1. Clerical work is fundamentally different from other types of women's employment because it was not a natural extension from her roles in the domestic sphere
a) Yet, by the 20th it was considered women's work
b) Thus, this is a success story because any time a racial, ethnic, or gender segregation falls, progress is made.
2. Overview: This book explains how women came to be clerical workers and describes the meaning that clerical employment had for women. This subject was divided into 3 chronological periods.
a) when clerical work was mens work.
b) 1890-WWI when clerical work began to transform into women's work
c) WWI-1930 when clerical work became fully defined as women's work
3. Purpose: To describe the lives and experiences of a group of women defined by their occupation-but not limited to their activities at work.
a) Fine is interested in the entire meaning of clerical work from the personal meaning of occupational choice to economic decisions
b) She emphasizes the importance of women themselves in shaping their destinies
c) And that they did not enter clerical work because of reform minded groups
4. Thesis: Her thesis was that there were 2 transformations in clerical work
a) A shift in the sex performing the work and a changing gender definition of clerical work.
b) There were 3 reasons behind this transformation. Industrial and urban growth. Increased supply of young single trained women. And, the fact that women stayed in high school longer and were better trained than men.
c) She wants to overcome the traditional idea of feminization and the de-skilling of the clerical job. She argues that scientific management and rationalization of the workplace occured after women claimed the clerical jobs for themselves.
d) There were 4 sources of information about the gender definition of clerical work. Technical experts concerned with office management. Popular culture and media. Reformers, politicians and city administrators. And the private worlds of the clerical workers.
1. She began by saying this is a success story and ended by saying that the promise was unfulfilled. She needed to reconcile these 2 opinions.
2. The title "souls of the skyscraper" led me to expect a more personalized account of these women. We learn about them in the Eleanor House but not so much detail is given about life on the job. I thought that diaries or personal correspondence could have been used to determine women's interpersonal views on the job. How did her boss treat her, co-workers, etc.
3. She ended by saying that in the 1930s women banded together more successfully for improved wages, hours, and working conditions. This seems like an important part of the study that should have been expanded upon. Susan Ware Beyond Suffrage:Women in the New Deal. Women played a major part in the labor movement and it would be interesting to see how it effected women in Chicago.
4. This study focused on Chicago- yet I had trouble at times determining if she was referring to a national or local phenomena. Ex. the images of films and novels were obviously national in scope. She then talked about the realities of the jobs yet did not specify if this related specifically to Chicago.
5. Finally Why did she choose Chicago?