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Boston Women Race to the Altar (1938)

(This story was originally written and recorded for Retrocast #21, released on October 23, 2023.)

A front-page story in the April 25, 1938, edition of the Boston Globe revealed that single women who worked for Boston Edison—aka the Electric Company—were in a race to get married.

Under a new company directive, any female employee who got married after April 30, 1938, was required to submit their resignation to their supervisors within thirty days of their wedding day. In response to this policy, seventeen women opted to accelerate their wedding plans to secure their employment.

The rush to get married not only led to hurried weddings but also hastily organized bridal showers, bachelor parties, and other celebrations.

Meanwhile, fellow employees were reportedly going broke having to purchase so many wedding gifts in such a short period of time.

So, who would take the place of any woman who married April 30th?

Married men, of course. And in situations where no married men were available, a single woman could be hired to fill the position.

It wouldn’t be until 1972, with the passage of the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act, that it became illegal within the state to force women to resign from their jobs once they were married. This law prohibited employers from terminating or otherwise discriminating against female employees because they were pregnant, married, or planning to become pregnant.

A bride running for the altar.
AI generated image of a bride running for the altar. The flying shoes seem a bit out of place…
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