Role of Women
Polls document rather clearly that attitudes toward women's role in society have been undergoing quite substantial changes toward acceptance of nontraditional roles. They also demonstrate that these changes are broadly based: they have occurred among men as well as among women, and often to much the same degree.
Long range data are presented in Tables 11.1 and 11.2 (see also Smith, 1976). In part, at least, these questions deal with an issue that may be less an issue of feminism than a relic of the depression when there was a strong feeling that, because jobs were limited, women with husbands who had jobs should not work. This notion survived World War II when working women were strongly encouraged to go back to the home and to give up their jobs to returning soldiers. At any rate, through 1945 little support was generated for the notion that women with a working husband should themselves work. Men were found less likely to support the notion than women according to the question in Table 11.1, but no more so according to 11.2. By 1969, before the current feminist movement really took flight, the notion had become far more popular among both men and women, and it continued to gain support at least through 1985. Since 1969 attitudes on this issue have not differed between men and women.
Tables 11.3-11.9 cover the 1970s and 1980s, a period in which the role of women has been of substantial discussion. In all cases attitudes of both men and of women have clearly moved in a feminist direction.1 Increasingly, Americans have come to believe that working mothers can establish warm and beneficial relations with their children (11.3, 11.5) and____________________