The U.S. holiday Labor Day—marked on the first Monday of September—was born out of the tumultuous 19th century American Labor movement. Industrialization led to many workers grinding through 12-hour days in unsafe conditions. Strikes and protests were common. At its founding in the 1880s, Labor Day was intended to be a “working man’s holiday.”
Or a working woman’s. In these photos from National Geographic’s archives, women around the world perform jobs as various as their lives—from working in a steel mill, to teaching students, to driving a hay-baling machine while breastfeeding.