1970 Women In The Workplace

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Societal changes that created greater opportunities for women in education also had an impact on the workplace. From a modest role early in the 20th century that essentially limited women to teaching, domestic work, and retail, further changes after World War II expanded job horizons for women in fields traditionally reserved for men. World War II was a principal reason for this change, as the nation’s war needs created a shortage of available working men, which made opportunities for women to assume factory jobs and other work typically done by men. While women often were not able to retain those jobs after the war ended, the experience created a precedent that women were capable of doing the same work as men. It also made many women recognize…show more content…
Women’s experience in the field of law is a good example: only 2.4 percent of lawyers were women in 1940, but by 1970 women as a percentage of all lawyers was 4.7 percent. Likewise, many women entered medicine, another field where they had been under represented. In 1940, only 4.4 percent of doctors were female, but by 1970 7.2 percent were women. In these professions and others, the opportunities for women to gain entry and succeed has only increased since the 1960s emphasis on feminism and the impact of economic and cultural change. Despite the historic expansion of women choosing to enter the workforce and go beyond the role of homemaker, they soon discovered that significant differences remained between the genders regarding important job and occupational issues. These differences often persisted despite the enactment of state and federal laws designed to close the gender gap and promote equal treatment in education and the workplace. Creation of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, passage by Congress of Title IX legislation mandating equal treatment of genders in education, as well as many other efforts, helped lessen but did not eliminate discrimination. For example, women found that the long-standing…show more content…
Much of this difference is the result of traditional sexism in certain fields, including construction, restaurant kitchens, the military and first responders, such as police and firemen. This has also been the case in STEM fields, where women have had a difficult time gaining equality. Women have not had female role models in the science fields and have not always seen a path forward to success in these areas. Even though women make up some 50% of the workforce, they only account for roughly 24% of STEM jobs, according to a US Department of Commerce study. The report cites as reasons for this discrepancy a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-friendly flexibility than in other areas. Still, despite continued barriers, there are also some hopeful signs. After decades of resisting efforts by women and their supporters to fully participate in the mission of the U.S. military, the Defense Department in early December announced it would open up all roles, including combat roles, to women. Critics of gender equality in the military – as in other predominantly male fields – have argued that women lacked the physical characteristics of strength and stamina necessary to succeed. They often argued that in fields such as the military or public safety, women’s supposed inferiority could endanger troops or civilians.
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