Introduction

Leaving China & the
Journey Across the
Pacific

Cultural Traditions

Women in Early
Chinatowns

Anti-Chinese Violence
& Women's Resistance

Chinese Women at
Work

Educational
Opportunities

Women in Cultural
Work

The Great Depression
and War

Conclusion

Additional Resources


 

 

CHINESE WOMEN AT WORK

Some Chinese American women took jobs outside Chinatown or lives in their employer's homes. This woman worked as a nanny.
Courtesy of Jean Pfaelzer

Chinese women in the United States in the late nineteenth century worked in laundries, shops, canneries, restaurants and in the fields, even as they continued their traditional roles of raising children and maintaining the home.

Chinese American women, including the wives of merchants, always worked inside and outside the home-- unpaid and paid. Merchants’ wives, attended by servants, represented less than one percent of the Chinese immigrant population.

Often from the day of their arrival in the United States, immigrant Chinese women worked from sun up to sun down, in laundries, cigar factories, restaurants, and later in shops, not for gold, but for copper pennies.