Cover for KESSLER-HARRIS: Women Have Always Worked: A Concise History. Click for larger image

Women Have Always Worked

A Concise History

Updating the foundational book on women at work

A classic since its original publication, Women Have Always Worked brought much-needed insight into the ways work has shaped female lives and sensibilities. Beginning in the colonial era, Alice Kessler-Harris looks at the public and private work spheres of diverse groups of women—housewives and trade unionists, immigrants and African Americans, professionals and menial laborers, and women from across the class spectrum. She delves into issues ranging from the gendered nature of the success ethic to the social activism and the meaning of citizenship for female wage workers. This second edition adds artwork and features significant updates. A new chapter by Kessler-Harris follows women into the early twenty-first century as they confront barriers of race, sex, and class to earn positions in the new information society.

"While adeptly covering centuries of women's work, this wise and wide-ranging survey engages big questions about values in private and public life and always keeps in view the range of life-situations among women of various descriptions. It is a treat to have this revised edition."--Nancy F. Cott, author of Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation

"Distinguished labor historian Alice Kessler-Harris was a pioneer in the history of women's work at home and at the workplace. This re-issue of her 1981 history is still the best short introduction to the topic. Now a new chapter on the recent past provides a pithy—and disturbing—report on women's work today and the impact of right-wing efforts to undo the gains that working women fought for and won in the 1960s and 1970s."--Linda Gordon, author of The Moral Property of Women: The History of Birth Control Politics in America


Alice Kessler-Harris is the R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History Emerita at Columbia University and a professor at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Her many books include In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America and A Woman's Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences.

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