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to devise means for the conversion to war uses of plants now fitted only for production of nonessentials.

These are some of the more important matters which have been dealt with by the War Labor Policies Board. Other problems affecting one or more branches of the Government found their way to this board for reference. To them all this board brought the light which arose from common counsel of separate agencies working on the single task of exerting the full energies of the Nation in the prosecution of the war.

Abolition of the board. The contingency which brought the War Labor Policies Board into existence was the divergence of policy in labor matters brought about by the creation of large numbers of Government agencies to deal with labor. With the cessation of hostilities the greater part of the agencies mentioned also ceased, and with their disappearance there ceased to be any necessity for a centralizing agency. Consequently the jurisdiction of the War Labor Policies Board rapidly dwindled. Before the end of the fiscal year it was possible to discontinue the entire staff. Although the necessity for reconciliation of interdepartmental conflicts had passed the function of course remained of reconciling differences between branches of the Department. This function, however, is sufficiently provided for by the normal organization of the Department and by the Departmental Cabinet (q.v.). The Policies Board was therefore discontinued in March, 1919.


Origin and functions.—The Woman in Industry Service was organized in July, 1918, a year and three months after the entrance of the United States into the war. It is charged with the duty of developing standards and policies to insure the effective employment of women while conserving their health and welfare. It was instructed to keep in close touch with the other divisions of the Department of Labor, each of which has a relation to women in industry, and to coordinate such work in other Federal departments. It is expected to work with State departments of labor. Its aim is to unite in the active carrying out of a consistent and rounded program by all the agencies which touch various phases of the problem of women wage earners. It was confronted at once by the problems involved in a rapidly increasing reliance upon the work of women as a reserve labor force in the face of the withdrawal of men for military service at the rate of a quarter of a million a month. It was clear that for the sake of production the Federal Government must provide not only for the recruiting of women workers but for the safeguarding of the health and efficiency of these women who were meeting the requirements of new and unaccustomed tasks.

1 At the beginning of the fiscal year 1920 the title of the Woman in Industry Service was changed to the “Women's Bureau."

This rapid increase in the employment of women constituted a peculiar war problem. Fundamentally, however, the purpose of the Department of Labor in its relation to women in industry is identical in peace and in war.

With all the changes brought by the war the organic act creating the Department is still applicable: “The purpose of the Department of Labor shall be to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners of the United States, to improve their working conditions, and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment.” The difference during the war was the wider public recognition of the necessity for “advancing the opportunities” of women "for profitable employment."

Thus, while the problems of women in industry during the war differed in form from similar problems in time of peace, the fundamental tasks were so much alike that the experience gained in dealing with them during the war may be regarded as a basis for action in time of peace. A report of the activities and plans of the Woman in Industry Service in the four months which elapsed between its establishment and the signing of the armistice should, therefore, be not merely a history but an introduction to a program for the work of the Federal Government on behalf of women wage earners in the period of readjustment and thereafter. Therefore, logically the record divides into two parts, the first describing the period of the war and the second setting forth the problems of the eight months after the armistic was signed.




When the Secretary of Labor recommended to Congress an appropriation for a special service for women in industry, he outlined its purpose and functions as follows:

It is undoubtedly true that the Department of Labor exercises all of its powers with reference to wage earners of both sexes and of all ages. It is also true that the best administration requires that the various services of the Department which are here outlined be conducted by including within the work of each service all questions regarding women as well as men.

But the great importance of the employment of women in most essential war work and the development of special matters of policy with respect to such employment make it important to establish a special service devoted to the subject of women in industry.

In view of the fact that the other services will, as above indicated, include within their sphere women as well as men, this special service of women in industry is not large; will be largely policy making and administrative in character rather than itself executive; but will maintain close contact with all the work of the Department on this special subject and will also coordinate and control such work in all other departments.

Stated more specifically the purpose of this service is:

1. To consider all general policies with respect to women in industry and to advise the Secretary of Labor as to the policies which should be pursued.

2. To keep informed of the work of the several divisions of the Department in so far as they relate to women in industry and to advise with the divisions on all such work,

3. To secure information on all matters relating to women in industry and to collate such information into useful form.

4. To establish useful connections with all governmental departments and divisions on this subject and with voluntary agencies and societies.

In announcing on July 9, 1918, the appointment of the director and assistant director, the Secretary further stated the purposes of the Woman in Industry Service as follows:

In recognition of the great importance to the Nation of the work of women in industry and the urgent necessity for a national policy in determining the conditions of their employment, I have urged and Congress has now granted, the necessary authority to establish a Women's Division in the Department of Labor. Its immediate task will be to develop in the industries of the country, policies and methods which will result in the most effective use of women's services in production for the war, while at the same time preventing their employment under injurious conditions. Its large and very necessary aim will be to focus attention on the national importance of the conditions of women's work as influencing industrial standards and as affecting the welfare of the entire Nation.

The Women's Division will be charged primarily with determining policies rather than carrying on detailed administration. Because of this policy-making function of the Women'. Division, its director will serve as a member of the War Labor Policies Board. It will coordinate work for women in other divisions of the Department of Labor and in industrial service sections of other departments of the Federal Government. It will cooperate with State departments of labor, working with and through them, in order to bring about united action by the States in national problems of women's work. The Women's Division will concern itself primarily with war con- · ditions but will be mindful of the need for observing and interpreting the tendencies in women's employment which are likely to have permanent social effects.

