Women's history has been the object of a revival in historical scholarship in the last decade or so, and the development of women's work in the early twentieth century has received a significant attention from the 'new' women's history. On the other hand, very little attention has been devoted to the history of women's education—and particularly to the relationship between education and women's work—even in this critical period. My curiosity about the role of schooling in preparing women for work in these years led to an extended study of women's education and work at the turn of the century. This paper, one of the fruits of that effort, will address the question of how the growth of female labor-force participation in this period was associated with women's education. 2 The early years of the twentieth century were a time of tremendous growth in education with high school enrollments growing particularly rapidly. Given the fact that jobs were available for women with high school training, is it possible that the promise of white collar employment (which paid more than other jobs, and offered shorter hours and cleaner working conditions) drew women to high schools and helped to boost enrollments in the Progressive Era? Or was the opposite tendency at play; did the availability of large numbers of relatively well-educated women, historically willing to work for less than men, induce employers to make certain occupations almost entirely female preserves?
Rury, John L.
"Education and Industry: Women, Schooling, and Labor Force Participation; 1900-1920,"
Education and Culture:
1, Article 2.
Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/eandc/vol06/iss1/art2