War History Commission General Files
Throughout much of Ohio's history, women have not had the same rights that men have had. Even after women gained the right to vote with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, women were still not treated equally when it came to economic, legal, and social rights. Although laws were beginning to change, many people's attitudes were not changing. One example of the ongoing debate about women's rights was the Dunn Bill. Pat Dunn, a state representative from Stark County, introduced the Dunn Bill to the Ohio legislature in 1939. Also known as House Bill 26, the Dunn Bill would have prohibited the state government from employing married women. Many Ohioans believed that, if married women worked outside of their homes, their husbands and children would suffer. They argued that, if married women worked, it could lead to the destruction of the home and traditional family values.
The Dunn Bill had significant support within the state legislature, but a number of women's organizations in Ohio opposed it. Members of Ohio branches of the National Women's Party, the League of Women Voters, and the Ohio Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs testified against the Dunn Bill. Ultimately, the bill was not passed into law. Two years later, Dunn once again introduced a version of the bill to the Ohio House of Representatives, but the need for wartime labor during World War II meant that there was even less support for his ideas than before.