Saturday, February 7, 2009

Women's Work

In this picture from the sixties you see a couple of my aunts in the center. One was a school teacher and one was a secretary or admin in a bank trust department. I had a couple of other aunts who were teachers, another secretary and one who was a non-com in the Navy. My mother finished her education to become a teacher after I went to school. By the time I graduated from college a few more things were open to women. I got a job as a computer programmer. I worked that job for two and a a half years and was never promoted. Still I didn't have to take a job as a teacher (fact is I washed out of the requisite ed. courses to get a certificate) and while I visited the Navy recruiter, a job offer for this computer job came along before I had to resort to that and I got free training there. The year was 1970. I bet my Aunt Mary (looking at the camera on the right above) was still wearing gloves to work. We both worked downtown and we'd meet for lunch sometimes. I was required to wear a dress or suit with skirt to work.

So why am I telling you this? What are the lurking unintended consequences? Well, in the depression of 2008/2009 (and beyond?) a funny thing has happened as people were laid off. The majority of laid off employees are men and women's percentage in the work force was already increasing. They work in many more fields today but many are nurses, teachers, etc. A trend is occurring that could make the proportion of women in the work force greater than fifty percent. The NY Times wrote about this phenomena. Of course, since women are still paid less, generally, this is a way to slash payrolls I suppose.

More women than men in the work force! But, where a couple has only a working wife, will he do the dishes and shrub the shower?

History shows us that men won't take it easily, though. When they returned from WWII, they just booted the women out of factories and construction. This time maybe some will retrain as nurses and teachers.

No comments: