This film is part of Free

White Collar Girls

This forward-looking film from 1948 champions America’s working women and examines the traditions and prejudices they faced in a witty look at a changing society.

Documentary 1948 17 mins


From ambitious graduates to successful career women, this film illustrates female achievement in politics, law, business and fashion in the America of 1948. Mixing real life examples with some witty recreations, the film shows the prejudices and obstacles that still faced ambitious young women - despite the fact that by 1948 one in four of America’s 60 million workers was female.

During the war American women had proved that they could do work traditionally associated with men just as well as the men did it themselves. When the war ended it was generally expected that women would revert to their traditional roles as mothers and homemakers. This progressive film provides a neat distillation of the dilemma facing many young, ambitious American women, who had the qualifications and desire to succeed in their chosen careers but had to counter the objections of patronising employers and sceptical husbands. Although considering traditionally feminine careers like fashion and retail (trainees at Macy’s) the film also gives examples of female success in law, politics and academia.