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Women in the 1940s and 1950s…possibly forgotten?

September 22, 2010 in 1940s-1950s, Economic history, Social history

When thinking about influential women in the United States and Kentucky history we can go back the 20s when women were fighting for the right to vote. We also look at the 60s where the major feminist wave took over and women were fighting to be seen as equal competitors with men. So it leaves us with the question what about the 40s and 50s? What were women doing then that would be influential to our society today? When looking back at the way women were portrayed in movies such as “Pleasantville” and television during that time they were still seen as the caregivers and taking care of the home while the husband goes off to work to provide for his family. Many women during this time were actually working in factories, underpaid and unappreciated.

The working-class woman during this time was earning substantially less money than a man doing the same job. These women in a way set a groundwork for the generations to come and the struggle for equality in the work place. These women were protesting for equal wages while getting laid off, beaten and scrutinized while doing so. They formend unions to fight for equality, if these acts were to not have happened during the 40’s and 50’s than who’s to say women wouldn’t still be trying to fight for equality in the workplace and other places.

The struggles that these women went through is something that our generation and generations to come will never have to experience. Although the right to vote was granted for these women there was still struggle to find equality. The most inequality was found in the West and the South for women during this time. The South of course being traditional and not wanting women to go to work because that was a man’s job. It almost seems like the men during this time were scared that the lines between masculinity and feminity would become blurred and they were scared for women to start becoming their own person and having an identity. There was a need for social reform during this time. Although the 20’s gets all the attention for women gaining the right to vote and the 60’s gets attention for the feminist movement, women today would not enjoy the advantages they get if it weren’t for the 1940s and 1950s. These times truly set the groundwork for the feminist movement of the 60s and the equal work place we enjoy today.

http://www.cluw.org/docpages/WorkingClassWomenandUnions.htm
This website gave helpful information and a guide as to how the 1940s and 50s for women went about.

3 responses to Women in the 1940s and 1950s…possibly forgotten?

  1. I think you make an excellent point that women were kind of forgotten in the 1940’s and 50’s. Another important thing women did during that time was work in factories like you said. Many men went off to war in the 40’s and 50’s in Europe and in Korea. This left an important responsibility for women to fill the roles of the man by going to work everyday in the factories and providing for their families.

  2. I agree with the bigbluedaddy. Women were held accountable for fulfilling what our society calls a “man’s job” in order to keep our country running during WWII and the Korean War in the 50’s. If not for these women building war machines while also fighting their own battle for equality during this time, the USA could be in a much different situation today.

  3. Your website is helpful to my thesis. Thank you for your information.

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