Single women, especially those in the labor force, contribute a whole lot to our society, and Single Working Women’s Day, held each year on August 4, aims to highlight this very fact. This unofficial national day falls within Single Working Women’s Week. As its name implies, this day celebrates all those women who are gainfully employed.
History of Single Working Women's Day
Women have been a part of the labor force as far back as written records show. When agriculture was the chief occupation, both men and women shared in the heavy physical labor.
The Industrial Revolution brought a lot of changes to the work situation, for both men and women. At first, many families worked in factories as teams. By the mid-19th century, however, because of a growing protest against the treatment of women and children in these factories, the roles changed again. Women were increasingly assigned domestic chores, and men were the sole providers. The minimum age for child labor, appropriate working hours for men and women, and restrictions on women performing certain hazardous tasks — all these rules were set in this period.
The traditional role women performed in society continued until well into the 20th century. Soon, social and economic developments turned the tide once again. There was an increase in demand for public education, which required more teachers. Rapidly growing industries and organizations meant more workers were needed. Companies found they could hire women for simple tasks, often at a lower salary than their male counterparts. The initial wave of the women’s movement — when women came together for social issues like suffrage and temperance — raised women’s participation in the workforce to a great extent. At this time, still early on in the 20th century, most of the female workforce was made up of younger single women, as most married women in the U.S. did not yet work outside the home. The Census Bureau data shows only 25% of women at that time were ‘gainfully employed.’ Technology advances meant more and more physically demanding jobs could be accomplished with the push of a button and the ‘exclusively male’ tag on them vanished. Societies progressed, and the stigma and rules set on women entering the workforce gradually vanished.
Single Working Women’s Day was founded by Barbara Payne, a single working woman herself. Her unique perspective on being a single woman who held a job led her to see how much women just like her contributed to society. Payne and her friends would often wonder why there were so many holidays for mothers, fathers, and even friends, but there was nothing for single women. They then created the Single Working Women’s Affiliate Network and, subsequently, Single Working Women’s Day.
Single Working Women's Day timeline
Most female workers in the workforce — a very small amount at this time — are young and unmarried; as per the Census Bureau, this number is only 20% of all women at that time.
The women's movement results in the ratification of the 19th Amendment by three-fourths of the U.S. states, giving women the right to vote and turning the tide for women's presence in the labor force, too.
There is increased protection for women in the workplace, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act that forbids discrimination against pregnant women for any aspect of employment.
Single working woman Barbara Payne establishes Single Working Women's Day, seeing that there is no celebration or special day for that segment of the population.
Single Working Women's Day FAQs
What activities can be done on Women's Day?
For International Women’s Day — another special day honoring the female population of the world — you can get to know about women’s rights and how you can support them, volunteer with organizations working towards women empowerment, and speak out on issues that are important to you.
What is the theme of Women's Day 2021?
For 2021’s International Women’s Day, the theme chosen is ‘Choose To Challenge.’
How do you spend Women's Day?
Multiple ways to honor the women in your lives include spending time with them, gifting them something they have always wanted, and letting them know how much you value them.
How To Celebrate Single Working Women's Day
Give yourself a day off
If you are a single working woman, celebrate this day doing what you love most. Grab lunch at your favorite restaurant, take the day off to relax, or spend time with loved ones. Pamper yourself on this day, because you deserve it.
Celebrate all the single women in your life
We all know at least one working woman who is happily single. Today is your chance to show them you value their contributions. Find ways to celebrate their existence in ways you know they will love, whether it is gifting them a spa day or cooking them a special meal.
Help reduce the stigma
In some places and cultures, being a working woman who is single is still not completely accepted. Identify opportunities with organizations working to reduce this stigma, and volunteer your talents.
5 Facts About Working Women
Many employed women are single
The number of employed single women is more than half, at least 54.3%, of the total number of women in the U.S. workforce.
Women and privately owned businesses
Around 36.3% of the privately-owned businesses in the U.S. are owned by women.
Women, degrees, and subsequent employment
Research clearly shows that while women equal men in professional schools, they are less likely to reach higher positions in their chosen professions.
Single women were paid lower wages
Women entering the workforce before World War II were mostly single, and thus, it was assumed that because they did not have to provide for families, they could be paid a lower wage.
Female workers are a good thing
A study proves that by increasing women's participation in the U.S. labor market (as compared to men), we can increase our GDP by 5%.
Why We Love Single Working Women's Day
It recognizes single women’s contributions
By celebrating one of the only days specially created for the single working woman, we bring a little more recognition to their role in our workforce.
It raises awareness
The more this day gains a following, the more corporations and organizations will be encouraged to take up the mantle of providing equal access and sustainable work for single women. Laws can be set in place and a precedent can be set to better serve the single women in our organizations.
It honors every single woman
With every bit of awareness we spread about this day, we celebrate the achievements of the single working women we know. As the nation acknowledges their contributions, we are better equipped to handle this workforce, and ultimately, are stronger for it.
Single Working Women's Day dates