Attack of the Woman-Dominated Workplace: Intro

by Lesley Jane Seymour
Photograph: Photo: Phil Toledano

The history of women’s work in the United States has been the history of fitting in—to a system owned and dominated by men. During World War II, women flooded the manufacturing side of the workforce as substitutes for men who had been called away to fight. In the ’70s, we crammed ourselves into the bottom ranks of the corporate establishment—a military-inspired hierarchy of limited opportunity—wearing our linebacker shoulder pads and faux bow ties, hoping no one in management (virtually all male) would notice that we were “other.” Then, in 2010, the numbers did an astonishing flip-flop. The Great Recession incinerated hundreds of thousands of jobs in the mostly male sectors of manufacturing and construction, and suddenly women made up more than half the workforce. At this historic crossroads, More decided it was time to stop asking how women can better fit in and start asking how we can reinvent the workplace to finally suit women’s needs, and men’s. We talked to visionaries, academics, working women, government researchers and CEOs to create this report on how the workplace is already changing for the better, how it affects you right now, what you can ask for at your office and what else we all need to see—soonest.

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