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Coffee Break


Women in the Work Force

World War II materially shifted the roles of gender in the American work force. Rosie the Riveter is probably the most iconic example. There was also another time, earlier, when secretarial staff, artisans of the stenographic art, were men rather than the so-called fairer gender.

There are any number of reasons why a woman might be preferred for certain tasks: Those which have traditionally been “women’s work” like sewing, cooking and domestic chores (however fair you think such distinctions might be); jobs requiring tiny fingers, small bones or the ability to access confined spaces. If others come to mind, let me know.

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I found this postcard recently and was immediately curious what sort of work might be awaiting these women who are obviously on a break of some sort. Is it industrial or agricultural? Could it have been in a smallish town such as Agincourt? Are they single or married? Do they work from choice or necessity? Whatever their circumstances, they seem content, a condition I hope for us all in days to come.

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