Below is the introductory text for the physical exhibit.
Women at Work
Featuring photographs from UK Libraries’ Special Collections, this exhibit celebrates women’s history month. These images were originally included in the pictorial history Women in Lexington and were compiled to highlight the activities, achievements, and the lives of everyday Kentucky women. The theme women at work was chosen to highlight the diverse ways women have contributed to the workforce and how they were also breaking out of traditionally gender specific work activities.
Historically, Kentucky women have been crucial forces and contributed to a wide range of fields. They have contributed to the women’s suffrage movement, the education system, charitable organizations, architecture, medicine, law, and key women’s groups. By 1937, more women nationally were active in the workforce, but conditions did not improve for African American women until civil rights legislation.
Post World War II, Lexington developed further – manufacturing expanded, enrollment at the universities grew, the population increased and new housing crept into the farmlands. As the city grew, so did the opportunities for women in the workforce. By 1960, more women were getting jobs outside the home, and by 1969 the percent of women in the workforce was up to 43%, an increase from 25% in 1940. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, enacting the first federal law prohibiting sexual discrimination