Women as factory workers

Manufacturing of cellulose, paper and mechanical pulp was mainly male domain, as were the physically heavy jobs of handling timber, maintenance and transport work and repairing machinery. Women worked mainly in paper processing and post-processing, such as packing. Factory cleaning was also a job for women. Women were also employed for seasonal work on company farms and in forest planting. At the end of the 1800s, the proportion of women of the country's factory labour force was a good 50 percent, but they only accounted for 18 percent of wood processing industry workers. In 1894, 12.5 percent of workers at Jämsänkoski pulp mill were women.

The salle at Hovilanhaara paper mill in 1915.A large proportion of female workers in the paper industry in the 1800s were young, unmarried women. The number of women with families grew in the 1900s, and women's position in factory work improved. Increasing numbers of women employees stayed in their jobs for long periods, and the average age of working women went up. In 1909, 21 percent of workers at Jämsänkoski factories were women. By 1926, they already accounted for a third of the work force, and ten years later 38 percent.

On the office side, lower clerks, secretaries and messengers were usually women. In product control, such as laboratory work, women employees became more common only after the wars. During the wars the proportion of women workers increased while the men were at the front, but once peace came, the jobs were restored to the men returning from war. Ten percent agreements were not offered to women workers. Although the average pay of men employed at United was one of the highest in the paper industry, the wage level of female paper workers was on average 10 percent lower than at other paper mills. Within the company, the best average hourly rates for women were paid at the Jämsänkoski processing section in the 1960s. The proportion of women of United staff was about 20 percent in the 1950s and 60s.

Married rule

The so-called Married Rule was in force to the end of the era of Juuso Walden, Honorary Mining Counsellor. Once married, the woman had to give up her job at United. The company view was that mother's place was at home and it was the man's duty to support the family. Particularly office workers' wives were thought to be better off participating in the various leisure activities in the factory community, and thus increasing general well-being in the locality. The one exception was the spouse of the Managing Director, Mrs Tellervo Walden, who was paid a salary as director and developer of company social services.

Jämsänkoski paper mill workers in 1937.The Married Rule was not fully unconditional, as according to a survey conducted in 1958, 296 or 30 percent of the company's women employees were married. Thus, a married woman could keep her job if she was the main breadwinner of the family or if her spouse was a known drunkard. At Kaipola the Married Rule was observed less stringently, as the new factory needed workers, and at times women were positively recruited from the village. For office staff, the Married Rule was unconditional also at Kaipola. Conversely, employing widows was a part of the company's social responsibility.