The Women's Division has been established in response to needs widely felt by all, men as well as women, who are conscious of the increasing share women must have in the industrial activities of the war. The problems of women in industry are so manifold and complex that a clearing house of thought and leadership is needed in the National Government. The Women's Division has been established to give this leadership.

Council on Women in Industry.To accomplish the task of coordinating the efforts of all Federal agencies concerned in women's work the service was authorized by the Secretary of Labor to organize the Council on Women in Industry, composed of women representing every division of the Department of Labor and other Federal departments having organized work related to problems of women in industry. Its membership included the Women's Branch of the Ordnance Department, the Women's Section of the Railroad Administration, the Federal Board for Vocational Education, the Committee on Woman in Industry of the Advisory Commission, and the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense, and from the Department of Labor representatives of the services

concerned with investigation and inspection, training and dilution, information and education, and working conditions, the United States Employment Service, the Immigration Bureau, the Children's Bureau, the Bureau of Naturalization, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States Housing Corporation, the War Labor Board, and the War Labor Policies Board. The council did not assume any executive or administrative functions nor did it have any authority over the programs of its members. It was a forum for discussion of the important questions coming before the Woman in Industry Service and the other groups cooperating with it. Among the subjects for discussion have been the safeguards to be established in new occupations, the enforcement of State labor laws, the regulation of night work under war conditions, the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work, and the recruiting and training of women workers. The cooperation which will be described in the succeeding report of activities of the Woman in Industry Service was materially furthered by the weekly meetings of the council.

Recruiting women for new occupations.-It has already been indicated that the outstanding question concerning women in industry which grew daily more important during the war was the necessity of greatly increasing the proportion of women in the essential industries of the country in order to meet the demands of production and at the same time to release men for military service. There was great danger of hysterical campaigns which would stimulate the recruiting of women without giving assurance that their services would become effective for production or that proper safeguards for women workers should be established. It was difficult for those unfamiliar with the difficulties of introducing a new and untrained personnel into industry to appreciate the care which must be taken to avoid actual decrease in production by rapid and careless methods of filling positions. Nor could those who had not been familiar with the efforts of years to build up standards for protection of the health of the workers appreciate how important were the maintenance and extension of those standards during the war. The situation was made more critical by the fact that companies whose policy toward their men workers had never won their confidences and cooperation were likely to arouse the suspicion that the war emergency would be used as an excuse for employing women at lower rates of pay and under conditions which would weaken any control gained by the workers through collective bargaining.

The following program was proposed by the Woman in Industry Service:

1. Standards governing the employment of women in industry should be authoritatively issued after adoption by the War Labor Policies Board, with the twofold purpose of controlling conditions especially in new occupations for women and also serving as a guide in the selection of occupations in which the employment of women might be increased. That is to say, instead of offering a list of occupations in which

Fomen should be substituted for men, the Federal Government would promulgate standards, together with the statement that in any occupation in which these standards were upheld the extension of the employment of women would be desirable, at the same time calling attention to the necessity for greatly increasing the employment of Fomen under these conditions.

2. Certain broad statements could be made about occupations in which it would be desirable to employ women, but these must always be in the nature of information rather than authoritative rulings, since local conditions would make a recommendation for the employment of women unwise in one locality and wise in another, where both the nature of the process and the conditions surrounding it were different.

3. Certain occupations which had been proved to be more injurious to women than to men should be listed as a group from which women should be excluded.

4. Instead of attempting to formulate a detailed program for the country as a whole, the War Industries Board and the United States Employment Service would be asked to name those localities in which the shortage of labor was most acute. The various Federal agencies concerned with investigation, training, placement, health, and Forking conditions would then be asked to concentrate their efforts in those localities in order to solve the problems there and also to give a foundation from experience for an increasingly adequate program of labor distribution throughout the country.

5. Inquiries into certain typical occupations should be pushed forward rapidly by the Woman in Industry Service with a view to making definite recommendation regarding changes in the process and the establishment of conditions which had beev proved most effective in the experience of establishments employing women.

6. Meanwhile plans should be formulated for exhibits of women's work and other forms of educational presentation of facts which should result in enlisting the services of women in the war industries, while winning also the cooperation of industry in establishing the conditions which should make for the largest production over a long period.

It is possible to record progress in each section of this program, although the signing of the armistice made it unnecessary to introduce women in such large numbers in this country as in Great Britain or France, and the program as a whole was therefore not carried out. The action taken is set forth in subsequent pages of this report.

Standards governing the employment of women in industry.A tentative draft of standards which should govern the employment of women in industry was presented to the Secretary of Labor October 10, 1918, adopted on October 18, and modified on October 25, in the light of the probability that an armistice would soon be signed. Before it was recommended to the Secretary of Labor it had been submitted for criticism and suggestions to every State department of labor, to representative employers, and to working women representing national and international trade-unions having women members. In formulating the standards consideration was given to experience in industry during the war, to regulations already established in State labor laws, and to such statements by Federal agencies during the war as General Orders No. 13 issued by the Chief of OrdDance and simultaneously by the Quartermaster General as recommendations to arsenal commanders and to manufacturers working on contracts for the War Department. The report of the National

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