Woman’s Place Outside the Home, Letters from Co-ed Magazine, 1963

I love perusing magazines to see what life was like in the good old days. I found some awesome letters from a January 1963 issue of Co-Ed Magazine, where high school girls and boys are asked to “sound off” on “woman’s place outside the home.” Here were the questions and comments from the magazine:

Where is woman’s place outside the home? Should women enter such fields as business, science, government, or politics?  Your answers to this question indicate basic differences of opinion.  Many of you maintain that a woman should devote full time and energy to her family and home; that she should leave outer space and the inner workings of politics and government to men.  Others say a woman should utilize her talents in any field for which she’s qualified and in which she’s interested. 

Here were some of the girls’ answers:

Women have minds and wills of their own.  They have a great deal to offer the world; those who are dedicated to their work can make a fine contribution to any field.  –G. D., Olympia High School, Columbia, SC

A woman’s place is in the home and nowhere else.  There should be no women in government, space, business, or science unless the women are single.  A married woman should stay athome where she is needed.  I’m sure she can find enough things to keep herself occupied.  –L.M., Immaculate Conception High School, Connellsville, PA

I see no reason why a woman can’t become anything she wants to be if she has the necessary qualifications.  Women are just as smart as men and should be allowed to use their intelligence.  I, myself, plan to become a scientist. –A.B., John Marshall, Jr. High School, South Bend, IN

The powers of a woman’s mind are virtually being wasted. A woman, as well as a man, should be placed in a position according to ability.  Not only is the present system unreasonable and unfair, but it is robbing the country of valuable minds and of people who would be great assets to politics, science, and business.  I am eagerly looking forward to the day when newspapers headline a story of the first woman astronaut, and I feel sure the time is near. –J.P., Evergreen High School, Seattle, WA]

If the woman has the necessary background and intelligence, she should run for President.  Many improvements would be made if a woman held this office. –J.H., Damascus High School, MD

A married woman’s first duty is to her family.  She has chosen this way of life and should not regret her decision.  If a woman remains single, however, or has a grown family, she should have the opportunity to use her talent and experience in any field.  S.D., Academy of Our Lady, Chicago, IL

I feel that a woman’s primary responsibility is to her home and her family.  Therefore, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a woman astronaut or President or anything else, so long as a woman considers her family and the maintenance of a nice home of primary importance.  Whenever a woman should choose to work, however, she must not lose her identity as a woman.  She should take her femininity with her no matter where she goes.  A woman’s career, ultimately, is to be a woman. –D.D., Washington Twp. High School, Centerville, OH

Here were some of the boys’ answers:

The best place in the world for a woman is at home with her family. If she has the ability and the desire to take part in world affairs, then she should not have a family.  At this time, I don’t think the United States is ready for a woman president or astronaut.   –C.H., Elkhorn High School, Nebraska

Intelligent women should not be held back because of their sex. Our country needs all the trained personnel it can find, whether they are men or women.  I think too much is made of the fact that women are getting into professions held previously by men only.  I agree that a mother with school-age children should remain at home, but otherwise it’s good that women are moving into new fields.  This trend is going to continue, until we might even have a woman President.  In time, professional women in politics will be accepted as readily as women teachers. –J.B., Winona Senior High Senior, Minnesota

It’s my opinion that the best place for women outside the home is in politics and science.  Many girls are very intelligent and it seems a shame that they waste their talents when they grow into womanhood and get married.  Science needs brain-power–male or female.  An occupation in government, space exploration, or business takes extreme dedication and a special type of emotional stability and courage that is usually found more often in men than in women.  Women can, however, be assets in any of these fields. –M.M., Cathedral High School, Detroit, MI

A woman’s place is in the home, leaving men’s jobs for men. Women might be allowed in important positions in government, science,and business, but never in the top echelons. –L.W., Belt Valley High School, Montana

Women should be active in politics.  Women have a knack for talking and it seems to me that if world problems were discussed more, we might have less trouble with our allies. –W.E., North Syracuse Central High School

A woman’s place is any place where she can do her job best. Some women are best suited for housework and they should stay in the home.  On the other hand, many women can do well in business or politics.  There are many women doctors and teachers who are performing well at their tasks, although they do not always receive due admiration. –J.H.,Winona Senior High School, MN

A woman should do something besides housework.  Most women stay home with no outside life and I think the world would be much better with more women workers.  –M.C., Staley Jr. High School, Rome, NY

Opportunities and careers for women are expanding every day. The power of a woman cannot be underestimated and there is a growing demand for women trained in special skills. I think their talents should be utilized. –R.H., Lewiston High School, Minnesota

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