Once upon a time women were expected to stay at home and keep the house clean, the kids neat and tidy and have a hot meal ready for prince charming when he returned from a hard days work. Women who lost their husbands through death or divorce were poor unfortunates that were to be pitied and a woman who did not marry was an old maid.
When men came home from war the women who had filled almost every job in the country were told to go back home and remember to be good little women again so their men could get back their jobs.
The problem was that some of them no longer had husbands because they had been killed in action. These women could not just go home. They had to fight for a job in order to survive and to support their children. The jobs they were allowed to hold once the men were back were the most menial and low paid positions. Even if they managed to get a "man's" job, they were paid a fraction of what their male counterpart received because "he has a family to support" The fact she also was supporting a family without benefit of a wife at home to do the house work and chore was not relevant to that way of thinking. After all, she was expected to remarry and settle back down soon and was therefore not going to be a valued, long term employee.
In the 70's that attitude toward women was often exhibited. Women's Lib had managed to change laws of discrimination but had become a joke as media forces gave their attention "burning bra extremists" and too many women trying to prove they were not just equal too but superior to men.
As the lesbian faction was emboldened to come out of the closet The Feminine Mystique, coined the phrase "lavender menace" which made the mainstream homophobic woman want to distance herself from the movement.
They had made great strides in the enactment of reforms and laws that helped all women but they were an embarrassment and the movement settled back into obscurity. But it did not die. The young women of today are much less likely to be discriminated against and are even less likely to let any attempt to submit to a male hierarchy. Young men of today are less apt to expect a submissive wife but a partner.
From here it is up to my children and grand children to take up the banners of equality. Backlashes have always followed periods of rebellion and some of this has come from women themselves. The argument that a stay at home mother is a better mother is still heard today by those who have the luxury of choice
It was in that period that I escaped an abusive husband and found myself on the dole. Desperate to get on with life and to regain my dignity I sought work. I was told during one interview that as a mother, they were afraid I would not be dependable. That interviewer also told me that my real job was to find my children a new father who could set a good example for them. Needless to say, I did not get the job.
When I did land a job I worked harder than any man in the place just to prove myself. In spite of never missing a day, producing at least half again what the men did, and taking courses on my own time to improve myself, the men were promoted and given raises while I was given more and more responsibilities with no titles or wages to go with the job. I persevered. During this time, I went to the boss and was again told that the men were considered to be long term employees and that their status as such was justification for the pay discrepancies and their promotions even when they had less experience and poorer performance ratings.
When I left that job, the boss actually asked me to stay but I knew by then that to get ahead I had to move on. **GRIN** I do know he had to hire three people to replace me and that that was a lot more expensive than the little pay increase he offered me.
But now, many of us women still work even though we are married. We no longer have the option of staying home to greet the man of the house. Today's economy make it necessary for many of us to continue working outside the home because it take two incomes to maintain the simple basics of house and hearth.
Of course there are some who have the option because their spouse makes above average wages. But that is not the majority of people here. With so many women in the job force now wages have not kept pace with inflation. Male and female have to work outside the house. Men are having to help with the children, laundry and cooking. Both men and women come home tired and there is no one there to fetch slippers, spend hours preparing that favorite meal, or make anyone the King or Queen of the castle.
The kids often come home from school to a babysitter or an empty house. Many are ending up in trouble with the law or are just drifting through life with no real supervision.
So I have some mixed feelings about this "liberation" of women. Yes we should be treated as equals. But we also have been forced to give up the chance to truly raise our children. We are made to feel like failures if anything goes wrong. After all, we are still responsible for home and family. We should be able to "bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, never ever let you forget your a man..Yes, I am woman" Yeah right! Superwoman is just a comic people!
I am woman hear me roar in number too big to explore...
and I'm tired , sick, poor and sore, cause I'm a woman....