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Business Women's Legislative Council of California Records
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Collection Overview
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The collection consists of letters and documents which formed a portion of the Business Women's Legislative Council of California's records. The items in the collection pertain to the organization, maintenance and activities of the Council. The records span the years from 1927 to 1943, although there is a general gap in the files before 1929 and from 1936 through 1938. Grouped into folders, by document type, the folders are in alphabetical order by and files within every folder are arranged chronologically. Notable correspondence includes letters from elected officials as well as candidates in California and the governors of nearly all states in response to questions about their positions on "equal rights for women wage-earners."
Founded in 1927 under the leadership of Sue Brobst, the Business Women's Legislative Council of California worked to bring about and maintain equal rights for women in the workplace until the group folded in the mid 1940s. In its own words, the BWLCC’s purpose was to bring about and maintain equal opportunity under the law for men and women in the business world; and to oppose discriminatory legislation against women engaged in gainful occupations." At its start, the organization principally advocated against "protective laws" limiting women’s work hours to the daytime and a maximum of eight hours per day. Passed to help wage workers, the BWLCC took offense on principal to the law’s apparently unequal treatment of women and men. They also argued that the law prevented women engaged in business and the professions from putting in the long hours required for success. Like their counterparts nationally, they received support from business interests like the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Merchants and Manufacturers Association and eventually the Republican Party. Opposition came from those in the "labor-liberal" and "social feminist" camp such as Franklin Roosevelt, his wife Eleanor Roosevelt, and his Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, who saw protective legislation for women as a key stepping stone to legislation protecting all laborers.
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