The Women's Room takes place between the 1940s and the 1970s, during the inception of the women's movement. This work reflects many of the gender norms and restrictions that affected women in the past. Mira, the story's protagonist, grows up feeling repressed by society's insistence that girls should act like young ladies. From proper posture to the activities her mother tells her ladies don't indulge in, such as rough play, Mira feels constantly at odds with the person she is inside versus the woman society expects her to become.
As she grows up, Mira finds society even more restrictive. Her desire to live independently contradicts the belief of the past that women should submit to their husbands and devote themselves to rearing children. When she meets a man who seems to respect her more than her classmates, Mira hopes she has finally found the companionship and support she always craved. Instead, her husband proves to be just as dismissive of her as her parents were, and Mira finds herself even more trapped once she has children.
The Women's Room is a strong reflection of the gender moors of the past, including society's beliefs about the role of women at home. As Mira makes her way through the restrictive 1940s and 1950s, she hopes the women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s will finally bring the change she always longed for. In reality, she finds many of the same misogynistic attitudes are still present in society at large and in the minds of the men she meets, just disguised in different packaging.
The story is also a reflection of the different relationship dynamics in the past. Like many women of her time, Mira traded the authoritarian control of her parents for a husband who treated her both as child and live-in maid. She, like many women who went through the liberation movement of the 1960s, was forced to liberate herself through her personal decisions and, ultimately, by finding her own voice and telling her story in the form of a book.