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Author Topic: Women in Society  (Read 1489 times)

* The Narrator

    (05/12/2012 at 17:19)
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Era Guide: 1950s

"A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

At Home

Despite having gained the right to vote back in 1928, many women were still seen in as housewives and mothers first, and as working individuals second. Most married women with children focused most of their time and effort into raising their children and keeping the household running. Daughters were taught from a young age now to cook, bake, do household chores, and learnt how to keep a home.

How does this play out? Times are changing, but not that quickly. There continues to be an emphasis on homemaking magic for many women, though many witches will find they have increasing opportunities to branch out. An inherent gender bias may also be present throughout threads e.g. your boyfriend asks you to med his Quidditch uniform. There is a large variance in expectations of women depending on socioeconomic class and upbringing, but general attitudes haven't shifted much over the last twenty years. Many people still expect women to move straight from their father's house to their husband's.

At School

All students in 1937 were required to complete a mandatory seven years at a Wizarding Accredited Institution. At the end of seven years (and the successful completion of N.E.W.Ts or the equivalent), students of both genders were considered properly educated. However, higher education was predominantly aimed towards men, and most women who pursued further education enrolled in finishing schools instead. These schools encouraged domestic and household management skills.

How does this play out? All students are required to attend school for seven years before graduating. However, courses vary depending on the institution (more conservative schools, for example, are more traditional); there may be a bias towards women in areas such as the Hospital Wing, and a bias against them in other areas e.g. Quidditch. All students are permitted to take all classes at Hogwarts, but the views of individual professors may vary.

At Work

Despite a continued emphasis on the role of the housewife, women had stepped up to fill the jobs left by men during World War II, which meant that by 1950 an increasing number of women were employed full-time in higher-level jobs than before. Whereas before, women's jobs had been limited to the likes of secretaries, factory workers, seamstresses, nurses, and teachers, now women could train to hold better positions.

However, women in the workplace still had far fewer rights than men; their contracts could be terminated suddenly and for any reason, and equal pay was still a thing of legend. Some of the more traditional members of society looked down upon working women, and they often faced criticism from male family members and colleagues.

How does this play out? Women can apply to many of the same positions as men in our institutions (St. Mungo's & the Ministry of Magic). Rather than working in inferior positions, they can apply to be Healers, Aurors, lawyers, etc. However, they may experience difficulty rising to the highest-level government jobs, and will likely experience some form of gender bias at work. They will also most likely be paid less than their male counterparts.

At Play

Most leisure time in the 1950s was spent at home: reading, listening to the radio, watching television, playing board games, knitting, and needlework were some of the most common hobbies. Children often played with each other outdoors. This was also the decade of jive and rock'n'roll. During the war, women had experienced more freedom than they had previously been used to, and after the war they strove to keep it this way.

How does this play out? Equal rights don't always mean identical activities -- more traditional professors may give preferences to boys in active sports (e.g. duelling and Quidditch) and may expect girls to pursue more 'appropriate' interests (e.g. volunteering in the Hospital Wing). However, the boundary between 'male' and 'female' interests has been blurred during the 1940s; the divide between the two genders has begun to diminish, at least in terms of leisure.

Rules Regarding Sexism

This site does not and will never encourage sexist behavior out of character. That said, we are writing in an era where many such attitudes still abound, especially in the Muggle world. World War II (which only ended recently, in 1945) allowed many women much more freedom (e.g. freedom to work) than they had previously had, but men also felt alienated when they returned from the war. The 1950s was a period that paved the way to securing many more women's rights, and to roleplay without acknowledging such a rich background would be a shame.

Your male (or female!) characters are allowed to dislike female (or male!) characters for sexist reasons and you are welcome to play this out. However, we ask that you keep the site guidelines in mind (see here for more) while writing. Please also remember that sexist behaviour out of character (e.g. in MC or OOC threads) will not be tolerated.
« Last Edit: 19/02/2018 at 20:38 by Calypso Ross »