The Challenge of Sex Equality

Old Values Revisited or a New Culture?
  • William H. Chafe


As America moves toward a new century, few developments appear more significant for the future of our society than the changes that have occurred in the distribution of sex roles over the past 40 years. In many areas the lives of women have been virtually transformed since World War II. In 1940 it was a mark of opprobrium for married middle-class mothers to work. Today more than half of such women are in the labor force. In 1940 participation of women in law and medicine was almost unheard of. Today professional schools in both areas are increasingly populated by women students. In 1940 feminism was a word of suspicion that occasioned laughter, if not scorn. Today politicians and media commentators make a point—on the surface at least—of paying homage to the idea of equal rights.


College Woman Public Opinion Poll Woman Student Collective Vision Female Labor Market Participation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • William H. Chafe
    • 1
  1. 1.Oral History ProgramDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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