containers at W.C. Ritchie & Co. ib Chicago, Illinois, circa 1914-1918.

  • Women work in a flour mill in England during World War I, circa 1915-1918.

  • A man and women, one holding an American flag, work in an office at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, July 7, 1917.

  • Members of The Women's Radio Corps stand beside an army car, circa February 1919.

  • Two women stand outside the Two Girls Waffle House, circa 1900-1916.

  • A woman street worker sweeps a street in Germany, circa 1909-1920.

  • Women scientists (standing) Miss Nellie A. Brown, (seated L-R) Miss Lucia McCollock, Miss Mary K. Bryan and Miss Florence Hedges work at a laboratory, circa 1910-1920.

  • The Onofrio Cottone family finish garments in a tenement in New York, January 1913.

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