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Home Dreams: Canadian women and suburban experience

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Veronica strong- Boag, “Home Dreams: Canadian Women and Suburban Experience, 1945-60″,” Canadian Historical Review 72.4 (1991): 471- 504. Addresses the suburban experience for the women and their subjective nature. In general, the women depended on male wages and were apolitical. Although others praised the variety and quality of life due to the suburban experience, Strong is of the notion that the experiment sought to accommodate a single ideology and was reductionistic leaving many of the women emotionally drained.

The geographical fragmentation of suburbs to cities in turn inhibited employment opportunities for women. Establishment of social securities, high employment rates and increasing prosperity fueled the move to suburbia. High fertility rates were combined with the high expectations, therefore larger families and homes lead to a larger workload for mothers and wives, demanding greater dedication to the domestic domain. Women’s unique nature, child- bearing and homemaking roles were at the heart of the suburb. The media reinforced and disseminated the conservative definition of good life as the fulfillment of women was based on service to others and the domestic domain. Absence of day care, school schedules and hindrance to female employment contributed to gender specific roles. Besides, many of the women worked as typists, translators and assistants without payment. However, local institutions and church associations enhanced the sense of community granting women the opportunity to be involved in municipal politics other than domestic realms.

Strong sheds a lot of issues as a result of the 1945- 60 suburban experiment. According to the author, the suburban experiment is a betrayal of women’s dignity and potential. To the urban landscape, the suburb was a novel addition. However, it was basically built upon conventional concepts which entrenched males within the public domain while entrenching women within the domestic realms.

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