What was life really like for women in the 1950’s?

Look closely at the photo. It’s a picture taken of my parents in the 1950’s. My dad is clearer and bolder, my mom is fuzzy and faded. It’s amazing how that depicts life for women in the 1950’s & 1960’s.

Women were expected to get married and have children, so college educations were saved for “men”.

Bank accounts were in the men’s names. It was illegal for a woman to have her own bank account. Her own business. Her own home. The majority of opportunities evolved around men. Women were subservient to their husbands or fathers.

If you didn’t get married – well, there had to definitely be something wrong with you! After all, any man was better than no man, right?

Oh, women could get jobs. My mom says that the options were waitress, secretary, nurse, teacher, or cook. That was about it!

The women in my family were a little different – very entrepreneurial. During World War I, one of my great aunts rented out some of the bedrooms in her home aka a boarding house. She didn’t like to do housework, so she rented a room to a woman in exchange for doing all the cleaning. She didn’t like to cook, so she rented a room out to a woman who did the cooking. What did my Aunt Maude do all day? She sat on the front porch swing sipping sweet tea and being a southern lady of leisure.

Another relative, my Great Aunt Vi was a model. She married a great man who later became a very wealthy businessman. My aunt gave speeches at corporate events as the “wife” of the company president, not as a business woman.

I remember when my mom got her driver’s license – there were still many moms who didn’t have their license! And when dad got her a car, she was still in the minority! But for years her business interests and entrepreneur spirit were stifled. Even with the women’s lib movement of the 60’s, women still had a long way to go! The men weren’t nearly as excited about the changes! We truly have come a long way, baby!

Today our lives are so crazy because of all the opportunities and possibilities available to each and every one of us. We have days when we are so stressed and overwhelmed that we think, “Wow – they had it made!” We wish for a simpler time based on TV depictions of life that isn’t accurate.

Think about “Leave It To Beaver”… can you remember any episode where June told Ward, “Hey, can you fix dinner tonight? I’ve got to get my newsletter done…” ? Nope, me either! Not to mention meeting our spouse or significant other at the door in heels, full makeup and hair, and a dress when he comes home from work? LOL

We are so blessed by all the women who came before us and fought for changes so we have the freedom to raise our families while running a business out of our home. Is it chaotic and crazy some of the time? Absolutely! But would you really have it any other way?