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Gender Roles in the 1930s
Transcript of Gender Roles in the 1930s
Feminism in the 1930's by Grace, Cal, Henry, and Danny WOMEN MEN THE AVERAGE WOMAN Although there was much progress in the 1920's towards women's rights (specifically, the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote in 1920), it slid backwards in the 1930's. The Great Depression shifted women's focus. Instead of focusing on rights, women were focused on keeping their families together while husbands searched desperately for jobs.
The average role of women was in the household. Typically, a woman whose husband had lost his job, was expert in the art of getting by. Stretching stark essentials to fit the family's needs were what women worked on, keeping the family afloat while the men worked at maintaining his current job or searching for employment.
Women's rights took a backseat while women struggled to save their families while plunged into economic ruin. THE AVERAGE MAN While the average woman worked on household dynamics and keeping the family afloat, the man was out looking for a job, or struggling to keep his current job. As a result, the average male came home at the end of the day exhausted and mentally drained.
Because the average ideal of men during that time period was as the "breadwinners" of the house, many men suffered from self-esteem issues and insecurities, since women were holding a larger role. If they couldn't provide for their families, it fell to the women to keep the family going. Many men also were forced to work in manual labor if it was the only job that they could find. Men were desperate for work and itching to provide for their families again. What if you had to complete college to be equal to somebody else, who had only completed elementary school? Segregation wasn't just racial in the 1930's.
Men and women held very different roles in the
household, and were perceived in very different ways. There were approximately 1,000 discriminatory laws passed in the United States in the 1930's that prevented
women from having the same rights as men.
The ratio of men to women working during the 1930's
depended on the industry. In the electrical industry, the ratio was about 1 woman to every 4 men. In the automobile industry, the ratio was about 1 woman to every 10 men.
There weren't really any specific rules on which jobs that women could hold, but over three-fourths of working women were schoolteachers or nurses. Many worked in domestic or personal service. STATISTICS GENDER ROLES IN MEDIA Media played a huge role in gender roles. One advertisement in particular has become a cultural icon of the United States and served as reinforcement for women's rights.
Rosie the Riveter was a recruitment advertisement appealing to women in the 1930's. Rosie called women to work, and the image of the poster has been used in many campaigns and calls-to-action today. RESTRICTIONS ON WOMENS' RIGHTS
AND HOW THE GOVERNMENT
INFLUENCED SUFFRAGE Women had significantly less rights than men during the 1930's. Some universities and colleges refused to allow in women. Married women had no property rights. Women were denied anesthesia during childbirth during the 1930's, based on religious beliefs. It was not until 1948 that this law changed and women could choose for themselves. Women also worked longer hours than men for less money, and in poorer conditions. RACIAL DIFFERENCES IN GENDER ROLES While racial segregation also occurred at the same time, African American women were not treated very differently than white women, although it was more difficult for them to get jobs. Employment agencies went to the South and offered jobs/transportation to black women willing to work as maids and servants up North.
Like white women, there were some black women working as nurses, schoolteachers, and in other domestic/personal jobs. WHY IT MATTERS TODAY
Today, women fight for rights. There are many feminist movements defending gender equality. In the 1930s, many women lapsed in their defense of their rights because they were supporting their families, but today, many women fight for equality and run the household. Without powerful media icons like Rosie the Riveter or the history and laws dredged up during the 1930's, equality today might have been very different. WHY DO YOU THINK GENDER ROLES IN THE 1930's MATTERS?