Maria Demchanko was made famous due to her pledge to harvest four times the average yield of sugar beet. This was not a traditional gender role for women, most peasant women in pre-revolutionary Russia worked on the farms and looked after the family, middle and upper class women certainly did no manual labour but with Stalin’s abolition of the class system this changed. However there were still inequalities between women and men, women were still expected to provide unpaid childcare, run the home, produce children and educate them. Even the women who did work were paid only up to 65 percent of what men were being paid for the same job. By 1945 80 percent of collective farm workers were women, providing a more traditional role for women in manual labour.
The role of women before war: Upper-class women did not work before the war and few worked after it. Working-class women, on the other hand, had to work to help keep their families. They worked before the war mostly in factories and in domestic services as maids. As many as 11% of all women worked as domestic servants before the war. The war gave them the chance to work in a greater variety of jobs but most of these new jobs were lost at the end of the war.
In the 1950’s, there were wives who were suffering from depression. Women sacrificed a lot for their families during this time (MailOnline). Some women did not get to further their education because they had children in their early twenties. These women were unable to go out and participate in activities outside of the home because they had to be the “perfect housewife” and manage the home (Lamb). It was like they were confined to the vicinity of their home.
The changes were apparent as a result of evacuation, rationing, women workers and the Beveridge Report. In the 1930’s, before the Second World War, most women were expected to stay at home while their husbands worked to look after the children. However, when war broke out and the men had to go and fight, the women had to do the men’s previous jobs. During the Second World War the number of women workers increased by 50% to almost 7 million. Some joined the Land Army and others worked in the factories producing weapons.
Some women “felt they were needed at home to raise families, crops for food and to fill the jobs that the men had vacated in order to serve their country.”(Suite101) Women’s lives on the home front during World War II were a significant part of the war effort for all participants and had a major impact on the outcome of the war. Once the men went off to war and left their jobs, the women that were single had a great advantage because job opportunities were everywhere. In the other hand married women had a tough time, especially if they had children. Hundreds of women worked in machine shops, welding shops, manufacturing plants, and also worked in war industries to make equipment for the war. New industries, naval, and army bases were being built during the home front.
The Discrimination against Women Identities Throughout history, female were considered lesser beings and nothing more than the property of their husband. In the short story, Blank Spaces by Joanna Cockerline, the acknowledgment of female being inferior creatures in comparison to men is highlighted. Struggle against misfortunes, Elizabeth is oppressed by the social inequality due to the fact that she is a girl. In Blank Spaces, the social inequality implied by the narrative severely impacts Elizabeth’s career hierarchy, character traits, and life experiences. Like many feminist writer, Cockerline focuses her emphasis on how social norm discriminate women by inhibit their job opportunities.
However, there is more statistics indicating that families are in decline. First, the “traditional” family, which used to be defined as, the husband being the breadwinner and the wife being a full-time “homemaker”, has declined from 66 percent to 29 percent in 1972-2007 (Benokraitis, n.d, 3). This could be because of the changing dynamics of a family. For example, the rates of single parenthood are rising and each single parent has to be the breadwinner and “homemaker” of the family. Also, some adults do not end up getting married, almost 19 million Americans (Benokraitis, n.d., 3).
Since most of the men were off fighting, the women were needed to stay home and run things so that the economy would not completely fall apart. Before the war, women mostly depended on men for financial support. But with so many men gone to battle and then dying, plenty of women had to go work to support themselves. They helped provide food and other supplies to the military, served as telephone operators, and worked as journalists. Some women went to work in factories while others worked as trolley car drivers.
Many of these women are not only forced to support themselves, but they are also now forced to be the sole caretakers of the children from the marriage. As divorce rates continue to rise, combined with today’s economy, many of these women are forced to take care of these children on their own as their ex-husbands are not able to, or do not want to pay child support. “The United States has one of the highest percentages of children living in poverty among, because the majority of them are living in mother-headed households” (DiNitto and McNeece). Although the children are both the mother’s and father’s responsibility, many times the mothers are left alone as the fathers figure out ways to avoid their financial responsibilities. As such, many of these formerly unskilled women are now forced to learn a trade and join the workforce.
The women did domestic work, taking care of children, or spinning and weaving. The Young men often played sports and females were forbidden to watch. Girls didn’t really do much physical activity. Inequality/roles - Respectable wives roles were to keep pretty, stay home, and to bear ( take care of) the children. If a wife wanted to get a divorce she would loose everything including her children, and would have to return home to their male figure.