Business and Professional
Women of Maryland

"Women Helping Women Succeed"

1940's &1950's


At the advent of World War II, BPW/USA developed a classification system for women with specialized skills critical to the effort and supported the formation of women's branches of the Armed Forces. While wage discrimination has existed in the U.S. since women and minorities first entered the paid workforce, its prevalence was not felt until the massive influx of women sought work during World War II. Immediately following the war, the Women's Pay Act of 1945 - the first ever legislation to require equal pay - was introduced in the U.S. Congress. It would take another 18 years before an equal pay bill would make it to the President's desk to be signed into law.


The national executive office relocated from New York to Washington, as BPW/USA became more active in legislative issues.

Business and Professional Women's (BPW) Foundation was incorporated in 1956, creating a branch to provide research, information, career development programs and scholarships to disadvantaged women, as well as workshops and other training opportunities.

The Marguerite Rawalt Resource Center opened, becoming a major library and resource on the history of women and women in the workplace.

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