From Motherhood to Sex Roles: The Postwar Era, 1945–1970

  • Ann Taylor Allen


In the years that immediately followed World War II, the ideology of patriotic motherhood seemed to have reached its apogee. The trend toward young marriages and large families that was known as the “baby boom” affirmed life and hope after the death and despair of the war years. Not only did many women leave their wartime jobs for full-time motherhood, but new welfare-state policies, some of which fulfilled long-standing feminist demands, supported mothers, children, and families. Many commentators predicted the imminent demise of feminism. But the opposite occurred. Within a quarter of a century, a new women’s movement energized a vocal group among the younger generation. At the same time, the development of new contraceptive techniques and increases in women’s educational level and workforce participation seemed to usher in a new era in human history, when motherhood would become an option to be chosen rather than a destiny to be accepted.


Married Woman Feminist Movement Maternal Deprivation Unmarried Mother Maternal Role 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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