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SHSND Home > North Dakota History > Unit 7: Pretty Good Times on the Prairie, 1945 > Commission on Status of Women > Activity 2

Unit 7: Set 2. Commission on the Status of Women 1964 - Activity 2

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Evaluating the Data

The United States Constitution requires that a census of the population be taken every ten years.  The kind of data (beyond a basic count) collected varies from year to year, but since 1900 the census has gathered a great deal of information on working people.  The Bureau of Labor also kept data on employed people, and had a special division to monitor data on women workers.  If we read these numbers carefully, they can tell us a great deal about working women and, by extension, something about their families.

The Commission on the Status of Women used data collected in 1960 so it was still fairly accurate for their use in 1964. 

  1. Describe the Average Woman Worker.  For instance, you might say that the Average Woman Worker is over 35, married, and did not complete high school.  Complete this picture by adding in her salary and her most likely occupation. 
  1. In 1950, the average income for all workers in the United States was $3,216.  The average price of a house nationwide was $14,500.  A car cost about $1500.  Gasoline was twenty cents a gallon and a loaf of bread cost fourteen cents.  Was the average North Dakota woman worker able to support a family with two children comfortably?  
  1. Find someone in your family or in your town who was an adult in 1964.  Ask about the condition of women at work, in government, and in the social networks of your community?  Do their responses match these statistics?  Can you explain any differences you find?  Does the information you gather make the statistics more valuable?  (If you can’t find a person to talk to, locate copies of the town newspaper for that time period and read about women’s activities.  You might find the newspaper in the library or in the local historical society.) 

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