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Women in the 1950s. Essential Question: What was life like for suburban women in the 1950s?. WWII employment for women. Large demand for labor New job opportunities for women 30,000 served in the military.

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Presentation Transcript
Women in the 1950s

Essential Question: What was life like

for suburban women in the 1950s?

wwii employment for women
WWII employment for women
  • Large demand for labor
  • New job opportunities for women
  • 30,000 served in the military

Women’s Auxiliary Corps laboratory technician conducts an experiment, Fort Jackson State Hospital, 1944

Aircraft engine technician and senior supervisor, Naval Air Base, 1942

post wwii employment
Post-WWII employment
  • Replaced by veterans
  • Employment rates increased for women
  • Limited opp. for Af-Am women

A secretary and her boss, an industrial designer, New York City, 1950

social pressures
Social pressures
  • Early marriage
  • Childbearing
  • Stay-at-home motherhood
  • Nuclear family

Kennedy wedding, Jacqueline throwing the bouquet, 1953

the baby boom
The Baby Boom



media portrayals of gender
Media portrayals of gender
  • Ideal of domesticity
  • A woman’s role in the family
  • Flawless house

A photo of the Cleaver family from Leave it to Beaver, a popular TV show in the 1950s-60s

suburbia home of the happy housewife
Suburbia, home of the “happy housewife”
  • G.I. Bill
  • Mass-produced, affordable homes
  • Great Migration and “white flight”

Levittown track homes of the 1950s

household products marketed to women
Household products marketed to women

A 1950s ad for a cleaning product

A 1950s ad for an electric iron

Discussion Questions

Were housewives happy with their lives?

2) Were women in the 1950s just staying at home?

3) Documents A and B say women were staying at home; but Documents C and D say that women were politically involved and even working. Who should we believe?

4) Do you think African-American, Latina, Asian American, and women from other minority groups had similar experiences to those depicted in these documents? Why or why not?