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Women's Bureau

Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210


DIRECTORLaurie Todd-Smith
Chief of StaffJillian Rogers

Deputy Director of OperationsJoan Harrigan-Farrelly

The Women's Bureau develops policies and standards and conducts inquiries to safeguard the interests of working women, to advocate for their equality and the economic security of their families, and to promote quality work environments.


On June 5, 1920, President Woodrow Wilson signed Public Law 66–259, which established "a bureau to be known as the Women's Bureau" in the Department of Labor. The Director of the Women's Bureau (WB) may not be a man, but is required by law to be a woman whom the President appoints by the advice and with the consent of the Senate. The U.S. Congress assigned the following duty to the WB: "to formulate standards and policies which shall promote the welfare of wage-earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment." The WB has "authority to investigate and report" to the Department of Labor ""upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of women in industry."


The Bureau identifies, researches, and analyzes topics that are relevant for working women; pioneers policies and programs to address those topics; and enhances public education and outreach efforts to raise awareness on key issues and developments affecting women in the workforce.

Sources of Information

Archived Records

The "Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States" indicates that WB records have been assigned to record group 086.

Centennial Anniversary

One of the Department of Labor's longest-serving agencies, the WB celebrates its centennial anniversary throughout the year 2020.

Contact Information

The WB has a toll-free phone number: 800-827-5335. Phone, 202-693-6710. Fax, 202-693-6725 | Email:

Data / Statistics

Current and historical statistics on a broad range of topics and subpopulations of women in the labor force are available online.

Federal Register

Significant documents and documents that the WB recently published in the Federal Register are listed under the Department of Labor.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The FOIA gives a right to access Federal Government records to any person. The FOIA is designed to make Government actions and operations more transparent. It applies to existing records and does not require an agency to create new records for compliance. The FOIA also does not require an agency to collect information that it does not have or to do research or analyze data to fulfill a request. Certain records, or parts of them, may be exempt from disclosure by the Act if one of nine exemptions shields their content.


The Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations grant expands pathways for women to enter all industries and assume leadership roles in them.

Re-Employment, Support, and Training for the Opioid Related Epidemic grants help women who have been affected by the opioid crisis to rejoin the workforce.


Before the outbreak of the First World War, 75% of all women who worked in manufacturing made apparel or its materials, food, or tobacco products. The war changed the U.S. economy and how women participated in it: their numbers in the industrial workforce increased and the range of occupations open to them expanded, even though women remained concentrated in clerical occupations, domestic and personal service, and factory work. The Second World War, accelerated technological advancements, and changes in social attitude have created a different reality today. To learn more about the ever changing employment situation of women in the U.S. workforce and the role that the WB has played in shaping it for the better, visit the "History: An Overview 1920–2020" web page.


The "Equal Pay and Pay Transparency Protections" map is interactive and displays information on Federal and State equal pay and pay transparency protections for workers.

The "Employment Protections for Workers Who Are Pregnant or Nursing" map is interactive and displays information on Federal and State employment protections against pregnancy discrimination, provisions for pregnancy accommodation, and workplace breastfeeding rights.


The "WB Updates Newsletter" is available online.

Press Releases

The Bureau posts press releases online.

Regional Offices

A complete listing of WB regional offices is available online.


The WB posts Federal resources for women on its website.

"Meeting in a Box" is a communication resource that allows the WB to share information about its current activities, while also providing messaging tools for the general public. This communications resource includes a presentation slide deck with notes, factsheet, and talking points. It offers tools for conducting a meeting, incorporating information into speeches, or incorporating messages as part of a meeting presentation. A tool may be used singly as a stand-alone piece, or in combination, depending on the audience and setting.

The Sources of Information were updated 10–2020.