Attitudes towards the employment of women as expressed in The Times, 1919-28

Lewis, Jane E. (1974) Attitudes towards the employment of women as expressed in The Times, 1919-28. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

World War I was the first time that female labor had been used on a large scale. By 1918, 1,350,000 women had entered war industries, of whom not more than 150,000 could be accounted for by the normal growth in population. These figures signified a vast social and economic change, which, while its merits could not be questioned during the crisis, came under attack as soon as the war ended and the urge to return to 'normal' as soon as possible became apparent. -- In order to trace the pattern of attitudes towards the employment of women during the decade following the Great War, content analysis techniques were applied to all issues of The Times from 1919 to 1928. Attitudes were categorized as to type and further divided as to whether favorable or unfavorable towards the employment of women. Explanations for the fluctuations in attitudes over the decade were sought in sources other than The Times, and related to: -- 1. The current events of the period. -- 2. The character of the groups and individuals expressing the attitudes and the specific nature of their reactions: whether purely pragmatic or founded in traditional principles and prejudices. -- It was found that of those expressing unfavorable attitudes towards employment of women, 57% were male, and 43% female; while of those expressing favorable attitudes, 74% were female and 26% male. Those expressing unfavorable attitudes could be loosely categorized as members of the employing classes, who were at once anxious to return to the status quo extant prior to 1914 with regard to the employment of working-class women, and determined to prevent an increase of the employment of middle- and upper-class women in the professions. These reactions were based both on the fear of women deserting their traditional role, considered to be their natural one of wife and mother, and the more pragmatic desire to give jobs to unemployed men rather than women. Those expressing favorable attitudes to the employment of women were found to include a hard core of feminists, whose motivations were based firmly on the principle of equality between the sexes, but whose analysis of the problem and solutions to it varied to the extent of causing dissension within their own ranks. -- The problem of women's two roles in society, at home and at work was too complex for either set of attitudes, favorable or unfavorable, to dictate future trends. However, by analyzing the types of attitudes expressed and by whom and for what reason, the nature of the problem became more clearly delineated.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7498
Item ID: 7498
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 123-128.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1974
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Great Britain
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Times (London, England); Women--Employment--Great Britain; Women--History

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