Affected by the economical, sociological conditions of the time that they live in, women partake in various economic activities throughout the history. The industrial revolution that started in England in 1851 secures the woman’s position as a“wage” worker.
This dense labor period that had started with the industrial revolution spreads first to weaving and then – with the coming of the war era – to areas like defense industry and mining.
Beginning of specializations following mechanization and technical advances places the woman in different sectors. Her place inside the household and the perception that the woman’s main duty is not to work affect the woman’s positioning in working life.
While the number of working women increase noticeably each day since 1950s; the woman becomes the inspiration in different areas such as fashion, cinema and music and turns into the symbol for beauty. Woman focused movies that were screened in 1950s are made of the form to support women’s freedom. Being a woman becomes accepted as a feature to be proud of.
The 50s is a period of rapid change for the woman and she begins to learn of the beauty products and make-up materials. The the concept of”Working Woman” appears. With the 1960s, the ‘working women’ lives through a revolution in their chosen clothings; skirts get shorter and more comfortable clothes replace the corsets that make the waists appear thinner. Women begin to prefer to wear clothes that express their own identities.
The Beatles’ freedom songs of these years also express the change. With the effects of concepts like nature, social equality and feminism, the woman’s place in the society experiences a turning point. Another song that expresses 1970s’ woman and her power comes from Helen Reddy.
1980s is a period where the women rise rapidly in work life and materiality takes the front stage. 1990s is a period where the appearences, habits, the way one looks from others’ point of view become important. Family life is also very important in this period. With the 2000s, consumption culture becomes more accepted, classification becomes more appearent and the chasm between the classes becomes deeper. On the other hand, the woman finds out more about herself in comparision with the past years. While a generation that is sure of itself in working, family and social life grows up, the concept of ‘woman’ still varies in different cities of the same country.
In the beginning of 1900s, the woman workers who were marching following the deaths of 129 woman workers in a strike in New York were saying ‘We want bread and roses too!’ They were aiming for a better world to live, both for themselves and their children. While getting due compensation for their labor, they wanted to dance and sing and see the sun and experience the other beauties, too. They wanted to live in a world where there was no exploitation, where it was believed that what’s produced was enough for everyone.
While the march of 1900s becomes the vessel of 8 March to be celebrated as International Working Women’s Day; today, it gives us the message to show a bit of care for‘woman.’ According to me, today means to reach out together, not only to our own surroundings but to where we cannot see, where we cannot reach alone and to change a woman’s life in a positive way…