it true that women have never had it so good? In many ways, yes.
It is no longer necessary for women to ask anyone's permission
for social equality. In other words, whether it is ready or not,
society no longer has the power to keep women in their place.
We can see women bursting out of what used to be seen as their
This is the
first generation of women who are taking their careers for granted.
They are pushing up from the bottom and they are shoving into
the top, taking over prominent positions like running M15, editing
national newspapers and sitting as the Speaker of the House of
Commons. This newfound strength comes partly from economic necessity.
Once the typical European family relied on one salary, almost
invariably the male one, but now most couples need two wage-packets
to sustain their standard of living. Today, only 10% of families
in Britain are supported by the father alone.
sections of society, the change is even more striking. With the
decline of the manufacturing industries that once supported huge
communities of working men, families are being forced to rely
on the wages of women, often working part-time and in service
industries. On present trends, by 1998 more women will be employed