Forgotten Women of the Great Depression Part 2

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 12th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

In the struggle for women's rights which stems well over a century, some women made great strides in changing the social mores of the day. The plight of the poor is an ongoing topic in women’s issues and women’s rights. This series will look women in the Great Depression.


It took great effort for Montreal women and Women all over the United States and Canada to keep their families together during the great depression.

Divorced and single women during the depression

Women were supposed to be the homemakers waiting for their husband's to come home from work and not the other way around. However, what happened to women whose husband's did not work? What happened to women who were single, divorced, separated or widowed? No one seemed to care about that and that made the plight of these women even harder. American and Canadian society were still holding on to old world values that had nothing to do with the stark economic reality they were facing.

Thankfully as we have seen in the Jane Addams articles that there were women who were concerned with the plight of women; especially immigrant women and children who needed help.

Sex and race discrimination

Sex and race discrimination

While the US was reluctant to accept the reality of "working women" they were more reluctant to accept the plight of the women of colour or ethnic women. As they say, “some things never change” and sexual and racial stereotyping ran rampant in those days just as they do in ours.

Over 49 percent of Black women were unemployed in the northern states as compared to 23 percent of their Caucasian counterparts (1937 census report). However in the southern states the unemployment rate for Caucasian and black women were roughly the same (26%).

comparison of blacks and middle class women during the depression

Because the jobs were given to men over women, the male unemployment rate of course was lower everywhere in the country.

Economically depressed areas in the North such as New York's Harlem hit the black workers even harder with massive layoffs than other northern areas at the time.

Middle class white women would take work like waitressing even domestic work, cooking, nursing, cleaning (laundry); something they would never do before the depression. They were desperate for these lower wages in order to survive. Unfortunately this act of desperation had a ripple effect and it cut out the work that used to be available to black women.

To be continued

Some links to previous articles
Forgotten Women of the Great Depression

All photos taken from the public domain

Do you have a passion to write? Do you want to share your words with the world while getting royalties on your work for years to come? Follow me here on Wikinut


Black Women And The Depression, The Depression Era, The Great Depression, Women Discrimination, Women During The Depression, Womens Issues

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Utah Jay
13th Apr 2015 (#)

My mother told me stories of the depression and how she made it through with four kids. She held no grudges or placed no blame always moving forward as best she could. Even when we were dirt poor, living on fish, deer meat, and garden goods she never missed an opportunity to laugh and smile...Great article.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Kingwell
13th Apr 2015 (#)

Very difficult times. Blessings.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Grace Davis
15th Jan 2016 (#)

The topic about women's rights is really actual among all the people! Look, if you need to write a research about this interesting topic, I am sure it will be useful for you to visit this qualified writing company to get a professional writing help!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Hanry
7th Sep 2016 (#)

The great depression was a very hard and complicated period for everyone, especially for woman. I want to thank you for this valuable article. Nowadays we cannot change the past, but we have to remember it and avoid in the future. I wish everyone to be happy! I am hoping the same bets work for you in future. If you need any paper help - professionals at will help you 24/7!

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?