Women's movement

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  • Publicado : 5 de mayo de 2011
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Nancy MacLean is the author of the book “The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000” in her work, as the title let us know, she attempts to portrait women’s movement by compiling several documents starting from the end of World War II to closer years such as 1990s and 2000. There are numerous perspectives about Women’s movement to the point that if we spend a time studying each person/organizationinvolved and its ideals, convergence/differences with other organizations we would have a lot of information. To make things easier one must pick certain idea of that varied and in some way kaleidoscopic movement to explain and that way be more precise. Given that, I chose four documents from MacLean’s book: Edith M. Stern’s Women Are Household Slaves (pp. 50-54), United Auto Workers’s A UnionProtects Its Women Members (pp. 54-57), Pat Mainardi’s The Politics of Housework (pp. 94-96) and Deidre Silverman’s Sexual Harassment Begins with Hiring Procedures (pp. 131-134). I consider they are related in matters of how women were depicted as the ones that had to take care of the house and how difficult was to get rid of that segregating/sexist attitude at the time they entered to the workingforce because they were pointed in MacLean’s words “as a surrogate wife to male coworkers.” (p. 18)
Most, if not all, of the documents which I picked are very related to each other and for example at the time I was thinking to explain something about segregation that existed at workplaces it is inevitable to add sexual harassment and the retrograde or maybe conservative is a more appropiate term tothe idea that women were supposed to take care of everything at home.
Written in 1949, Document #2 author, Edith M. Stern, profiles the occupations of a housewife like if it was a job and even names this character as the “Forgotten Worker”. Socially, at that time the role of the housewife was a very common and acceptable thing, not that today is not like that anymore but more and more women lookfor better education and job opportunities than getting married first. An image I have is that women were raised by the society to be good wives and manage all the aspects of a home. Stern lists some of the things a good wife did “...is a complex of housekeeping, household management, housework and childcare.” (p. 51) Among other observations she does are the conditions in which these forgottenworkers could work without even complaining. I guess that for a woman of that time there was no use to whine about things like that because that was a typical kind of stuff.
Though there is nothing easy about doing all those kind of “socially imposed women-tasks” many men thought that was nothing they could not do. For instance, Pat Mainardi in 1970 wrote “The Politics of Housework” where she andher husband shared housework. In her document, the idea her husband had about domestic duties changed radically from the actual experience of doing them. Why women don’t complain is explained in her own words “Probably too many years of seeing television women in ecstasy over their waxed floors or breaking down over their dirty shirt collars.” (p. 17) I agree with what she is saying and get herpoint: is there any use to complain about things that anyway you have to do? I guess the answer is no, you just start working on them.
On document #3, in 1955, at a United Auto Workers convention there was a discussion of some issues regarding if women should work or not. The delegates expressed their feelings, thoughts and concern from topics about “abandoning” the home to receive paycheck tohow much they were getting paid. One subject in particular kept my attention because at a time one of the delegates named “Delegate Hill” explains she rejects the idea of a working housewife with the argument of who else is going to be responsible of the children at home of becoming outlawers if there is no wife to prevent that? (p. 56) Clearly showing that the role of raising the children, from...
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