Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/235700
Title: THE MODERN HOUSEWIFE AND THE WORKING HOUSEWIFE OF THE 1970S
Authors: MANITA GOH LIANG YI
Keywords: Gender
Womanhood
Housewife
Working women
Modernity
Singapore
1970s
Issue Date: 25-Oct-2022
Citation: MANITA GOH LIANG YI (2022-10-25). THE MODERN HOUSEWIFE AND THE WORKING HOUSEWIFE OF THE 1970S. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This paper seeks to understand how the state, private enterprises, and mass media shaped ideas of womanhood in the 1970s. During this period, girls received equal educational opportunities as boys and a growing number of women were entering the workforce. With women stepping out of the household, these developments signalled a potential transformation of traditional gender roles in Singapore. However, what emerged instead were two derivatives of the traditional housewife: the modern housewife and the working housewife. The ideal modern housewife was expected to equip herself with the latest knowledge on hygiene and nutrition to provide the best care for her family. Furthermore, she was expected to reap time- and cost-savings using modern household appliances. Meanwhile, the ideal working housewife was expected to find the perfect balance between her dual roles at work and at home. Even though she was now participating in the workforce alongside her husband, she was still perceived by the state and the public as the sole person responsible for managing the household and the family. However, as this paper will demonstrate, working housewives faced many challenges with this balancing act in reality. A group of working housewives even began to voice their dissatisfaction in newspapers and question traditional gender roles in society. Ultimately, this paper argues that womanhood, as shaped by the state, private enterprises, and mass media, remained firmly grounded in traditional ideas of female domesticity. Even with the emergence of the modern housewife and the working housewife, the term “housewife” is a clear indicator that the ideal Singapore woman was still fundamentally associated with the household in the 1970s.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/235700
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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