As we see American women coming into positions of economic and political influence, we start to wonder: why now? The Women Have Always Worked MOOC, offered in four parts, explores the history of women in America and introduces students to historians’ work to uncover the place of women and gender in America’s past.
The 19th Amendment–which gave women the right to vote–is our launching point for course three. We will explore the new cultural and economic opportunities that emerged for women in the 1920s, while gaining an understanding of how racial, familial, and legal structures placed constraints on that independence. We'll conclude course three with a look into World War II and how the massive changes wrought by women's essential contributions to the war effort provided new opportunities and new barriers that emerged over the twenty-year interwar period.
Alice Kessler-Harris, Nick Juravich, Suzanne Kahn, Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning, New-York Historical Society and Intelligent Television