A Historical Perspective on Women in Business
- Going back to the 1600s and early 1700s, business was primarily made up of farmers, artisans, and small shopkeepers who worked at home or near home with the women working closely with them. Business was about a unified family economy centered in the home. Women stayed at home raised children, scrubbed the clothes on a washboard, baked bread, milked the cows, and got eggs from the chicken coop.
- By the industrial period through most of the 1800s, families began purchasing some of the labor-saving machinery produced by manufacturers. Women and children went to work outside the home and became an important source of wage labor in the factories while the men stayed home and tended to the regular farm chores.
- By about 1890, all of that changed as opportunities began to present themselves for men to earn more money off the farm. For the first time, men were leaving the home to go out and become the breadwinners while women stayed home and nurtured the family. That soon changed.
- During these last 100 years, a man’s worth was measured by being a “good provider,” while a woman’s was tied to making a “good marriage.” Women began to lose contact with politics, law and the economy, as her energy was focused on still raising the family. Women became dependent on men’s wages and lost their marketable skills and psychological benefits that come from publicly recognized work. This began to change after the Great War in 1914.
- By the early 1940s, women were going back into the workplace to help out during World War II. In the 1960’s the hippy revolution changed everything and by 1970, 40 percent of all working-age women had jobs outside the home. By the ‘80s, that had nearly doubled.
- During the 1980s, it was the norm to have a family with both the husband and wife holding down jobs outside the home. Youngsters in the family got part-time jobs and the home became a filling station and a place to sleep. Even though they could now afford to have more luxuries, this complete separation of the spheres of the economy and the family placed considerable tension on the family unit
- Today, we seem to be entering yet another era.
Older men in a particular report having more quality time with their mates. “Taking on care roles and responsibilities that may be new or more focused than in previous times in their marriage provided the men an opportunity to support and spend more time with their wives and ultimately enhanced their appreciation of their relationship,” says Karen Roberto, director of the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech, U.S.A.
All the evidence suggests that a shift in values is taking place as the baby boom generation is much more caught up in family life. At least the perception is such. Everyone says that they want more quality time with their families.
In recent years, many women began their own businesses and represent more than one-third of all small business owners; most are running their businesses from the home. Click to know more…
The world has never been more ready for more women to become leaders in all career phases- politics, religion, and business. Women are well positioned. The world is ready for them.