, Newburyport, MA


May 2, 2014

Women and equal pay

To the editor:

As a woman who grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the journey of equal pay has been amazing. So many changes have been made in how women are treated in only 60 years. When I was a girl, the only jobs women were trained for after WWII were secretarial positions, teaching positions, grocery check-out clerks, telephone operators, nurses and daycare providers.

Women who worked were expected to be a superwoman, go to work for eight hours a day (if your husband would let you), come home have dinner on the table by 6, make sure the kids did their homework, wash the dishes (by hand), make sure the kids were bathed and in bed, make sure the lunches were set for Dad, the kids and you for the next day and don’t forget the laundry. Housecleaning and grocery shopping would wait until Saturday.

Women were trained to do everything alone. Their husband had a hard day at the office, so they couldn’t be expected to help out. Women back then did not expect to be paid what their husband was paid because their job was not as important.

However, in the ‘70s and ‘80s it seemed to change. Young women were being encouraged to follow their dreams. If they wanted to be a doctor, architect or physicist, the door was open. In many instances, they still had to do most of the above-mentioned chores, but men were starting to help out. Dads actually would help with homework or bathing of the little ones. They even would help cook. It became more of a shared responsibility, although I still am not sure how many women have relinquished the laundry chore to the men (it never worked well in my house after my favorite sweater was reduced to a toddler size).

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