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Women's History

Hello, my name is Jenna Comizio. I live in Montgomery, New York and I am a feshman at Valley Central High School. For my Global Studies class we are doing History Day projects. My group has picked the topic of the work force in Democratic Europe after the Second World War. We are to study the work of women, men, and children at that time. We haven't been so lucky in finding information, so if you have any information that we can use it will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Sincerely, Jenna

Thanks for your note to Feminist.com--and for thinking of us for help with your History Day project. I'm not too familiar with the work situation in Europe post WWII, but I consulted one of the books that I have (A Century of Women by Sheila Rowbotham - available at the Feminist.com Bookstore) and here's what I found:

"Firms had been forced to adapt to women's situation in the home by the demand for labour and the declining numbers of unmarried women available for work. As more married women were going out to work, there was a marked shift in the age composition of women workers...In 1931 half the women in the workforce were under 25 by 1951..only a third of them were....Attitudes to women's employment when children were young varied regionally. A 1959 study on shift work in Yorkshire, an area with a long tradition of women working, found that women with pre-school children were in favour of it... A survey of 253 Aberdeen women who had their first baby between 1950-1953 showed that 35% were working five years later. The wives of unskilled and semi-skilled men were most likely to be employed--money was the main factor. But many women also liked to work because of the company.....Problems with part-time work were that it tended to be low-paid and those working less than 30 hours a week weren't entitled to benefits. Women's pay in relation to men's declined over the decade....Women were employed in the distribution and light industry, clerical and administrative sector, nurses and midwives...."

That's a start. I also suggest that you look at biographies of Simone de Beauvoir and other famous women who lived during this time. Information about their personal lives will undoubtably uncover more information about the general situation for women.

Good luck to you and your team mates.


Amy

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