Time Machine Tuesday: Women and Children’s Labor Laws

In 1970 the Colorado State Legislature appointed a committee to study labor laws for women and children.  This continued the Progressive Era reforms of several decades before by bringing these laws up-to-date with changing attitudes about discrimination of women in the workplace and employment opportunities for youth:  “…The Committee attempted to remove overly protective restrictions from the statutes which hamper youth employment opportunities.  At the same time, the Committee retained present Colorado educational requirements and the emphasis on safety training.”  Further, “the Committee recommends a repeal of certain provisions of the statutes which tend to discriminate against the employment of women.”  These provisions included a law that prohibited women from working in mines as well as special accommodations such as providing special seating for female employees.  The child labor laws discussed by the committee included relaxing laws on how many hours an employee under age 18 could work, which limited the employment of some 17-year-old high school graduates.  The committee also addresses laws regarding the employment of 14- and 15-year-olds.  The committee’s final report is available digitally from our library.  For more resources on this topic, search our library’s web catalog.