Document 6: "Report of the Employment Committee," from the Annual Report of 1885, unprocessed collection of YWCA of Greater Baltimore, 128 W. Franklin Street, Annual Reports, 1883-1902.
This document details some the types of jobs that working class women in Baltimore held. The YWCA tended to focus on skilled and semi-skilled workers. The Employment Committee did express concern for the welfare of the unskilled laborer. However, as noted in this document, many middle-class women had little idea on how best to help these "poor, virtuous, struggling, incompetent" women. In fact, working class women often rebelled against the strict demands of the Young Women's Christian Association.
REPORT OF THE EMPLOYMENT COMMITTEE.
"The work of this committee is perhaps the most delicate, and difficult, and, next to our purely spiritual work, the most important that falls within the compass of our Association. We are by no means discouraged with the results of the past year's work.
Number of applicants for positions................ 325 Number of applications from employers....... 337 Number of positions filled............................... 175
Among those for whom we have procured situations, are teachers, nursery-governesses, saleswomen, book-keepers, copyists, house-keepers, dressmakers, seamstresses, companions, nurses for invalids and for young children. Our office is open to the employer and the employee, and we seek to deserve the confidence of the community by making in every case, a careful examination of references from late employers, so that every name on our books shall be that of a reliable woman.
Of course, the problem that meets us here as elsewhere in our work, is, the unskilled laborer. What shall be done with her? Poor, virtuous, struggling, incompetent! Some we must help for they are Christ's; others we cannot abandon for humanity's sake. Just here we need wisdom, means, and a just discrimination."
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