Now Hiring by Julia Kirk Blackwelder
Call Number: HD6095 .B57 1997
As the twentieth century draws to an end, the changing role of women appears as one of the dominant features of the era. In Now Hiring, historian Julia Blackwelder traces the century-long evolution of the American occupational structure and the ensuing rise in demand for female workers through the closing episodes of the Industrial Revolution and the advent of postindustrialism. Decade by decade, she adroitly traces the main lines of the development of the female work force and its interactions with education, family life, and social convention while developing a nuanced analysis of the differential patterns for various ethnic, racial, age, and socioeconomic groups. Through vignettes of individual women, given context by statistical data that place them within larger patterns of work and family life, Blackwelder presents her arguments "with flesh on them." She offers a pioneering consideration of non-paid employment as part of the picture of women and work and incorporates an intriguing case study of the evolution of the Girl Scout organization. Her consideration of the interaction of race, class, gender, and economic forces in the evolving roles of working women--particularly since she weaves these issues into every discussion, rather than isolating them as afterthoughts--also makes an intellectual contribution to the field of women's studies. In her conclusion, Blackwelder summarizes the effects of a century of change in women's employment and delineates the social and economic challenges that will confront women and families of the twenty-first century.