The Nadir of British Feminism 1945–1959?
By 1956, however, this was more a defensive attempt to boost the morale of mothers who remained at home than a realistic effort at stemming the drift to work. In some ways a more characteristic expression of the mid-1950s was Alva Myrdal and Viola Klein’s cautiously argued book, Women’s Two Roles (1956), which suggested that paid employment and family responsibilities were compatible for women.
Will her children love her more if she is an efficient career woman who pops in and out of the house at intervals, knows a lot of stimulating people, and can talk about everything, except pleasant, trivial, day-to-day matters that are the breath of family life? … She is not cheating her children by staying at home. She is giving them the supreme gift — herself. Long after they have left home, they will be grateful to her.1
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