The Old Broad Speaks

You work hard for a girl.

Never mind that I’m a woman almost out of her 40s but the man who said this to me was working the least of all of us, men or woman. Maybe he said it because we were working a labor job.

Women have been working, rather hard, ever since the first caveman dragged back half of a dead mastodon and demanded that the first cavewoman turn it into a feast and a new pair of shoes. Throughout history, women have been working hard, particularly, outside the home.

Between 1941 and 1945, as much as 80% of a factory’s workforce was dominated by women. During World War II, roughly 18 million American women entered the workforce with roughly 300,000 serving in the military. Women worked the same jobs that, today, we still consider “men only.” They worked as lathe operators, gear cutters, welders, riveters, and mechanics. Women were pilots, hospital personnel, and chemical analysts. They were typists, clerks, and bank tellers; laundry workers, farm laborers, telephone operators, food servers, and bus drivers.

Since the late 1940s, the number of women working outside the home has increased, from roughly 32% to more than 56% in 2016. More than 200,000 women served in American military branches, just in 2015, and the number increases every year. Those women who aren’t in the labor force are still working inside the home. Never underestimate what it takes to run a household, care for children, and support the wage earning significant other.

It’s too bad that we so easily forget our history. We women have proven that we work hard.

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