Women's Rights during the 1950s

The image of American women in the 1950s was heavily shaped by popular culture: the ideal suburban housewife who cared for the home and children appeared frequently in women's magazines, in the movies and on television. It is true that the women who entered the workforce during World War II did, for the most part, return to home and family in the following years, but during the 1950s the trend began to turn. Women began returning to the workplace and more and more women were becoming involved in state, local and Federal government service.

During his Presidential campaign, General Eisenhower was asked by Vivien Kellems of Stonington, Connecticut if, were he elected as President, he planned on appointing women to serve on his Cabinet. In his reply he said, "You may be assured that if it should be my destiny to serve as Chief Executive, I would utilize the contributions of outstanding women to the greatest extent possible." As President, Eisenhower appointed women to a number of prominent posts, including Oveta Culp Hobby (Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare), Bertha S Adkins (Under-Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare), Clare Boothe Luce (U.S. Ambassador to Italy), Katherine Howard (Deputy Civil Defense Administrator) and others.

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