I took the survey and when the results came out this week, I “compared” them to the known occupations of my own female ancestors, almost all of which were not paid professions.
Because most of the census records for my female ancestors list their occupations as "Keeping house" or are simply blank, I relied heavily upon ancestors' recollections.
For example, one of my great-great grandmothers, Mary Emiline, was enumerated as "Keeping house" when in fact she was a wet nurse. Not that she didn't keep house as well!
Much like her mother before her, my maternal grandmother, Aristis, was “Keeping house.” For her, that meant running the family farm, complete with orchards of fruit trees, truck patches of vegetables and at least three hogs and dozens of chickens, for several years. Somehow (apparently by being the most organized person on the planet!) she also bore and raised eight children, cooked, canned, cleaned, sewed, embroidered pillowcases, ironed sheets, helped with homework, and played ball with her kids.
I don’t know.
I strongly believe Nana only slept two hours a night for 10 years while Granddaddy was off working wherever he was able to find work. But, I digress.
Keeping in mind you could have more than one answer, the survey results for the top five professions were:
domestic servant 33%
The bottom five were:
social worker 3%
beautician or hair stylist 4%
midwife and laundress tied at 5%
Only two of my 19 female ancestors had income earning occupations. The rest toiled to simply provide for their families.
According to the National Women's History Museum website, between 1880 and 1930(the Progressive Era) in the rural areas of the south and the west, "Forty-four percent of African American women were farm workers."
 Laura Decomb-DiPesa, “A History of Women in Industry,” 2007, National Women’s History Museum https://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/industry/5.htm: accessed 10 May 2016, p. 7.