In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week with this message:
“From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.”
“Careers for Women,” published in 1922, describes 30 career fields where women can obtain work. While there were many avenues in the business field for employment, most of those were for office work. In almost all of these fields under “preparations necessary,” the authors recommend learning typing and shorthand. In the essay on advertising, the author states, “a knowledge of stenography often enables a college girl to be placed quickly.” The editors do describe some scientific fields, such as geologist. However, under “opportunities for advancement” the book states teaching positions for women geologist offer the usual opportunity for advancement, but the women in the mining office will suffer from the handicap that she is not available for active field work.
Today, 58.1 percent of women age 16 and older are in the labor force and in all occupations. Women hold 43.5 percent of all management, business and financial positions. However, in mining (construction and extraction), we still only hold 2.6 percent of jobs. 72.5 percent of healthcare practitioner and technical occupation positions are held by women.1
Women have been an integral part of the American labor force since first coming to these shores. Unfortunately, as President Carter stated, too often their contributions have went unnoticed and unrecorded. The Indiana State Library, the Indiana Historical Bureau, the Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology of the Department of Natural Resources and our partners and sponsors from Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the Indiana Women’s History Association are attempting to highlight the work accomplishments of Hoosier women. On April 6, 2018, we are holding the third annual Hoosier Women at Work History Conference. This year’s theme is Hoosier Women in the Arts. Our program includes sessions on noted women poets, musicians, artists and a panel discussion “How Indiana Artists are Using History in Their Work.” Keynote speaker Abbey Chambers, art historian and research assistant at IUPUI, will speak on “Art, Women & Gentrification.”
For more information about attending this exciting conference, visit here.
This blog post was written by Marcia Caudell, supervisor of the Reference and Government Services Division at the Indiana State Library. Contact the reference desk at (317) 232-3678 for more information.
1. Source: US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2016.