- Purposes and Method of Study
The purpose of this study was to find out if tenth grade girls
were aware of the probability that a majority of them would work at
some time during their lives, and if they planned to prepare for this
possibility. A questionnaire was designed and validated to attempt to
determine these aspirations and expectations. Six hundred questionnaires
were then sent to 24 Oregon high schools where the home
economics teachers administered them to the sophomore girls in
their classes, A total of 508 usable questionnaires were returned.
The questions proposed for study were:
1. What do tenth grade girls aspire to educationally?
2. Are their educational goals related to the choices their
mothers have made?
3. What are the future plans of the tenth grade girls ?
a. Do sophomore girls see themselves in the future as
mainly wives and mothers?
b. If they plan to marry, do they reject working as a part
of their life pattern?
4. For what reasons will they work?
5. What are tenth grade girls' views of what they will be
doing at age 30 and after their children are grown?
What are tenth, grade girls' preferences for their mothers'
working or not working? How does this influence their
choice for themselves?
7. What influences the opinions of sophomore girls about
8. Are sophomore girls aware of the facts about women
9. Is there a need to place more emphasis on wage-earning
skills in the home economics curriculum or is there a need
to continue to emphasize home and family living?
In general, the respondents aspired to graduate from high
school. This choice was the same as the education the respondents°
mothers received. The girls tended to see themselves mainly as
wives and mothers, but a large majority included some work plans
in the expectations for their lives. The respondents tended to be unrealistic about the reasons they might take jobs. Though most said
that the need for money would be the main reason for working, the
next two largest groups said that they would take a job because they
erjoyed working arc in order to have something to do. They did not
consider a husband's injury or death, divorce, or never marrying
as good reasons for working.
A majority of the respondents expected to be home taking care
of their children at age 30. Forty-two percent expected to be working
part time after their children are grown, but just a few less (38
percent) expected to be keeping a home during these years. The
largest number of respondents preferred their mothers to keep a
home full time, but in many cases made different choices for themselves
than they made for their mothers. Most of the respondents
felt that no one had influenced their opinions about women working.
Many others felt they were mostly influenced by their mother's
The respondents were quite accurate in estimating the average
life-expectancy of teen-aged girls and the number of years they could
expect to live after their children are grown. The respondents'
estimates were not very accurate when they were asked to guess the
average number of women working today (they estimated very high),
and the average number of years a woman will probably work (they
estimated very low).
The main implication of this study is that students do not seem
to be realistic about planning their lives. They appear to be aware of
the facts about how many women are working today, how long they
will probably live, and how many years of life they will have after
their children are grown.
Of the 508 respondents, 80.3 percent planned to work, 56 percent
after they married. Nevertheless, the respondents quite
unrealistically did not plan to get very much training or education to
prepare themselves for any type of job. Nearly one third of the
respondents planned to go no further with their education than high
school. Because of the unrealistic attitude of the girls toward
preparation for their future employment, it seems that homemaking
teachers need to find ways to help these girls to become more aware
of the problems in the world of work, and to help them to learn skills
that will make them more employable when they need or want to work.
More than one fourth of the respondents expected to be working at age
30, and over half planned to be working after their children are grown.
However, family life instruction is still a definite need. So
few of the respondents answered that they would take a job if their
husband died or was injured, or if there was a divorce, that it points
to a need for more emphasis on family interaction and even realistic
family finance. To leave out these teachings in favor of job training would be a mistake in light of these findings; but a combination of the
two needs to be taught in the home economics curriculum.