During the Civil War (1861-65), when men went off to fight, women took their places in factories, stores, and low- level government office jobs.
After the war, although the surviving men took back their jobs, there was a huge growth in industry and in the total number of jobs.
In the factories women continued to work mostly in the clothing industry, but some also canned foods or made cigars.
For the first time women started working regularly in offices, doing typing, filing, and similar low-paid jobs. They also were hired as sales clerks, although they had to stand on their feet all day (there were no chairs or benches where they could sit down).
Another new career for women was nursing; it was women who developed the standards for this profession.
The first national women’s labor group was the Daughters of St. Crispin, organized in 1869 by women shoe stitchers in six states, from Massachusetts to California.