The works of women in our history to gain liberalization are indeed remarkable. In most cultures and societies, women were oppressed and it will be well to understand that oppression must have started with anthropology. Women like Frida Kahlo who inspired with her paintings, Ann Frank who wrote a journal in Hitler’s time and many other females who were remarkable for their own worth but even more so are the works of many feminists in view of the oppression they were going through.
The works of black women or what would be rightfully referred to as the struggle of women during the Harlem renaissance are all great literary works about their standings in society and a good insight as to how their lives have been at the time. The names of Langston Hughs, Gwendolyn Bennet, Marita Bonner and many others were creating their own impression at the time. The liberalization of women have been going on for a long time in our history but it only became very obvious after the World War II and the Cold War. Tension was evident at the time and schisms have formed within and many tasks and factors were neglected because of the war.
Women were then working more and more outside the household as librarians and were slowly gaining footholds in the areas of library maintenance as demands for libraries increased with the growing number of schools in need of libraries. The roles of men, mostly for administrative positions, became common. It was at this point that women found the inequality as men, even with lower qualifications were given more benefits compared to that of a woman with great qualifications and they have noted the gender bias in the world of librarians though it was mostly overlooked in most historical accounts especially those that written by men.
There were only a few women literary works written at this time and were mostly biographical like that of Martha Boaz. During the ‘60s, “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan and is considered the rebirth of feminism. The first birth of feminism was during the 19th century and this rebirth was aiming for higher education, and excellence in the fields of academics. Women realized that they will not truly have any future attainments as the weaker sex if they will not be able to establish their history.
With the increasing number of movements that women made were the more society tried to stop them stating that the work environment were not healthy for women both as wives and mothers. Feminist influences like Wilma Scott Heide, Sharon B. Wells, Anita Schiller and a few others boosted library history and changed the views of many in the process. Sociologists blamed the female librarians in the changes occurring and have later on decided to let women take over the libraries to which no protest has arisen. During the ‘80s, feminist activism grew and many movements that they have started from before bore fruit.
The ALA Equality Award was established in 1984 to which Betty Jo Irvine’s important studies in “Sex Segregation in Librarianship: Demographic and Career Patterns of Academic Library Administrators” to which the importance of Affirmative Action in improving women’s representation in the administration of the Association of Research Libraries were illustrated and have also stopped the blaming of women in the library profession. During this period, Brand’s analysis of sexism and the examination of the policy of recruiting men by Nancy O’Brien were included in the important papers of this period.
Many conflicts and struggles were overcome in the years that followed and the library profession slowly expanded to more professional fields even in the face of extreme adversity that made women the independent creatures of today. Though of course, a little sexism still exists like making Golf a prerequisite for women to climb the corporate ladder is just one of the many trivial and sometimes not so trivial matters that women will have to deal with. And by the way, Golf was originally an acronym that stood for “gentlemen only ladies forbidden”.