Introduction: The Forgotten Generation

  • Stephanie Spencer


Sylvia Plath’s metaphor of the fig-tree is a poignant reflection of the decision facing an adolescent girl in the late 1950s. It demonstrates the highly gendered nature of career choice at a time when domesticity and paid work were presented as mutually exclusive. It also suggests that there were similar debates in the United States and in England. This book focuses on the experience of girls making their employment choices in 1950s England and the gendered nature of the concept of ‘work’. It raises wider questions about the definitions of work, employment and career for men and women during a period which still provides the quintessential representations of traditional family values of male breadwinner, female full time housewife, 2.4 children and a suburban idyll of timeless domesticity. It explores the relationship between the constructed nature of gender roles and expanding educational and job opportunities. Overarching representations of woman were both created by and challenged by individual women.


Welfare State Career Choice School Leaver Grammar School Adult Role 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Stephanie Spencer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie Spencer
    • 1
  1. 1.University College WinchesterUK

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