The U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau, established by Congress in
1920, is the only federal agency mandated to represent the needs of
wage-earning women in the public policy process.
For 87 years, it has been meeting that mandate -- identifying the issues
working women care about most and vigorously pioneering research and remedies
to address them. For example:
- The Women's Bureau has investigated and reported on scores of women's
work issues - such as the conditions facing "negro women in industry" in 1922,
"older women as office workers" in the '50s, contingent workers in the '80s and
nonstandard hour child care options in the '90s, to name just a few. It
regularly publishes fact sheets on the status of women workers as well as
resources for addressing workplace concerns.
- The Bureau has always been a champion for the interests of working
women. One of the agency's early achievements was the inclusion of women under
the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which, for the first time, set minimum
wages and maximum working hours.
- Over the years it has identified the need for more skills training,
wider job opportunities, better pay and conditions for the new female workforce
during World War II, and was instrumental in the passage of the Equal Pay Act
- It also has a long history of helping workers balance job and family
responsibilities - which includes the launch of a major initiative to encourage
employer-sponsored child care back in 1982, the establishment of a multi-media
Work and Family Clearinghouse in 1989 and pressure for the passage of the
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.
- The Bureau continues to work cooperatively with employers and other
partners to improve the prospects for the 21st Century working women. Through
demonstration projects utilizing the latest technology and professionals as
mentors, young girls are exploring the possibility of careers in science,
engineering, and technology; opportunities for careers in nursing are being
explored, Generation X women are learning about financial security and
retirement savings using a web-based curriculum; women with young children are
developing new skills on-line; and women business owners are developing
policies to provide workplace flexibility to their employees. It has also
expanded its information dissemination system to the 21st Century Working Woman
by initiating a bi-monthly electronic newsletter that reaches more than 250,000
- While the Women's Bureau is proud of these accomplishments, the
credit extends far beyond this agency: To a Secretary of Labor and a President
who are true champions of working women. To employers who recognize that
women's work makes the world work. And most of all, to women workers.
The Women's Bureau wants to be a source of reliable information for you.
Please call, write or e-mail us.