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Women Suffrage - Research Paper Example

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Women once had few life options beyond isolation in the domestic sphere, however, the Great Depression and its implications, the 19th amendment and the influx of women in fields of importance, such as education, military and public offices, presented significant new opportunities for women in society…
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Women Suffrage
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"Women Suffrage"

Download file to see previous pages This change was triggered by the alarming changes subsequent to the Great Depression. The Great Depression led to a fundamental change in how economies worked and challenged classical economic theories and their real life application. The increasing role of women was further enhanced by the implementation of the 19th amendment which led to greater importance of women in all fronts, leading, in turn, to increased involvement in education, military, public offices, technology and electoral processes. Women and Great Depression: The role of women during the Great Depression was in contrast to traditional modes of economic contribution. The traditional modes of contribution and work anticipate monetary rewards and compensation to justify effort, but for a significant period of time, women continued to work without expecting monetary rewards. Traditional societies viewed working outside home and serving the home at two distinct, non-overlapping activities, wherein, traditionally, men are associated with earning money by working outside the house, whereas women are expected to stay at home. During the Great Depression, economics, idealists and esteemed philosophers thought that women had to come out of their shell and take up responsibility to help the country out of an economic calamity of such magnitude. Women in the 1930s, time of the depression, had employed husbands who provided enough to help the family live on. There were times, however, where they would struggle to survive given the lack of resources at their disposal. The decade saw a study decrease in median income across all fronts leading to increased stress and survivability issues. Women and men experienced the Great Depression in different ways. Men considered themselves as breadwinners, hence when they lost their jobs; they considered themselves failures because they couldn’t provide their families with sufficient resources. Women, on the other hand, saw their significance at home increase as they juggled home and work responsibilities and started to play a role as breadwinners. It is interesting to note that no women lost her ‘job’ of working at home whereas their husbands struggled to earn money and find new sources of work. Challenging economic conditions challenged traditional gender roles and women slowly but surely started to move out of their role of staying at home. Women who were widowed or divorced, or single women, struggled to keep themselves afloat. They were truly living on the margins. The Great Depression is often associated with the struggling, unemployed man, however, women who were in a similar state of economic disaster, found themselves working it out on the sidelines on their own and trying to survive. Women who sought employment were often scorned as transgressors guilty of taking jobs away from deserving men. Many theorists and opinion leaders shared this view and when Norman Cousins noted that the gainfully employed number of women equaled the national unemployment total in 1939, he suggested that women should be fired, as they are not supposed to be working anyway, and men should be hired instead. Women were made a convenient scapegoat for the Great Depression. This was despite the fact that women had little options as they had to do something to ensure survival. Furthermore, the social segregation entrenched during those days made it difficult for men to take up jobs performed by women in any case. While men were concentrated in jobs involving heavy machinery, mining, etc. women were working in domains such as nursing, cleaning and clerical jobs. It is also essential to note that men dominated fields such as heavy industry and manufacturing were the hardest hit by the depression whereas women ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Women Suffrage
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