Education and Women's Work

Female Schooling and the Division of Labor in Urban America, 1870-1930

By John L. Rury

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series on Women and Work
Paperback : 9780791406182, 298 pages, August 1991
Hardcover : 9780791406175, 298 pages, August 1991

Table of contents

List of Tables

List of Figures




One Women at School: The Feminization of American High Schools, 1870–1900

Visions of Equality
Feminization of the High School
The Coeducation Question
Equality and the Curriculum
Conclusion: An Age of Opportunity

Two Participation and Purpose in Women's Education: Who Went to School, and Why

Who Went to School
Female School Participation, 1870–1900: An Ecological Analysis
The Personal Record
Conclusion: Stepping into a Larger World

Three Women at Work: Female Labor Force Participation and Education, 1890–1930

The Changing Shape of Women's Work, 1890–1930
School-Leaving and Labor Force Participation: Regional Differences
Occupations and Education
Ethnicity, Education, and Women's Work
Conclusion: Opportunities and Constraints in Female Employment

Four Vocationalism Ascendant:Women and the High School Curriculum, 1890–1930

New Purposes in Women's Education
The Home Economics Movement
Commercial Education: A Vocational Groundswell
Industrial Education for Women
The Changing Face of Coeducation
Regional Patterns of Female Participation in High School Courses
Conclusion: Educational Policy and Women's Work

Five Varieties of Adaptation: Local Patterns of Women's Education and Work

Education and Women's Work in Two Cities
Women's Work and the High School Curriculum: Patterns of Adaptation
Education and Social Class: Women in Clerical Courses
Conclusion: Education and Local Labor Markets


Statistical Appendix




This book examines the transformations in women's work and education and assesses their effects on women from different social and cultural backgrounds.

John L. Rury is Associate Professor in the School for New Learning at DePaul University.


"This book fills an immense lacuna in the history of women's education, the history of secondary education, and the history of curriculum. The use of multiple sources of information is ambitious and unusual. The lines of interpretation are provocative and fundamental, creating new conceptual dimensions for historians of women, education, and labor to explore.

"Education and Women's Work is a fine, complex book." — Barbara Finkelstein, University of Maryland.