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Historical Overview


The traditional roles of women during the greater part of the 20th century were homemaker and mother.  However, many women who worked because of economic necessity or choice found jobs in public transportation.  During World War I and World War II, labor shortages on the home front gave women opportunities to be track workers and trolley operators, among other positions vacated by men who joined the military.  Although they were encouraged to leave their jobs after the wars to give work to returning service members, women have since entered the workforce to stay.

  1. BMT subway Ticket-booth Clerk, Betsy Gottlieb, circa 1910
  2. MetroCard High Production Encoding Machine (HPEM) Operator, late 1990s.
  3. Joan S. Kelly, Railroad Clerk, 1966
  4. Chemists in New York City Board of Transportation chemical laboratory, Brooklyn, (circa 1950s)
  5. Tower Operator, DeKalb Avenue Interlocking, (circa 1970s)
  6. Train Operator McAllister, March 20, 1973 (non-revenue service)
  7. Train Operator Julia McAllister (no relation), mid-1980s.  Ms. McAllister retired in 1996 after 27 years of service and was the first woman to operate trains in revenue service.

For more on Transit history in the New York region, visit the New York Transit Museum site.



Historical Overview photo
Historical photo


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