The Second Wave feminist movement takes place in the aftermath of the post-war era — a time of ‘home dreams’ (Parr 1995, p. 4) — where the (white) middle-class nuclear family was idealized as the norm after years of war. While many women had gained some semblance of independence and economic freedom when taking over men’s jobs during the war, traditional gender roles were quickly re-established in 1945, when women were kicked ‘out of the work force and into the ranch house’ (Fraser 1997, p. 165). Consequently, the public sphere once again became constructed as intrinsically ‘masculine’, and the private sphere as ‘feminine’ (Macdonald 1995), re-establishing a patriarchal, gendered hierarchy. Despite women’s expulsion from the public sphere, it also became clear that society was changing. Many women who had been in the paid work force during the war effort were unhappy with their postwar eviction (Bryson 2003). They started to recognize that their positioning within the home had more to do with ideology than biology and began to question the division of spheres (de Beauvoir 1989; Friedan 1963). As women’s consciousnesses were raised, they began to organize and agitate for change, recognizing that biology was no longer a plausible justification for job segregation, pay differences and limited opportunities.
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