University of North Carolina Press


This Grand Experiment is an eye-opening study which reveals the complicated the relationship between female civil servants and women engaged in the suffrage movement during the American Civil War. Ziparo reveals how female federal employees worked in critical jobs during the war but had to do so under "a veil of subordination" (page 3). In other words, female employees had to emphasize their dependence on men and downplay the value of their contributions to keeping the government running to secure and maintain these federal clerkships. As a result, very few of these female employees were engaged in the women's rights movement or considered themselves suffragists. But Ziparo suggests that the efforts of these women to secure these positions in the first place and then lobby for equal pay once they were employed reveals how they did attempt to expand the traditional social and economic roles that women were expected to adhere to in the 19th century.