What was the treatment of women like during the Great Depression? And what were the expectations of men?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Great Depression affected most elements of American society, albeit in different fashions. For men, whose primary identity at that period was wrapped up in being "breadwinners", loss of a job could be psychologically as well as economically devastating, leading to a sense of loss of identity and masculinity. One of the iconic images of the period is that of men standing on long lines waiting for either handouts of food or the opportunity to work.

For women, the Great Depression strengthened the economic importance of the domestic sphere. A woman's ingenuity in saving money, learning to make and repair clothes, developing inexpensive recipes, and searching for other household "hacks", as it were, became crucial to a family's survival. Unmarried women, or women who sought jobs because their husbands were out of work, were often reviled for taking jobs away from men. 

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