Helene Gans

A firm believer in the importance of government regulations in protecting citizens, Helene Gans advocated for minimum wage laws, consumer protection, and relief for victims of WWII. Gans graduated from the University of Chicago in 1914 and moved to New York two years later, where she married and raised a family. In the 1930s, she engaged in efforts to combat unemployment and the rising cost of living during the Great Depression. She wrote a paper for the National Women’s Trade Union League in 1932, “Cut-Rate Wages,” which helped shape the first minimum wage law enacted by the New York State legislature. She also wrote about unemployment for the League of Women Voters. From 1938–1941 she served as executive secretary of the Consumers’ League of New York, lobbying for and supporting legislation to better regulate food, drugs, and cosmetics sold in the city. During WWII, she was the eastern regional director of the women’s division of the US Treasury’s war bond drive, and from 1945–1946 she served as director of the women’s division of the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, which offered aid to refugees and displaced persons after WWII.

Topics: Labor Rights

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Date of Birth

Chicago, IL
United States

Date of Death
Activist, Writer, Administrator

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Helene Gans ." (Viewed on August 12, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/gans-helene>.


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