Generational perspectives on the changing role of women : women of the 1950s speak out

Thumbnail Image
Neufeld, Valerie
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The transformed role expectations of women between the 1940's to the 1970's held a great deal of significance in affecting women's lives. During this time, expectations of women changed. The image of the "happy homemaker" with aspirations based on the virtues of femininity was negated and a movement towards an image of women with careers, who were also partners and mothers emerged. The question this project examined was the impact this change in socially prescribed behaviour for women may have had on those women who became homemakers after the new expectations of women emerged and evolved. Grounded Theory, a theory supportive to the canons of feminist research methodology was used. Data was gathered through nine interviews with women who were homemakers in the 1950's and 1960's and who continue to be such. Data analysis resulted in the identification of the process by which these individuals patterned their lives. The attitudes of the dominant society surrounding them were highlighted as well. Four major components were identified: 1. Knowledge is power; power is knowledge, 2. Ideas are maintained in a social context, 3.Knowledge is conceived subjectively, but is perceived as objective, and 4. The marginalization of contrary perspectives. These four components provided an explanation as to the circumstances in which these women made their life choices as well as how and why they held onto these convictions, despite the changing social expectations surrounding them.