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The steadily increasing numbers of women in industry, both married and single, and their slow but continued emergence into the ranks of skilled workers force fresh inquiry into their needs. Since women have become an integral part of our economic society, of that part of the population which is gainfully employed, the problems concerning them are no longer confined to the family but they are problems of economic status as well. This fact tends to narrow the divergence between the interests and requirements of men and women. It urges careful examination of the common and separate difficulties of men and women as wage earners as well as of their common and separate relations to the family. This set of circumstances is in sharp contradistinction to that of yesterday when woman's work was confined to her home or when her presence in industry was viewed as an emergency measure, a temporary result of the introduction of machinery.
This study attempts, therefore, to analyse some of the actual conditions as they appear today in regard to women workers, and to urge further analysis and further search for facts. Those who chiefly desire a general discussion of the subject of special protection of women in industry, including the opposing views, will prefer to read only the Introduction and the final chapter — The Controversy.
I am indebted to Professor Henry R. Seager and Mr. John A. Fitch who have read my manuscript and have given continuous guidance and encouragement; to Miss Frances Perkins and Miss Nelle Swartz of the New York State Department of Labor who read parts of the study and offered criticism and suggestions; to my senior colleagues at Barnard College, Professor William F. Ogburn and Professor Emilie J. Hutchinson, and to Miss Clara Eliot, each one of whom has given invaluable aid throughout the course of my study; to my sister-in-law, Mrs. Frank B. Patterson, who, with me, has seen this book through the press. And finally, I owe deep gratitude to my friend Mrs. Louise Herrick Wall whose criticism has been an immeasurable help.
Hours of Labor
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