Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Representation of Women and Work

This image provides a look at the role of a woman in the workplace around the 1950s.

The woman in the image is a smiling character, obviously trying to sell the jobs as a happy environment. However, it portrays the domesticated role that many women would be used to in the home. Washing dishes, cleaning, cooking and being a housewife. The woman in the image looks satisfied with her role, but it is a mundane, boring work. It adopts the attitude of the time that that's probably all women could do.

After WWII, many women came out of the workforce, allowing their husbands to go back into work and the male role as the provider of the household, while the wife cared for the home and the children.

This image portrays the idea of why women work, a very old fashioned viewpoint but true to the time of the early 20th Century. It presents the view that a woman's main concern is her family and home life. Of course this is a fair point to make, if a woman has children, they should be their first priority. However, this does affect men too. Parents hold a great responsibility to care for their children.
This image does not tell us women need to work in order to support themselves or get ahead, it tells us she works in order to better her and her husbands standard of living or earn a little extra in order to help the husband. There is an increase throughout the 1900s of working women and an enormous increase over the past 60 years after the equal rights movement and the suffrage of women. If one in five or six married women worked in 1940 it has increased hugely, if now women make up around 50% of the workforce in the US. However, as we read in Nickel and Dimed, men and women have different roles and responsibilities in the workplace in many cases. Most women in low wage America hold jobs such as cleaners, waitresses and shop assistants, where many find male managers. There is still an unfairness in gender and the workplace.

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