Work and Pay
Most of these public beliefs about women, work, and gender roles have ignored completely the plight of poor women, forced to excessive work at low wages. Since the nineteenth century, many more minority women have worked than white women, often in domestic and agricultural jobs, not far removed from the economy of slavery and indentured servitude. This unseen labor force, the “mules,” as Zora Neale Hurston described them, did the work that permitted white women to fill the role of full-time wife, homemaker, and mother (quoted in Collins 2000, p. 45). Yet demands to improve their working conditions rarely appeared in the public debate about women and work.