Beyond the Typewriter: Gender, Class, and the Origins of Modern American Office Work, 1900-1930 / Edition 1

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By World War I, managers wanted young women with some high school education for new "light manufacturing" jobs in the office. Women could be paid significantly less than men with equivalent educations and the "marriage bar"--the practice of not hiring or retaining married women--ensured that most of them would leave the workplace before the issue of higher salaries arose. Encouraged by free training gained in high schools and by working conditions better than those available in factories, young working-class women sought out office jobs. Facing sexual discrimination in most of the professions and higher-level office jobs, middle-class women often found themselves "falling into" clerical positions. Sharon Hartman Strom details office working conditions and practices, drawing upon archival and anecdotal data. She analyzes women office-workers' ambitions and explores how the influences of scientific management, personnel management, and secondary vocational education affected office workplaces and hierarchies. Strom illustrates how businessmen manipulated concepts of scientific management to maintain male dominance and professional status and to confine women to supportive positions. She finds that women's responses to the reorganized workplace were varied; although they were able to advance professionally in only limited ways, they used their jobs as a means of pursuing friendships, education, and independence.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252064258
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1994
  • Series: Women in American History Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 1,318,479
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. I Economic and Cultural Origins of the New Office: Gendered Hierarchies of Management
1 Efficiency, Accountability, and the Rise of Scientific Management 15
2 Gender and the Masculine Business Professions 63
3 "The Human Factor": Gender and Personnel Management 109
4 "Light Manufacturing": The Feminization of Clerical Work 172
5 Managers, Clerks, and the Question of Gender 227
Pt. II The Office and the World Beyond: Office Workers and Office Work Culture
6 High School, Office Work, and Female Ambition: Race, Class, and the Limits of Personal Choice 273
7 Falling into Clerical Work: Middle-Class Women in the Office 314
8 Flappers and Feminists: Women's Office Work Culture in the 1920s 367
Index 417
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