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How far did the position of women change from the end of World War II to the end of the 1960's?

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Introduction

How far did the position of women change from the end of World War II to the end of the 1960's? Since time immemorial, women have been considered as the 'weaker', domesticated sex, most memorably so in Victorian Times. Women of the Victorian era were idealized as the helpmate of man, the keeper of the home, and the "weaker sex." Heroines in popular fiction were expected to be frail and virtuous. For while the Victorian era was a time of national pride and belief in British superiority, it was also an age best-remembered for its emphasis on a strict code of morality, unequally applied to men and women. The term Victorian has come to refer to any person or group with a narrow, uncompromising sense of right and wrong. Women were not only discriminated against by the moral code, but they were also discriminated against by the legal code of the day. Until the 1880s married women were unable to hold property in their own name; and the wages of rural workers would go directly to the husband, even if he failed to provide anything for his family. ...read more.

Middle

Although they received more wages and rights and were generally discriminated against substantially less, they still had fewer rights and lower wages than most men. At the end of World War II, the wages which had risen fell back from two-thirds of that of men to just 53%.Much of the equality gained during the war gave way to the more traditional roles for men and women. As men returned to their jobs in factories, women were forced to return to their previous stereotyped 'women's occupations'. However, some women held on to their jobs, and steadily women workers increased. In 1950, they made up 28.8% of the workforce, but by 1960 they made up almost half of the workforce. Women and society in general started to accept that women in 'modern' society needed to go and work to bring income for the family and gadgets such as TVs and cars into the house. Many women therefore felt oppressed as 95% of company managers were men, 88% of technical workers were men, women workers earned only 50-60% of wages of men for the same work, and that they could still be dismissed when married. ...read more.

Conclusion

They organised demonstrations in the streets and held court cases. Other, more radical groups held 'female consciousness' programs, telling other women that men and women were equal and deserved to be treated without discrimination. Some lesbian radicals argued that men were actually useless. Bra burnings took place as well, as bras were regarded as a symbol of male domination. Also, radical women crowned a sheep Miss World, claiming that the contest treated women like objects. Although these types of demonstrations increased their profile and raised consciousness (the media loved them) many critics felt that the protests were not taken seriously. What was achieved? One quick look at the table below tells us a lot of what changed. Women in 1970 still had almost the same employment pattern as in 1950. However, it was at this time that the roots of change were planted, and by 1980 the whole structure changed considerably. Even in 1970, women were more conscious of their rights. They enforced laws for equal pay and ended employment discrimination. Increasingly, more and more women are pursuing careers and the future for women looks bright. Arka Pal 10 E ...read more.

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