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This Grand ExperimentWhen Women Entered the Federal Workforce in Civil War-Era Washington, D.C.$
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Jessica Ziparo

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635972

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635972.001.0001

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I Wonder if I Cannot Make Application for an Appointment Too

I Wonder if I Cannot Make Application for an Appointment Too

Women Join the Federal Workforce

Chapter:
(p.15) Chapter One I Wonder if I Cannot Make Application for an Appointment Too
Source:
This Grand Experiment
Author(s):

Jessica Ziparo

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635972.003.0002

Chapter One explores how women came to work for the federal government. During the early years of the Civil War, different supervisors, scattered across various executive departments, created individualized and ad hoc policies regarding female employees based on their immediate labor needs, budget constraints, and personal views on the wisdom of female federal employment. The demographic information in application letters, employee files, and department ledgers, show that women across the country and the socioeconomic spectrum responded to the opportunity of civil service work in overwhelming numbers. The federal government hired African American women as manual laborers and clerks, though in far fewer numbers than it hired white women. Women’s letters reveal that they yearned for intellectually demanding and high-paying jobs in a land of limited options for female employment.

Keywords:   Civil War, Federal Government, Supervisors, Executive Departments, African American women, Female Employment, Federal Employment, Civil Service, Demographics, Women

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