Download American Women Since 1945 by Rochelle Gatlin PDF

By Rochelle Gatlin

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2 Such attitudes served to reinforce limited employment opportunities and to sanction lower pay for women. Despite their increasing labour force participation, women remained marginal and secondary workers. They were paid less than men even when they did the same work. Generally women did not work with men, but clustered in occupations dominated numerically by their own sex. 'Women's work' carried less prestige and lower pay than maledominated occupations. At the workplace, there seemed little reason to question traditional sex roles.

Social factors, rather than voluntary personal choice, were responsible for young women's disinclination to view education as a means of preparing themselves for a lifetime of paid employment. Most teenage girls took it for granted that their future lives would be centred chiefly, if not exclusively, around homemaking responsibilities. The vocational guidance and counselling they received in high schools reinforced the conventional view of women's abilities. Bonnie Halascsak, the first woman security guard at US Steel, remembers being told by a guidance counsellor that she 'was very mechanical, very high in math ....

Docile and resigned women, in turn, make the most cooperative and least challenging welfare recipients. The welfare system has served another function which has sometimes contradicted the mother-in-the-home ideal. It was set up to ensure a supply of cheap labour to employers, and has done this by refusing aid to those who might be potential workers. 'Potentiality' has been determined in a racist fashion. Instead of creating a comprehensive welfare system after the Second World War, the US trimmed its inadequate one.

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