According to the Department of Labor, in 1900 women over the age of 16 constituted 18.3 per cent of the US labour force. 1900 was the early industrial era and there was a gradual movement away from agricultural trades into manufacturing. Domestic and personal services were still the dominant employment of women, who worked as as seamstresses or servants. There were an increasing number of women in the professions (representing 15-23 per cent of the total workforce in the western seaboard and the central northeastern territories), with many women acting as teachers or working in a clerical capacity. A growing feminist movement meant that women were also allowed to practise medicine and law, although their numbers were low. In the southern states women were mainly employed in agriculture, in contrast to the northern states and the mid-southwest, where manufacturing dominated.
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