Women and education in the time 19401950

These events greatly influenced the education sector, whereby there emerged greater disparities in enrollment and completion of both men and women in the education system (Rury, 2009, p39). These changes in education patterns of both men and women were greatly determined by the various demands that had been presented by previous economic depression and the Second World War that had just begun. Prior to 1940, education of women in the United States had been ongoing for a long period, recording gradual increase in the number of women enrolling in different levels of education. However, several trends characterized education of women in the United States the western countries. In United States, there was a great disparity in the racial composition of women pursuing education in various levels. Moreover, there was a remarkable difference between gender composition of the women and men, in various education stages of the education system. Another major difference in women education during 1940-50 was the type of training that they received in the educational institutions (Alexander and Bruce, 1974, p659). According to Pitts (1992, p93) United States has recorded high literacy levels since 1940 across different education levels. Both genders are increasingly completing high school and enrolling for tertiary education in colleges and universities. Before 1940 and the onset of Second World War, Appelbaum et al (2003, p61) noted that about 50% of Americans had completed at least eight years of schooling. The rate of education varied in different regions across the country with urban areas recording the highest literacy levels with an average of 8.7 years of formal schooling compared with the farming and non-farming rural residents. Education at the tertiary level was very low whereby only 5.7% of the urban dwellers had completed tertiary education compared with just 1.3% of residents in rural and farming communities (Appelbaum, et al, 2003, pp89-95). Comparing gender distribution of the educated in the United States before the war, the number of men across all educational levels exceeded that of women. Besides the higher enrollment of men in all levels of the education system, they also had higher rates of completing their respective studies at any given level compared to women. In addition, the educational access to education was not uniform across all races, whereby the majority races had better access to schooling compared to the African American, Hispanics and other minority groups (Bound, and Turner, 2002, p50). Traditionally, the role of women in society was limited to domestic work that entailed housekeeping and bringing up the children. Men were supposed to work on more demanding jobs in order to provide for their families. These gender-defined roles were reflected in education sector, whereby women pursued careers that were traditionally associated with feminism. These included careers in education, home economics, secretarial and clerical work in addition to catering and hospitality work. On other hand, men were involved in heavy and technical work in industries, such as steel plants, shipyards, lumber mills among other jobs that required skills (Rury, 2009, p48). This explains why very few women enrolled in education institution before 1940 in comparison to men. It was important for men to enroll in school in order to acquire skills that would enhance productivity in the work place. Buchmann et al(2006) noted the demand for skilled workers in the late 1930’s had began to increase, because the American economy was on a recovery path, following the devastating effects of the historical economic depression that had started a decade earlier. The outbreak of