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A Long Road To Equality: Women In The Workforce

1747 words - 7 pages

“For most of history, anonymous was a woman –Virginia Wolf.” For women, the path to equality in the home and workforce has been a long hard fought battle that is still taking place as we speak. With every victory that has taken place, there have also been road blocks at every turn, many shed tears, resistance, and an unwavering belief felt by men, that women truly will never amount to anything other than a housewife. If the women from the start of this battle were to see the great strides taken place over the years and the place women are at now, they would stand in utter disbelief. It is with great thanks that we as women are able to flourish as individuals; letting our goals, dreams, aspirations, and intelligence take the forefront of our duties to society.
It is implied that since the dawn of time, women have been inferior to thy fellow man. It was not until the Age of Enlightenment, which began around 1650 in Europe, that the first ideas of women being as competent as men, lacking only education and not intelligence, began to circulate (Online MBA). As the end of the 18th Century neared, women were regulars in salons and academic debates, though schooling for women would come late down the road (Online MBA). Prior to the birth of the Industrial Revolution, women did not work. Those who did work were from lower class families and many of those were minorities. It was the primary idea that a women’s role was of that at the home; cooking sewing, cleaning, and caring for the children. There were many duties required of them around the house and their focus was to be the supportive wife who dutifully waited for the husband to come home after a long day at work.
The Industrial Revolution and WWII were the beginning of women in large numbers being introduced into the workforce. During the war, women were left to fill the positions left by their husbands, brothers, and sons. Women began working outside of their homes in places such as textile mills and garment shops (Gross).The War Manpower Commission, a Federal Agency created to increase the production of war materials, started recruiting women to help in the production that was vital to the war effort (National Archives). There were many areas throughout the nation that benefitted from the demand for war materials (National Archives). Mobile, Alabama seen a large impact from so many unemployed people swarming to work in the factories there, the ALCOA plant produced 34% of the nation’s aluminum, which was a necessity for the war (National Archives).
Many households were without the man’s paycheck which prompted many children to be put to work to make up for the lost income. The conditions in which the women had to work were horrendous. Most were working 12 plus hours in dangerous environments with little to no food and pay that was less than deserved. Women’s employment increased dramatically during the war which created a need for an agency whose main concern was women in the work industry (Paul)....

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