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A Class by HerselfProtective Laws for Women Workers, 1890s-1990s$
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Nancy Woloch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691002590

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691002590.001.0001

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Different versus Equal: The 1920s

Different versus Equal: The 1920s

Chapter:
(p.121) 5 Different versus Equal: The 1920s
Source:
A Class by Herself
Author(s):

Nancy Woloch

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691002590.003.0006

This chapter revisits Adkins and considers the feud over protective laws that arose in the women's movement in the 1920s. The clash between friends and foes of the Equal Rights Amendment—and over the protective laws for women workers that it would surely invalidate—fueled women's politics in the 1920s. Both sides claimed precedent-setting accomplishments. In 1923, the National Woman's Party proposed the historic ERA, which incurred conflict that lasted for decades. The social feminist contingent—larger and more powerful—gained favor briefly among congressional lawmakers, expanded the number and strength of state laws, saw the minimum wage gain a foothold, and promoted protection through the federal Women's Bureau. Neither faction, however, achieved the advances it sought. Instead, a fight between factions underscored competing contentions about single-sex protective laws and their effect on women workers.

Keywords:   protective laws, women's movement, Equal Rights Amendment, women workers, women's politics, National Woman's Party, Women's Bureau, single-sex protective laws, social feminist contingent

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