A Women’s Peace Dividend: Demobilization and Working Class Women in Chicago, 1945–1953

TitleA Women’s Peace Dividend: Demobilization and Working Class Women in Chicago, 1945–1953
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMcEnaney, Laura
EditorHagemann, Karen, and Sonya Michel
Book TitleGender and the Long Postwar: The United States and the Two Germanys, 1945-1989
Pagination73 - 94
PublisherJohns Hopkins University Press; Woodrow Wilson Center Press
CityBaltimore; Washington, DC
Abstract

This book chapter in the 2014 edited volume Gender and the Long Postwar: The United States and the Two Germanys, 1945-1989 examines the postwar demobilization policy in the United States. The chapter reveals that longstanding racial and ethnic as well as class cleavages, temporarily papered over during the Depression and war years, re-emerged as the war came to an end, at a time when most Americans believed that their sacrifices had earned them a share of the long-deferred “good life.” In contrast to the usual narrative of comfortable suburbanization and prolific reproduction, it offers a story, or rather, multiple stories, of women struggling, individually and together, against gender and racial discrimination, to find decent dwellings, keep jobs without access to child care, and budget for household expenses as prices rose. What distinguished the postwar period from earlier times of hardship, such as the Depression, was the widely shared assumption that government should take responsibility for ensuring social and economic equity.

URLhttps://www.wilsoncenter.org/book/gender-and-the-long-postwar-the-united-states-and-the-two-germanys-1945-1989
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