Secret womens business
In America, women were not only ideal tea room consumers, nearly all tea rooms were owned by women. It started small, with mostly middle class women opening up a room in their home or setting up tables in their garden and offering tea and light meals. This phenomenon wasn’t unique to the U.S.: British women served scones, cakes, and tea as a way to make extra money, too. Unlike many occupations, feeding people and presiding as hostesses were accepted ways for women to enter the workforce, since these tasks felt a lot like what they’d been doing all along, without pay.
Fantastic article on Jstor Daily.