What Will the Women Want?
Some of the motives for working may disappear with the end of the war. There probably won’t be the critical need for so many women, and the consequent high pay. There won’t be the same urgent patriotic appeal. There won’t be the same psychological need to keep busy, and some probably will be tired and want a rest and a change.
For many the economic motive will disappear when husbands return to good jobs. But some husbands will not come back, and for that and other reasons many women will still need to work after the war. Others will have acquired a taste for financial independence which will not be easy to relinquish. There will be no simple or automatic reorganization of the labor force in the United States after the radios blare forth news of victory.
Perhaps the brightest prospect for national and domestic tranquility in these matters is offered by the attitudes of women themselves. The August 1943 Fortune Survey asked an important question, which, with its answers, is given below:
Which Would You Rather Do If You Had Your Choice?
Even though the marriage choice is baited with the plum of a “successful career,” the proportion of women wanting to work outside the home after marriage is smaller than the proportion actually working outside the home in the prewar period. If the returning soldiers could be sure of offering their wives adequate support the problem of working wives might be no more acute than in the past.