Print Women's Work Reading Comprehension
||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 7 to 9
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||autoworkers, riveters, welders, businesswoman, unemployed, postal, finance, accountant, finding, military, refused, sales, industry, tragic, teaching, secretary
||Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Great Depression, United States, World War II
By Sharon Fabian
1 In the early days of our country, women, men, and children often worked on the family farm. Each person had his or her jobs to do, and the success of the farm depended on each member of the family doing his or her part. Later, as our country moved into the industrial age, more and more people began to go out to work for a salary. Since the late 1800s, more and more women have joined the work force. The number of women who worked outside of the home and the type of work that they did changed from time to time as the needs of our country changed.
2 In the 1890s, only about 17% of women worked outside of the home. Besides farm work, their jobs were mainly in traditional women's fields such as teaching, nursing, and domestic service. Women also worked in textile and garment factories. By the 1900s, the percentage of employed women rose slightly, to about 20%. Occupations that were opening up to women at this time included secretary, telephone operator, and sales clerk. Many young women still worked in textile and garment factories too. In these factories, pay was low and working conditions were dangerous. You may have read in your history book about the tragic fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.
3 The 1930s was the time of the Great Depression. During the Depression, money and jobs were scarce, and many people became unemployed. Women had an especially hard time finding work, since many people felt that the few jobs that were available should go to the men first. Some employers refused to hire any married women during this time.
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