Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Gender in the 1980's.
I have chosen to use Gender as the identity issue of the 1980's. I have chosen to do this because of how Gender roles changed between the early 70's and 1993 as seen in the table below.
It is clear to see the gradual increase in approval of a Woman working in business or Industry if she had a Husband that was capable of supporting her. Ignore the end of 1985 though. I have no idea what happened.
Representations of Gender in Magazines
"In the 1980s, magazines and advertisements increasingly started representing women working alongside men in business and industry, reflecting dominant values towards equality during this period. The magazine Working Mother is a good example of a publication that prominently featured these sort of representations. Although the magazine is filled with representations of women making macaroni and administering lice treatment, there are there are also a high proportion showing them taking an active role in business and industry." The progress can be seen as slow considering this was only 30 odd years ago but the rapid change of attitude is a positive. In films too, you could see the gradual shift in attitudes, as more Women worked in business or Industrial jobs.
In the 1980s too, there was also some issues with Womens rights in terms of Abortions. There was a case between Harris and McRae. "On January 15, 1980, after 13 months of deliberation, Federal District Court Judge John F. Dooling Jr. invalidated the Hyde Amendment—federal restrictions on Medicaid funds for medically necessary abortions—as violating the First and Fifth Amendments. His decision documented the health impact of denying poor women abortions; the major religious traditions which support the conscientious choice of abortion; and the pervasively religious character of the anti-abortion position that the fertilized egg is equivalent to a person. The court’s holding required the federal government and all states to provide Medicaid reimbursement for all medically necessary abortions for indigent pregnant women."
However, on the 30th of June 1980, a divided Supreme Court reversed the Judge's decision. This meant "ignoring his comprehensive findings of fact as well as the principle that the state must respect the constitutional rights of the poor in distributing or limiting welfare benefits." The court approved the elimination of Abortion from publicly funded healthcare programs even where a Woman's health was in danger or she was made pregnant by result of Rape or Incest. This shows that while it is a highy controversial topic today, it is nothing like it was in the 1980's. Not much has changed in terms of opposition but they seemed to be able to pass legislation that favoured Anti-Abortion groups easier than they can now, which can reflect on Public opinion of the time. There were many court cases that involved rights over Abortions in the 1980's. As well as Harris vs McRae, there was also; H.L vs Matheson, City of Akron vs Akron centre for Reproductive Health, Thornburgh vs American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Planned Parenthood vs Casey and Webster vs Reproductive Health Services. Additionally, "The Silent Scream" (an Anti-Abortion video) was released in 1985 and the headquarters for the National Abortion Federation in DC was bombed in 1984.
But there were many positives for Women in the 1980s. Geraldine Ferraro was the first female Democrat nominated for the VP position. In 81, Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to the US Supreme Court, followed in 93 by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
This was a time of rapid change for Women. Being much more widely accepted into the workplace and acheiving higher positions was key while there was still some debate over Women's rights such as Abortion which even today is a touchy subject for many and a key political issue. While not much was solved in the 80's there was significant progress, which set the course for what it is like now, while still not perfect it has come a long way since the 80s and even further since the 50s.