Women at Work: Towards an Inclusive Narrative of the Rise of the Regulatory State

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This Article seeks to enrich what we know about the establishment of the regulatory state. It focuses on women's contribution to the rise of the American regulatory apparatus. By looking at historical sources and archival materials, this Article illustrates how women reformers were central to the development of the regulatory state and how they were guided by an ideology that called for government regulation to provide decent standards of living. Through the example of the establishment of the Women's Bureau in the U.S. Department of Labor, the Article expands our understanding of the purposes of administrative bodies, and it articulates the ideology of Standards of Decency as central to administrative regulation. It concludes by suggesting that this history should inform how we think about the administrative regulatory state and its obligations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-209
Number of pages41
JournalHarvard Journal of Law & Gender
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • UNITED States
  • UNITED States. Women's Bureau
  • WOMEN'S employment
  • WOMEN social reformers
  • COST of living


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