A woman's job, postwar
What do women want? In 1945, CBC broadcasters were asking that question — at least in terms of radio and television programming. As the Second World War ended and Canada's postwar boom began, happy homemakers heard Kate Aitken's cold remedy or tips on how to make a pizza pie. But as the cheery '50s got on, women listeners requested more intelligent programming. They began to learn about setting up a theatre company and hear frank discussion about what going through a divorce was really like.
Nearing the end of the Second World War, women have shown they are capable workers in the sphere of men's work. With their husbands off fighting for Canada, women take on men's jobs in factories.
They've discovered a knack for precision work - making electrical appliances and plastics - rather than jobs that require physical strength.
Modsley demands retraining for new jobs postwar and "equal pay for equal work." She charges that women can't just be expected to return happily to the domestic realm.
. The series was broadcast out of Vancouver.
. It addressed a wide variety of topics. In 1943, guest speaker Laura Hunter discussed a clay-making hobby. In 1944, Kay Kritzwiser of Vancouver's health services helped the modern homemaker prepare for wartime well-being.
. Listen to a clip from a 1943 Homemaker's Program in which Alice Bordon advises mothers on why it's important for their children to "Straighten up!"
. Due to wartime food rations, homemakers were expected to stretch their dollars. A CBC Radio program called Food Facts and Fashions encouraged women to can food and make sure their families were getting enough vitamins by eating "protective foods" like whole grains.
. Rhubarb, they were told, was still palatable with a minimum of sugar.
. During the war, housewives found it difficult to get imported foods, such as sugar and tea.
. Enriched white bread - made with added nutrients such as vitamin B1 - was invented during the Second World War.
. Authors of Canadian Women: A History found the independence that women achieved from wartime work carried on postwar, into the sphere of marriage. Before the war, a woman would have rarely left her family until she got married. After the Second World War, it became more acceptable for women to live on their own or with their peers before settling down.
. For more on women's wartime work, visit the topic On Every Front: Canadian Women in the Second World War.
Program: The Homemaker's Program
Broadcast Date: Jan. 3, 1945
Guest(s): Dorothy Modsley
Photo: National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / National Archives of Canada
Last updated: January 31, 2012
Page consulted on March 14, 2013
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