THE REBIRTH OF FEMINISM
– FEMINIST MOVEMENT –
There is a popular belief that the feminist movement, which became very popular and powerful in the early 1970’s, caused women to be dissatisfied with their traditional roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers. These women then began to find more satisfying work outside the home.
This, however, is not an accurate picture of the connection between working women and the feminist movement. Although feminism, or women’s liberation, has been an important factor in the changes which have occurred in the role of women since 1970, it did not begin these changes. There are two primary causes for the increase in the number of American women who work outside the home.
First, between the end of World War II and the early 1960’s, the population of the country was growing rapidly, and this growth created a need for more teachers, more medical assistants and nurses, more social workers, more secretaries, and more store assistants. Therefore, a large number of jobs became available in service industries.
These types of occupations had two important features in common: (1) they were jobs which were already traditionally held by women, and (2) in comparison with jobs which were traditionally held by men, they were poorly paid. They were, therefore, jobs that did not usually attract men. The availability of new jobs that men did not want, however, is not by itself an adequate explanation for the rise in the number of working women.
It does not answer the question of why women wanted to work. The second cause of the increase in the number of working women is the economic pressures which forced married women, especially young married women, to look for work outside the home. In the 1960’s, people in the U.S. began to expect a higher standard of living; they wanted the expensive consumer goods that U.S. industry was producing.
However, often the husband’s earnings did not permit the family to buy the new kitchen appliances, the color television, the new clothes, the furniture, and the second automobile which seemed so necessary. It became necessary for wives to increase the family’s income, and so women began to take the service jobs that were becoming available. It is clear, therefore, that the increase in the number of working women began before the feminist movement was reborn in the late 1960’s.
In fact, many experts argue that the increase created the modern feminist movement. Working women were the cause, not the result, of women’s liberation. According to these experts, economic conditions and the experiences of these working women were the main factors in the development of the feminist movement in the 1970’s.
A. Mark the best choice.
1. Line 9, ‘it’ refers to . .
a) an important factor b) the role of women c) an accurate picture d) feminism
2. Line 24, ‘It’ refers to _
a) the availability of jobs in service industries
b) the availability of new jobs that men did not want
c) the rise in the number of working women
d) an adequate explanation .
Women wanted to work outside the home because .
a) housework did not satisfy them
b) they wanted a better standard of living
c) the new household appliances gave them a lot of free time
d) finding a new job was very easy
What is the connection between the feminist movement and the increase in the number of working women in the1960’s?
a) These two developments have no connection.
b) The feminist movement made women unhappy with their traditional roles as wives and mothers. As a result, more women took employment outside the home.
c) There was a rapid increase in the number of working women, and this increase led to the reappearance of feminism.
d) The rising cost of living caused many men to force their wives to think more seriously about careers.