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Women had been invaluable at doing men's work during the Second World War, and indeed for some years afterwards because demobilisation took time after the war ended in 1945. Neither was it at quick process to repatriate prisoners of war.
When the men returned to what was known as 'civvy street', however, they wanted their jobs back, and the Government, understandably, backed them in this.
So began a programme of insidious propaganda that I honestly hadn't appreciated until I started comparing photographs from the 1940s and 1950s. Then I remembered the idiom that seemed to be everywhere in my later childhood and teens:
"A woman's place is in the home."
Just compare the two images below to see how society changed its ideals for women's roles between the early 1940s and afterwards when the propaganda was for women to give up paid work.
The first, from early 1940s wartime was clearly intended to encourage women into men's work. The second from the 1950s glorifies a woman's love of cooking in her own kitchen and accentuates her feminism.
There is no shortage on the internet of other pictures of women from the 1950s. They almost all show the women apparently enraptured at being at home doing housework, cooking or sewing - essentially being housewives and house proud.
Fashion changed too, towards more feminine sex appeal. Skirts became flared with nipped in waists and bras were shaped to give an upturned and pointed shape to breasts. The fashion was called the 'New Look' and my mother remarked how stupid it was to use all that extra fabric in times of such austerity. The priority, though, was to free up the jobs for the returning menfolk.