The growth of day care services, 1890-1946
Goldmintz, Linda Rosenbaum
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This study examines the growth of day care services in the United States, from 1890 through the closing days of World War II, with an effort to determine the extent to which the labor force participation of women and the feminist movement impacted upon the expansion and the contraction of the service. The study contains two hypotheses. The first states that the contraction and expansion of day care services in this country was a function of three intervening variables: the changes in status of women, the value of their labor and the social necessity of their labor. Day care services expanded when the value of women and their labor was on the rise and contracted when the status of women and the value of their labor was on the wane.;Impacting upon these three intervening variables were two independent variables of historical importance. The first independent variable consists of the changes in the labor market which impacted upon the labor force participation of women, while the second involves the changing agenda of the feminist movement and its view of women in the labor force. The first independent variable clearly impacted upon the status of women and their labor. When the feminist movement placed the needs of working women on the top of their agenda, fighting for improved jobs and working conditions, the status of women and their labor increased as well.;The second hypothesis states that the uneven development of day care's form was a function of the ideology of that profession with the greatest dominance at a particular point in time.;The findings of the research disclosed that it was primarily the economic sector's need for the labor of women which impacted upon their status as employees, and fueled the impetus for the expansion of day care services. As for the feminist movement, the major component of women active in the movement were middle and upper class women, who had little or no desire to cross class lines and advocate for less fortunate women forced to enter the labor market out of economic necessity. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.).