Whatever happened to British feminists and the women’s movement during the period between the Labour landslide of 1945 and the revivalism associated with ‘women’s liberation’ in the 1960s? The conventional assumption that feminism was a spent force that petered out in a decade of conservatism and materialism, though not without empirical foundation, is a considerable exaggeration. The post-war backlash against feminism flourished through the 1950s, especially in the pages of the women’s magazines. Witness a typical attack on the working mother by Monica Dickens in 1956:
Will her children love her more if she is an efficient career woman who pops in and out of the house at intervals, knows a lot of stimulating people, and can talk about everything, except pleasant, trivial, day-to-day matters that are the breath of family life? … She is not cheating her children by staying at home. She is giving them the supreme gift — herself. Long after they have left home, they will be grateful to her.