Workers Alliance leader Emma Tenayuca speaking to crowd outside San Antonio City Hall, March 8, 1937. Courtesy, UTSA Special Collections.
If the Jazz Age propelled American women into the modern world, the Great Depression was a retreat back into the home.
But women did not go quietly into the home. Organized labor grew and was increasingly politicized. Housewives acted like unions and worked together to affect change. Young women with limited means still dreamed of careers and glamour. Women who had come up in the Progressive Era used their previous organizing experience to contribute to national policies, taking on high-ranking roles in the expanding federal bureaucracy. Artists continued their work in the hopes of earning in an income and spreading inspirational messages to a suffering nation.
The Great Depression was an all-encompassing crisis for American women, but it did not destroy their spirit. Women found creative and inspirational ways to not only survive, but also fight for a seat at the table.
For more about women during the Great Depression, watch the video below.