Women, in general, occupy a secondary or subordinate position in many societies. Plans have been devised to help working mothers overcome their socioeconomic problems and to provide them with equal opportunities. Instead of increasing productivity, development processes have relegated women into economic sectors that limit social and economic mobility.
The 20th century has changed lives and destinies of women, their social, economic and political roles in society. Social change raises new issues about the social meaning of adult identity for women. Many women are marrying later, having one child, and having them later in life than their mothers or grand-mothers did. Before 1900, in all-male government circles, employment policies were being developed which catered for a proportion of unemployed working-class men, but which omitted any specific reference to women. Although the attempts of the 'right to work' movement in the decade before the First World War was to force the State to accept responsibility for creating paid employment for unemployed men have been documented. 1980s-1990s brought a change in social relations and political area allowing women greater participation in workforce and labor relations. Thus, at the beginning of the 21st century, the role of working mother is still limited by their social status (as a mother and a wife).
The beginning of the 20th century marked a ne...
owever, support for limiting the paid employment of wives and mothers also came from members of the employing class, including some whose family fortunes owed much to the employment of married women. his may have partly stemmed from dislike of the fact that working-class women who had economic independence, particularly those living in areas where women's full-time employment was the norm were relatively active in the women's suffrage movement. The women's almost equal pay and better conditions were offset by longer hours of work (Baxandall and Gordon 1995). These would have been problematic for widows with sole responsibility for young children. Conditions on public works for men were made relatively unattractive, through policy-makers' concerns that men should not come to prefer these temporary schemes to their normal employment; but this was not the case on the women's schemes, nor was it seen as a problem. Although in most of the workrooms the women enjoyed better pay and conditions than in their usual work, no concern was expressed that women's incentives to move on to paid employment would be undermined. This appears to have been based on a strong resistance to seeing women, even widows, as having a proper place in the labor market (Anderson and Eamon 2005).
Before the WWII, social insurance was considered to be societal protection against those risks viewed as beyond the control of the individual, or risks incurred while contributing to the well-being of the society as a whole. At the core of this perspective was concern with the protection of earned income when earnings were lost temporarily or permanently. Maternity benefits for employed women, as a social insurance benefit, were almost as old as sickness benefits, the oldest such benefit. They were