Previously published in Examiner
Part 6 of the Forgotten Women of the Great Depression Series
The social mores of the time did not comply with the reality of poverty and how it affected women and children. Many women had to work to feed their families, they did not have the luxury of staying at home to take care of the children. Others were widowed or single and they had to work or starve.
The social mores of not having the ability to decide on family size (lack of birth control and strict government laws preventing birth control and abortions) was detrimental to family health and to the poor. The larger the family the harder it was to feed everyone during these terrible economic times.
Furthermore the bigger families were victimized a second time by having such a big family when they could not afford to feed them. They were looked down upon and regarded as irresponsible for having such large families in the first place. It was a no win situation and it is evident that the male prospective and outdated Victorian values and the bourgeoisie culture could not get further way from reality than this.
Women in Politics – Eleanor Roosevelt
On the other hand, some strides were made in help for the poor and pubic and social awareness. Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the United Nations Commission on Human Rights drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She was the champion of human rights, the champion of the underprivileged and as President Truman later said, she was the first lady of the world. She worked with her husband President Franklin Roosevelt on the New Deal to improve working conditions and social relief programs. She continued to enhance the status of workingwomen after his death.
Montreal from 1929 – 1945
Montreal life was turned upside down during the great depression. Montrealers were to go through 15 years of economic hardships and although there was some respite during the second War II when some economic growth occurred the conditions were still quite dismal over all. The hardest hit of course was 1930 – 1933 after the stock market crash of 1929.
To be continued