While reading A Brief History of working Women I realized the transformation of the American workforce over the turn of the centuries. Society did a great job at trying to justify when and why women should work. If the economy was lacking help then it was justified to have more women workers… however not all women workers had the same opportunities. Our lives as women consist of interdependent roles. We can be a wife, mother, daughter, sister, cousin and the list goes on all while being a woman. Furthermore your race and class were also part of the equation. I really enjoy the reading because I was able to get a glimpse at how these complex women experienced the workforce. Women had different struggles and were even viewed with different expectations based on their race.
While reading the section about Chicana women in the workforce, I realize that women faced very serious issues in the workplace. Discrimination and low education attainment is what is highlighted in the passage to explain the struggles of Chicana women in the workplace. While reading this I couldn’t help thinking about my sophomore year in high school when I approached my counselor to discuss higher education opportunities. I went into her office and told her that I wanted to be a pediatrician. She briefly told me about a college but then shifted her attention (and the remainder of her time) to talk to me about vocational school. She told me that pursuing a career as a pediatrician would take too long and that I should take a vocational career that would only take 9 months to complete. She told me that I wouldn’t struggle as much and that and I could get a stable job with a vocational certification as a medical assistant. I became discouraged and changed my mind; I decided to settle with trying to get into nursing school. However 10 years later I realized that I am fully capable to fight through the struggles and enrolled in college.
This popped into my head, not because of how I struggled to find my career path but because society is very quick to make judgments about a person’s capacity based on a person’s race. I think the discrimination towards Chicana women might have paved the way for the struggles we would face in the workforce because of the persuasion of trying to tell you to take the job that can get you “enough” to get by, even for a Chicana woman.