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Federalism, Gender, & the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

Suzanne B. Mettler
Polity
Vol. 26, No. 4 (Summer, 1994), pp. 635-654
DOI: 10.2307/3235098
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3235098
Page Count: 20
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Federalism, Gender, & the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
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Abstract

The constitutional revolution of the New Deal produced the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the first national labor standards law in the United States. Yet, as this article shows, several occupational categories of women workers who needed the coverage were excluded from the legislation, creating a gender division in a seemingly gender-neutral law. Thus, while men were guaranteed new economic rights by the national government, many women remained under the often parochial and paternalistic authority of state governments. The result, the author concludes, was a new version of federalism that treated men and women workers as citizens of two distinct realms of government.

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