Women's Work

How much do you know about women's advancement in the labor force?


Last month the Labor Department revised its January employment figures and announced that for the first time, women outnumber men on nonfarm payrolls. The issue of women in the workforce thus passed a notable milestone in what has been a tumultuous history. Test your knowledge of some of the highs and lows.

1) In 1909, a strike by 20,000 female garment workers in New York led to important concessions on the part of employers. Which of these was not among them?

A. Limiting the workweek to 52 hours
B. Providing on-site child care
C. Providing paid holidays
D. Providing all necessary tools

2) Three decades later, "Rosie the Riveter" became a cultural icon as women assumed factory work in large numbers. A Norman Rockwell illustration on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post portrayed Rosie holding a rivet gun and a sandwich, and using what as a footstool?

A. A cosmetics case
B. Machine-gun cartridges
C. A copy of Mein Kampf
D. A pyramid of coffee cups

3) Put these events in chronological order, most distant to most recent.

A. Effa Manley becomes the first woman elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
B. Jerrie Cobb becomes the first woman to undergo astronaut training.
C. Kate Gleason becomes the first woman to be president of a national (U.S.) bank.
D. Mary Kies becomes the first woman to receive a U.S. patent.

4) Percentage of Americans who in 1988 "strongly agreed" that both husband and wife should contribute to the family income:

A. 15%
B. 37%
C. 56%
D. 79%

5) In 1970, only 4% of married men between the ages of 30 and 44 had wives whose income topped theirs. By 2007 that percentage had increased to:

A. 9%
B. 15%
C. 22%
D. 29%

6) Among working parents (part-time and full-time), the ratio of women who would prefer to work part-time compared with men who would prefer to do so:

A. 1:1
B. 2:1
C. 3:1
D. 4:1

7) Put these "major reasons" for the relative lack of women in top executive positions in order, most commonly cited (in a 2008 survey of 2,250 Americans) to least.

A. Discrimination
B. Prevalence of "old-boy network"
C. Innate talent/traits
D. Family responsibilities

Sources:, Catalyst Inc., Pew Research Center, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Answers: 1–B; 2–C; 3–D/C/B/A; 4–A; 5–C; 6–C; 7–B/A/D/C


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