Women in the Work Force- 1960s
The 1960s were a time of social and political identification for American women. Despite the victory of voting rights, women still experienced discrimination in daily life. With the current millenium drawing to a close, women today still express concern of unequal treatment. It is important to glance backwards in history and remember the struggles that our mothers and grandmothers experienced. Thanks to the women of the past, women of the present are able to participate in politics and receive equal pay for equal jobs. The struggle continues, but we conquer more discrimination every year.
It has always been a popular misconception that women are the weaker sex.1 This idea leads to the opinion that women can not possibly perform the same job requirements as men. Why should a woman seek further education when she cannot handle a job physically and psychologically in the male work force? A woman who does decide to work out of the home could not expect to earn as much as her male counterpart since she can not do the job nearly as well. History paints the picture of women staying home as homemakers where they belong. We see the ideal woman as June Cleaver from the TV sitcom Leave it to Beaver. A feminist author Betty Friedan wrote a best-selling book arguing that magazines, advertisements, educators, and social scientists portray women as happy as housewives.2The Feminine Mystique explained this portrayal of the trapped women into a life of raising children, taking care of the home, and giving no chance labor outside the home.
Despite the expectation of women as homemakers, women broke free. They wanted to take more active roles in politics, society, and the work force. One arena of support came for black American civil rights. By helping with the civil rights attempt, women actually helped their own cause: "But throughout the sixties, it was the civil-rights campaign of black Americans that set the pace for the redefinition of the women’s rights".3 With black women like Rosa Parks refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man, women were showing that they too could help a cause. Still despite the number of women taking a stand in civil rights fights, very few of these women became famous for their efforts: "When thinking about the most famous civil rights activists of the 1960s the number of famous male participants outnumbers the comparatively minute number of famous female participants".4 Once again women’s efforts were forgotten since they were always seen as less effective and authoritative than the men involved in the movements.
In the 1960s women were being recruited into the labor force in large numbers making education a necessity. As economic growth continued to rise, there were not enough men to fill all the job positions. Women were expected to stay in the kitchen but needed in the work force. The 1960s saw an increase of 19.5% in the labor force.5 The greatest increase in employment was seen...