Gender Roles during the Great Depression and the Cold War

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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Category: Cold War
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A role or behavior learned by a person as appropriate to their gender which is determined by the prevailing cultural norms is called a gender role. Both men and women have been told how to behave, dress, and even present themselves to the public. An example of gender roles in society is women are supposed to be feminine, graceful, polite, nurturing, emotional, take care of kids, cook, clean; while men are supposed to be muscular, aggressive, tall, take care of finances, do repairs.

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These are gender roles that society puts on us, but these gender roles are also considered stereotypical. With this day in age nobody really follows these gender roles.

There are many men who take care of kids, cook, clean, are nurses, and much more, just like there are women who do repairs, finances, are muscular, etc. While we are talking about gender roles, I want to talk about gender roles during the great depression and the cold war, before I do that here’s a quick summary about the Great Depression and the Cold War. The Great Depression was known as the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world, lasting from the stock market crash of 1929 to 1939. The stock market crashed in 1929, which cause millions of investors on Wall Street into a state of terror. Companies started to lay off their employers, consumers started to stop spending and investing into things which caused industrial output to decline.

Reaching its lowest point in history the Great Depression caused over 15 million Americans became unemployed as well as half of the country’s banks failed. But what caused the Great Depression. Well as the U.S. economy started to increase swiftly it caused the nation’s total wealth to triple between 1920-1929 causing this period in history to be labeled the Roaring Twenties. In NYC there was a stock market in the middle of Wall Street at the New York stock exchange. The stock market was where you could see all types of people such as multimillionaires to janitors, and even cooks pour all their savings into stocks. Due to everyone pouring their savings into stocks the stock market noticed a speedy change which caused it to reach its peak in 1929 of August. As an outcome, unemployment started to increase, compared to their actual value stock prices increased, as well as production started to decline.

On top of that banks had an overabundance of substantial loans that couldn’t be dissolved, plummeting food prices and dry spells were affecting agriculture sectors, employment salaries were cut-rate, and buyer’s debt grew rapidly. In the summer of 1929, the U.S. economy infiltrated a vague recession as a result of products being unsold, consumers slowly stopped making purchases, and stocks continued to grow. On Thursday October 24, 1929, the stock market crashed as many have feared. Known as Black Thursday many investors were selling their shares in which it made a record 12.9 million of shares being traded that day. On October 29, 1929 aka Black Thursday another panic brushed Wall Street causing 16 million shares being exchanged, and millions being worthless. Investors were slaughtered entirely for when they purchased stocks on margin. As buyers trust began to disappear because of the crash, many occupations started to release their employees due to lack of production. The ones who were still employed struggled with payments and power.

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Gender Roles During the Great Depression and the Cold War. (2020, Mar 05). Retrieved from