When the subject of equal pay for women is brought up, I have seldom heard the history of this issue. We need to realize that women worked at high rates in the period before industrialization. When this age began, men went to jobs outside the home. Women continued to maintain the household. When women married they tended to leave their jobs. Thereafter they were considered temporary workers, their pay was a supplement to the male earnings.

During the U.S. Civil War women were hired to trim and cut sheets of paper money. They were paid half the amount men were receiving. In the 1920s laws were passed that limited the hours and conditions that women and children could work. Protection was more important than equality.

As late as the 1940s, school boards would not hire married women. When World War II was declared, a push of equal pay for equal work was pushed. It was not until 1963 that the Equal Pay Act was passed. Today with the Me Too movement, we are aware that equal pay is not an individual problem but a social problem.

Dorothy McKenna, Sahuarita