Exhibit Chronicles KY 'Women at Work'
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 8, 2013) — To celebrate Women's History Month, University of Kentucky Libraries' Special Collections is currently hosting an exhibit of pictures chronicling the lives and work of Kentucky women through the years. "Women at Work," which is on display through March 31, at the Margaret I. King Building, is free and open to the public.
The photographs on display in the exhibit were originally included in the pictorial history "Women in Lexington," and were compiled to highlight the activities, achievements and 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 around the country 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 percent, an increase from 25 percent in 1940. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, enacting the first federal law prohibiting sexual discrimination.
The photographs on display as part of "Women at Work" have been curated by Deirdre A. Scaggs, associate dean of UK Special Collections, and Lewis Warden, coordinator for logistics in UK Special Collections. Images are from various archival collections available through UK Libraries.
UK Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckian, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
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