Since it’s Labor Day, and many Americans are enjoying a day off (myself included. At the time of writing this I was still in pajamas… like a boss…) have you ever wondered why we have certain workers’ rights we just take for granted? Why we have a minimum wage at all, a 40 hour standard full-time work week, and overtime pay? Well, it’s because of the Fair Labor Standards Act passed in 1938 under Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins. Frances Perkins was the first female cabinet member. Perkins held her position for twelve years (1933-1945), longer than any other Secretary of Labor. She fought tirelessly to eliminate child labor and, as chair for President Roosevelt’s Committee on Economic Security, she helped draft what ultimately became the Social Security Act of 1935. What’s more is she helped New York State be ahead of the curve before heading to Washington: as a New York Department of Labor commissioner in the late 1920s, she reduced work weeks, established a minimum wage and unemployment insurance, and increased production facility investigations. I included Frances Perkins in my latest portrait series, Courageous Individual, because she improved the quality of life for so many and because it took immense bravery for a woman to accept and hold a high office at the time.