Serving each other: Formal and informal support systems of early twentieth century waitresses
Wage-earning women of the early twentieth century challenged the traditional model of womanhood. Many women seeking jobs as wage-laborers found employment opportunities by serving the public as waitresses. To survive urban living conditions, these women allied themselves with each other and middle class women to combat a negative perception of themselves, and to form support networks for living and childcare.
Furthermore, waitresses became a vocal force in labor history; they sought to found unions to meet their professional needs. In March, 1900, waitresses began organizing exclusively female unions. Unionizing goals reflected their condition as women in a society that was openly hostile to women wage earners. This study will utilize an engendered social-cultural perspective model to understand why and how waitresses established formal and informal systems of sisterhood and solidarity.