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Womens Rights in the 1930s. A decade of setbacks - Research Paper Example

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The Report of the Inter-American Commission of Women Women’s Rights in America (1979) states that the 19th amendment to the constitution was ratified by the necessary number of states and was passed on 26th August 1920…
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Womens Rights in the 1930s. A decade of setbacks
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Download file to see previous pages It provides that “The rights of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex”. Thus began the 1920s on an optimistic note. Women’s suffrage was seen as a new start for equal rights for women and the increase of mainstreaming of women’s voices in policy decisions and strategies. The Great Depression and its impact However, the crash of the stock market in 1929 brought the economy into a tailspin and short-circuited women’s rights’ progress. During The Great Depression of the 1930s employment rates declined and women came to be perceived as the ones to forsake their claim on employment to give way to men. According to the 1930 census almost eleven million women, or 24.3 percent of all women in the country, were gainfully employed. Three out of every ten of these working women were in domestic or personal service Three-quarters of the professional women were schoolteachers or nurses. Women in the 1930s in fact entered the workforce at a rate twice that of men—primarily because employers were willing to hire them at reduced wages. For the most part women worked long hours for low wages in the 1930s. More than half of all employed women worked for more than fifty hours a week, and more than one-fifth worked for more than fifty-five hours (Cabell Phillips, 1969). So while large numbers of women worked during the Depression, their status actually decreased (Moran, M.1989). The American Federation of Labor was established for organized, skilled, craft workers, and most women still held unskilled factory jobs thus they were excluded from unionization. The American Federation of Labor did not see the need to include women and neither did the majority of the population. Instead of employment and benefits to male and female alike, women were shuttled back into the home, to be protected and sentimentalized over once again. Altered perception In the depression years of the 1930s women were portrayed in the home. Peggy Preston writes in her paper Advertising's Portrayal of Women in the Workplace from the 1930s to the 1950s ,”To reinforce the concern of society to get women out of the workplace, advertisements portrayed women at home, in the kitchen or with the children. Advertisements portraying men, on the other hand, placed men in the workplace. "He is working to improve your model," declares a 1935 Time magazine advertisement which pictures a man working upon an engine for General Motors which has not yet been perfected. In April of 1930” Some women did come to prominence in the 1930s. Frances Perkins was named the first woman cabinet member in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tenure but she herself asserted that married women ought not to shirk their responsibilities to their families by seeking outside employment. Josephine McGowan (1931) commented “In ten years, we have seen the political potentialities of women voters recognized by farseeing politicians who have rather grudgingly in many instances taken them into the councils of their parties, making them vice-chair of this or that local or state national committee; for the time has not yet arrived when men will voluntarily entrust to women the actual dispensation of party authority or patronage”. Decrease in Status So while large numbers of women worked, eleven million in all (Cabell Phillips, 1969), during the Depression, their status actually decreased. During the 1930s, the percentage of master's degrees and doctorates earned by women dropped significantly. While female university education increased substantially, those who attended college found the formerly high quality comprehensive education ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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