“I don’t know whether to be glad or sad. I had made some good friends in the ATS. I returned home in February 1946 and took up my old job as a hairdresser – older and wiser.”
A recent BBC article highlighted the inequality of women after ww2. After such gallant service to ling and country these women were tossed aside. The female workforce was well below the prewar level. Arguments saying the war liberated women do not often take this into account. Sure in the long run women became empowered but it was not until 1970, with the equal pay act, that legislation and political change took place.
Women after the war were treated as if there jobs were just a war time necessary. Expected to move aside for the working men arriving back – even the trade unions still upheld a defence towards equal pay and for women’s place in the home.
By 1951 the number of working no wommen had returned to pre-war levels – it could be said that as much as the war liberated women from the home it’s end herald their return. Married women were not permitted to work.
But this has all changed right – the equal pay act and several more anti discriminatory laws have been passed since then. But have attitudes changed ? Can we really say this kind of sexism has disappeared?
In my view the issue has become more intellectual- that is to say the ladies of Dagenham may see in peace knowing there jobs are secure and of equal worth but scientists, engineers, mathematicians, PHD students when we think of these finely educated people our tendency is to image them as men. Only 8% of these jobs are held by women worldwide. Does that sound equal to you ?
Also up yours Tim Hunt