Throughout the 1950s public figures, the media, and above all advertising emphasized women’s roles as mothers and homemakers.
The ideal American woman was young, white, and middle class with a home in the suburbs, a hardworking husband, and at least two healthy children.
She did not have a job outside the home; instead, her work was to care for her children and keep the house sparkling clean.
This ideal, however, was only an ideal.
For most American women, life was very different. About a third of all women had jobs outside the home, including a fourth of all married women.
Women were teachers, nurses, secretaries, salesclerks, factory workers, and domestics.