What beliefs lay beneath New Deal legislation that put women at a disadvantage in the work force?

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Posted on (Answer #1)

There were two major beliefs that contributed to this sort of legislation.

First, there was the belief that women should be kept as much out of the workforce as possible.  This was a remnant of the idea of “separate spheres” that had been in existence to some degree for decades.  There was still a strong feeling (particularly among more traditional and conservative people) that women were best suited to working in the home.

Second, there was the idea that allowing women to work would take jobs away from the men who truly needed them.  This was the idea that the jobs were zero-sum and that giving them to one group meant taking them away from others. 

Thus, economic ideas about jobs and social ideas about the place of women combined to underlie the laws you mention.

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