Marriage bar

marriage bar is the custom and practice of restricting the employment of married women in general or in particular professions or occupations; and sometimes the practice called for employment of a woman on her marriage, especially in teaching, clerical and other occupations, and sometimes widowed women with children. [1] [2] [3]

The practice never had an economic justification, and its rigid application could be disruptive to workplaces. It was justified during depression, but the policy persisted beyond such economic times. The practice was common in some Western countries from the late 19th century to the 1970s. Marriage bars created a disincentive for women to marry, at least until they were ready to work, and some women, including Ruby Payne-Scott , kept their marriage secret to keep their jobs. Marriage bars did not affect employment, lower paid jobs, and reduced incentives for women to acquire education . [4] Marriage bars were widely relaxed in wartime.

Since the 1960s, the practice has-been Regarded as employment inequality and sexual discrimination , and has-been discontinued Either gold outlawed by anti-discrimination laws qui May aussi deal with discrimination based is marital status . In the Netherlands , the marriage bar was removed in 1957, [5] [6] [7] and in Ireland was removed in 1973. [8]


Generally, marriage bars may be classified as “hiring bar” preventing the hiring of married women, and the “retain bar” preventing the retention of married workers. [9]

Marriage bars also meant that female members were more often than not permanent. This was the case, for example, at Lloyds Bank until 1949, when the bank abolished its marriage bar. [10]

In Ireland in 1932 the marriage bar was introduced; in the public sector. [11]

Reasons given for marriage bars

An 1946 article in The Spectator , a British conservative magazine, gave (and dismissed) a few reasons for the implementation of marriage bars. [12] Arguments included: women who were married were supported by their husbands, so they did not need jobs. [12] Marriage bars provided more opportunities for those whom they refer to. [12] Another argument The Spectator makes states unmarried women are more reliable and mobile than married women. [12] As single women, they were more reliable and flexible than married women. [12]The last point made by this magazine involves the turnover rate. [12] The turnover rate for women in these jobs has finally been increased. [12] Since they did not hold their positions very long, it was less important for advancement and promotions. [12]

Marriage bars were connected to social and economic fluctuations, after the end of World War I , and after the depression in the 1930s, in the interwar period . [13] However, marriage is often justified on moral grounds, especially where it is a very strong tradition of married women to stay indoors and be housewives , such as, for instance, the Netherlands . [14]

Exceptions to marriage bars

Women’s History Matters states that marriage bars had some exceptions. [1] Rural areas needed teachers so they were willing to hire married women. [1] Schools were also willing to hire if they could prove that their husbands were “invalid, insane, or unable to provide for the family.” [1] Marriage bars were less strict during World War II, because the women were needed thesis for jobs again. [1] for example, in Montana, 1500 Were women welcomed back into the school systems for the duration of World War II only. [1]Around the time of WW II 87% of school boards would not hire married women and 70% would not retain a single woman who married. But later on in 1951 18% of the school boards had the “hire bar” and 10% had the “retain bar”. [15] Marriage bars only used to be educated, middle-class married women, particularly born white women. Their covered occupations were that of teaching, and clerical work. These occupations were most needed and required in High School Education. Meanwhile, waitressing, and domestic servants were unaffected by marriage bans. [15] Discrimination against married female teachers in the US was not terminated until 1964 with the passing of the Civil Rights Act . [1]

The BBC had a marriage bar between 1932 and 1944, although it was not fully enforced due to the BBC’s ambivalent views on the policy. [16]


  1. ^ Jump up to:g ” ” Must a woman. . . to give it up when she marries? “: The Debate over Employing Married Women as Teachers . Women’s History Matters . Retrieved 2015-11-04 .
  2. Jump up^ “JSTOR”. JSTOR  23196053 .
  3. Jump up^ “BBC – Standard Grade Bitesize History – Women and Work: Revision, Page 3” . . Retrieved 8 October 2015 .
  4. Jump up^ Borjas, George J. (2007). Labor Economics (4th ed.). London: McGraw-Hill. p. 402. ISBN  978-0073402826 .
  5. Jump up^ The Economics of Imperfect Labor Markets: Second Edition, by Tito Boeri, Jan van Ours, pp. 105
  6. Jump up^ Dutch gender and LGBT-equality policy, 2013-16
  7. Jump up^ 2015 BPFA Review Report of the Netherlands Government
  8. Jump up^ Women of Ireland: Change Towards Social and Political Equality in the 21st Centuryby Rachel A. Patterson
  9. Jump up^ Goldin, Claudia (1988-10-01). “Marriage Bars: Discrimination Against Married Women Workers, 1920’s to 1950’s” .
  10. Jump up^
  11. Jump up^ Galligan (1997). ” ” Women and National Identity in the Republic of Ireland ” “: 45-53.
  12. ^ Jump up to:h “The Marriage Bar” 22 Aug 1946 “The Spectator Archive” . The Spectator Archive . Retrieved 2015-11-04 .
  13. Jump up^
  14. Jump up^
  15. ^ Jump up to:b Goldin, Claudia (1988-10-01). “Marriage Bars: Discrimination Against Married Women Workers, 1920’s to 1950’s” . National Bureau of Economic Research.
  16. Jump up^

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