“We’ve come a long way, baby …”

A popular commercial in the 1960s used these words to publicise the advancement of women’s rights. An article in Lutheran Women 40 years ago, stated that women’s quest for equal rights “has impacted every part of our existence from things as frivolous as fashion to areas as serious as laws”.

Some interesting facts quoted included: “In 1925, a woman’s work week totalled between 42 and 49 hours. Today [1981], with women having entered the work force with men, her work week totals between 66 and 75 hours.”

Among other things listed in the article we were informed that female adultery was close to that of the male, lung cancer had risen dramatically in women as more women were taking up smoking, the female crime rate was rising, drug use was increasing and “runaway wives” outnumbered husbands who deserted their homes and families.

The perceived “selfishness” of women who wished to pursue a career outside of marriage was decried with the observation that the next generation would suffer.

The response to this article from the younger women pointed out the negativity of the comments. One response said: “…there are women who are called to develop their talents in other areas [besides being a housewife and mother], just as men have a vocation to be a worker and a father”.

It appears that respect for a woman and her capabilities were not to the fore some 40 years ago!

We have come a long way, especially in the last 40 years since this article appeared in our magazine. Today most women are in the work force – many because the cost of living, owning a home and educating our young dictates a double income. But many more women are contributing to the good of the world by their work in important careers, as well as having a home and family.

The dire consequences predicted 40 years ago, and the crime rates have not substantially changed for the worse. Women today are far healthier generally and have access to superior health care for themselves and their families.

Women in our country today can generally look forward to a life following their chosen career, contributing to the good of society in general, as well as being loving wives and mothers.

A woman who honours the Lord should be praised. Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone. Proverbs 31:30b,31

Reflections on an article from Lutheran Women, June 1981

About the Author

Grace Bock

Grace has a passion for Lutheran Women of Australia, having served as President and Editor of Lutheran Women. She is a member at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Adelaide SA and is part of the Editorial Team.

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