Gender Roles Of Women 1920-1945

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The United States, during the years 1920-1945, was not merely divided by race, religion, and social class, but also, it was divided by “racially gendered roles and expectations.” During this time, there were many fluctuations in gender related views. At one point, women were gaining a small taste of “independence” in the 1920’s, but hidden gender discrimination quickly masked their independence during the time of the Great Depression and World War II. An excerpt from Modern Woman: The Lost Sex, written by Farnham and Ferdinand Lundberg in 1947, perfectly depicts the inequitable gender roles placed on women, during this period, in comparison to men. No matter how much support for equality the women received (e.g. National Woman Suffrage …show more content…
The armed forces took about 16 million men, which forced the defense industry to look elsewhere for workers: women, African Americans, Mexican Americans and poor whites. At first, women were deemed unsuitable for industrial jobs, but the employment shortages changed their minds. As depicted in the movie The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter, women were needed to fill in the work that the men were doing before they were sent off to war. It was a time when women were given the opportunity to disprove the traditional norm that women only belonged at home. The number of women in the workplace increased by 57 percent, but only 16 percent worked in defense plants and only 4.4 percent had “skilled” jobs. In the movie, all women were represented as necessities for the well-being of America. However, they were portrayed as only having the desire to work during the time their husbands were away when in actuality they were happy to have been given the opportunity to work compared to previous years. Yet even through their hard work, women were not respected outside of the workplace. Women worked harder than they had ever done before, yet people accused them of neglecting their children as they went to work in the defense factories. Unfortunately once the war ended, women were laid off from their jobs as if they were unimportant in such a …show more content…
The authors felt women needed to decide between having a professional career or being a mother and wife. Therefore, this excerpt encompasses the gender divide and sexist ideas of America that persisted even after World War II. Over time, employed women became more common as more job opportunities emerged. However, being an employed woman was considered detrimental to themselves and their family. The impression was that women needed to choose between a career or a family because they could not combine “home and child care and an outside activity… When these two spheres [were] combined it [was] inevitable that one or the other [became] of secondary concern.” The authors reckoned this idea was evident during World War II when women struggled to support themselves and their family. Many believed they were unable to keep their family together when they continuously went to work. It was as if juggling both work and home was considered an impossible task for women, no matter how hard they tried. In addition, many thought that the desire for a woman to pursue a career made her develop aggressiveness, thereby causing her to deny her femininity and, instead, embrace her masculine tendencies. Such masculinity was believed to have formed a divide within her home and within her relationships with others because it was causing her to forget her motherly

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