Labor Day – Reader’s Advisory

The UGL hopes everyone is enjoying their Labor Day.  To celebrate, we decided to take a look at women’s labor movement.  There are great books in our collection that describe various occupations and how women’s roles in them have changed through the years.  These are more than just the traditional “Rosie the Riveter” themes. So, scroll down and take a look at how women and their roles in society have changed.

 

The XX Factor by Alison Wolf

Ever wonder if the current social roles of women are the ones expected by the trail blazing feminists of the early 60s? In Wolf’s book, she discusses the way women’s life choices have evolved and changed from a few, such as in the home, to as varied as any choices men have. However, Wolf argues that while there has been evolution in women’s education and employment, this is still not the society many envisioned.  Read The XX Factor to learn about Wolf’s vision for equality.

Not June Cleaver edited by Joanne Meyerowitz

What comes to mind when you think 1950s housewife? Do you think of Donna Reed? In this book, Meyerowitz has gathered together different essays that attempt to revise this standard picture of 1950s women and postwar U.S. women’s history. Why is it that this white, blonde, middle class woman is the first image that comes to mind? Read this book to start changing your own mental image of women and what they’ve achieved.

 

Beyond the Typewriter by Sharon Hartman Strom

Now we are examining a more specific genre of women in labor; those that were once known as secretaries.  This book examines how women were first introduced into the world of the “office”, and how that was seen as the pinnacle of achievement. It continues through women’s growing realizations and struggles to become more than just secretaries. If you like Mad Men, and have watched Peggy and Joan struggle with these same issues, then this book’s for you.

 

A Mouthful of Rivets by Nancy Baker Wise and Christy Wise

We all know the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter, the symbol of the women’s labor movement during World War II. But what about the real women who stepped up and took on these traditionally masculine roles? What types of experiences did they face and what was their attitude about going back to the home once the war was over?  This book is full of interviews of the women who lived the life depicted by the image. If you want to know the real Rosie’s, you can start here!

 

American Women and World War II by Doris Weatherford

Instead of focusing on one possible career of women during WW II, Weatherford provides a glimpse into many professions: nurse, military, industrial and home front.  The various depictions of these women in films about WW II do not do them the justice they deserve. These women were faced with problems the likes of which they’d never encountered.  How they stepped into the breach and did more than just pick up the slack is described in this book. So, if you want to know how these real women dealt with the new and varied upheavals in their lives during this tumultuous time, pick this book up from the UGL!

Enjoy your Labor Day and celebrate by looking for these books about women in the labor movement, available in our collection here at the UGL.

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