Seven years after the United States Department Labor was established in 1913, the Women’s Bureau was created by congress. Since then, women have grown to make up over 45% of the American workforce. This exponential growth alone demonstrates the challenges women have overcome to make strides in the workforce.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s take a look back on the milestones women have accomplished throughout their history in the workforce.
- In 1920, less than one-fourth of the female population of the United States between the ages of 20 and 64 were paid workers. By 1990, this had grown to seven out of ten women ages 18 to 64 being employed.
- During World War II, a large number of American women went to work in factories inspiring the character “Rosie the Riveter.”
- Until the early 1960s, job listings were categorized in the Help Wanted ads by gender due to the difference in pay rates. In 1963, the Equal Pay Act was established making it illegal to pay women and men different pay for the same job based solely on gender.
- After the passage of the Equal Pay Act, back wages of more than $26 million were paid to 71,000 women between 1964 and 1971.
- In 1976, Sarah Caldwell conducted at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, becoming the first woman to do a job that only men had done before her.
- Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman delegated to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Regan in 1981, making her the first woman to hold the job of a Supreme Court Justice.
- In 1993, Janet Reno became the first woman to hold the office of U.S. Attorney General.
- In 2014, Janet Yellen became the first woman in the role of chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Board as she is confirmed by the Senate.
As you can see, women continue to make history today and will continue to set and reach goals for themselves within the workforce. Women have much to be proud of, so happy International Women’s Day!