This book argues for the importance of age as a source of diversity and difference amongst women. It compares three generations of women’s accounts of a range of gender issues, including the domestic division of labour, equality, abortion and sexuality. It also compares their understandings of and orientations toward the feminist movement. Drawing on Karl Mannheim’s argument that an individual’s location in historical time shapes their social outlooks or world views, it is shown that women of different ages do not share the same gendered life courses due to differing cohort memberships. Consequently, women of different ages interpret, define and give meaning to gender issues and to feminism in varied and contrasting ways. A key concern of the book is to show that findings from qualitative studies are an important supplement to surveys of cohort differences in women’s gender attitudes, in that they are more revealing of the complex ways cohort influences the construction of gender issues, including the very language used to do so.
’…a fascinating analysis of changing attitudes to the domestic division of labour, social issues and feminism during the twentieth century …This study is unique and provides considerable insight into the everyday lives of families across the generations. It deserves to be widely read and enjoyed by academics and students alike.’ Teresa Rees, Professor of Labour Market Studies, University of Bristol, UK ’The overwhelming learning’s towards individualism found in this study have important implications for a feminist perspective based on women as a collectivity. Pilcher proves that women’s accounts of gender issues are important in their own right and must be adhered to if a future feminist politics is to thrive and be relevant to women of all ages.’ Work, Employment and Society
Contents: Gender, generation and world views; Househusbands and bread winning wives: accounts of role reversal; A man’s world? accounts of equality and discrimination; A woman’s right? accounts of abortion; Freaks and normal people: accounts of homosexuality; Just a bit of fun for the men?: accounts of page three; Making things better for women or going over the top?: accounts of feminism; Conclusions; Bibliography.