The 20th century has witnessed dramatic changes in women' s workforce participation and also in the reasons for their participation. At the beginning of this century, women's workforce participation was mainly a question of status and family income. Women from upper classes, as well as wives of wealthy men, were not obliged to earn money through employment. In contrast, they were expected to fulfill their roles as wives and mothers and to stay at home even if they would have liked to do something else (Frevert, 1 986, 1 995 ; Kiernan, 1 993) . If women worked for money-and lots of them d id so, of course-the predominant reason was economical necessity, or it was at least assumed that this was their only motive. These working women were usually poorly educated, had to work in low employment positions, and received a low income. Education was generally sex segregated . Women were taught female-specific skil ls l ike housework and child care . It was very difficult for them to attain a higher education or to attend a university. In a country l ike Germany, for instance, it was not before 1 896 that the first women passed the Abitur ( i .e . , the examination necessary for attending a university), and it was 1 900 that women were allowed to enrol l at universities as regular students. In the United States these developments were a l ittle faster. In 1 837, Oberlin College allowed female students to officially enroll , and by 1 900, 30% of the students were female (Chamberlain, 1 99 1 ) . The few well-educated women usually had to choose between a career, for instance as a teacher or a medical doctor, or a family, because a combination of both was-with very few exceptions­ impossible.