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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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Transformations: The New Deal through the 1950s

Transformations: The New Deal through the 1950s

(p.152) 6 Transformations: The New Deal through the 1950s
A Class by Herself

Nancy Woloch

Princeton University Press

This chapter traces the changes in federal and state protective policies from the New Deal through the 1950s. In contrast to the setbacks of the 1920s, the New Deal revived the prospects of protective laws and of their proponents. The victory of the minimum wage for women workers in federal court in 1937 and the passage in 1938 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which extended labor standards to men, represented a peak of protectionist achievement. This achievement rested firmly on the precedent of single-sex labor laws for which social feminists—led by the NCL—had long campaigned. However, “equal rights” gained momentum in the postwar years, 1945–60. By the start of the 1960s, single-sex protective laws had resumed their role as a focus of contention in the women's movement.

Keywords:   protective policies, New Deal, minimum wage, women workers, Fair Labor Standards Act, single-sex labor laws, social feminists, equal rights, women's movement

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