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  City Hall Library Notes, March 2014

SPOTLIGHT ON: Women's History Month

By Christine Bruzzese

      Since 1978, the U.S Congress has designated March as Women's History Month. This article focuses on working women such as laborers, educators, civil servants, business owners, and others who are contributing to women's history though they may not be famous. Some resources in the City Hall Library collection are featured.

      Holding up More than Half the Sky: Chinese Garment Workers in New York City, 1948-92 by Xiaolan Bao describes the experiences of female Chinese immigrants working in the New York City garment industry. Starting with a history of the garment industry in New York and especially Chinatown, the author goes on to examine the role of Chinese immigrant women in the garment industry. The influence of labor unions culminating in the garment workers strike of 1982 is studied. This event led to the signing of a union contract for 20,000 workers, mostly women. Also discussed are cultural factors and the changing roles and images of Chinese American women.

    Sisters in the Neighborhoods: Working Women Organizing for Equality in New York City by Jane Latour presents the struggles and achievements of women trying to gain acceptance in traditionally male-dominated occupations. The author interviewed construction workers, electricians, firefighters, transit workers, and others. Their personal and professional experiences are presented along with discussion of the involvement of labor unions, civil rights, and the role of government and history of women in labor.

    Gender and Equity in the New York City Municipal Workforce: a Snapshot Analysis by the New York City Comptroller's Office offers statistics and analysis on the salaries and employment of women in the city workforce. Included are background on legal issues and policies, comparison of public and private-sector earnings and statistics of earnings by males and females in the largest agencies and titles in New York City government. There is also a discussion of future issues that could be considered.

    Consult vertical and biographical files for more resources on women and women's history.

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