Cultural changes for women in postwar world

Topics: Feminism, Women's rights, Betty Friedan Pages: 5 (1839 words) Published: September 23, 2014

World History II 5th
8 May 2014
Cultural Changes for Women in the Postwar World
Women are powerful creatures and feminism in the post war world proves this. During the war women were given the jobs that were left by the men off at war. In the Soviet Union women were even fighting in the war. The war did not last forever and soon the men came back to work and the women were sent back to their previous domestic life styles. Many women were not happy about this. From the 1950's through the 1980's women wanted cultural changes and they got them. From the passing of laws to the formation of activist groups, women showed the world that they were a force to be reckoned with in the postwar world.

The 1950's are known as the "pinnacle of gender inequality" it was the period of time between what people call the waves of feminism. Once the men had returned home from war, they took back their previous jobs now filled by women. These women were sent home back to being mothers and house keepers. Some women were ok with this at first because the men returning from war also resulted in a baby boom. However when the baby boom ended in the late 1950's women wanted to return back to work. Women enjoyed the authority in the work place they liked feeling relied on. Even though some women were able to get jobs, they were never considered equal to men. Their pay was a lot lower than men, there was discrimination, and sexual harassment in the work place. At the same time magazines were using propaganda of domestic women to show the women were more powerful at home. These things led to the second wave of feminism and work toward women rights. Coincidentally the Civil Rights Movement was close to ending and so the women of the United States followed that by example in some ways. By the end of the 1950's science behind birth controls were starting and women were coming together to fight for their rights.

The 1960's brought many cultural changes for women in the United States. May 9th 1960 birth control was legalized, this allowed women to have more freedom, and not have to worry about unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. However abortion was still illegal. In Chicago an underground abortion clinic was opened called "Jane". The year 1963 a book was published by Betty Friedan called "Feminine Mystique" which some say is what kicked off the Women's Liberation Movement. The book discusses the depressions women face from constantly being viewed as less than men. Also in the same year the equal pay legislation was passed granting equal pay to women in jobs that men worked if they did the same job with same conditions. This was a major step considering at the beginning of the 1960's women were only making 60% of what mean were, however it wasn't until 2004 that women made 80% of what men did. In1966 Betty Friedan founded the National Organization for Women (NOW). Their goals were to make rights equal for women, the wanted no more sexual harassment, no more domestic violence and equality at home. NOW is still together today. In 1967 two more groups were founded, the New York Racial Women and the Redstockings. These two groups were radicalists and very fond of protesting.The New York Racial Women did a speak out about abortion in New York to finally say their views on abortion since only men were allowed to testify in the court room. The Redstockings most famously protested the Miss America Beauty Pageant because is was sexist. The 1960's brought more women to work, gave them more rights and gave them more support in the United States.

Across the sea in Europe the same sorts of things were happening. Men and women were returning to the lives they had before the war. 1950's brought families back together and helped them grow. The 50's weren't very eventful for Europe. However like the United Stated the Women's Liberation Movement started in the 1960's. Europe was a little slower than the U.S. They got their cause to fight for more towards the...
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