A cross-generational study of privileged women in America

Nancy Lee Porter, University of Pennsylvania


There has been little study of women who are educationally, socially and economically privileged in America. Those who have looked at their life roles have written that the privileged woman in America is focused on four roles, those of wife, mother, volunteer worker and social club member. They have remained in the background of class function, living lives that are traditionally "female", focused on home and family rather than the workplace. This 1994 study investigates the lives of twenty women of privilege, ten mothers between the ages of 75 and 85 and their ten daughters between the ages of 44 and 55. Although the mothers of the study fit the parameters of "wife, mother, volunteer worker and social club member" quite well, their daughters did not. Most of the daughters of the study were involved in full time paid careers in addition to having significant family relationships. They were much less involved in volunteer work and social club activity than their mothers had been. The factors of greater years of education, growing up in a turbulent political era in which feminism reappeared as a powerful societal force and changing economic forces were cited as major contributors to change.

Subject Area

Academic guidance counseling|Womens studies|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Porter, Nancy Lee, "A cross-generational study of privileged women in America" (1994). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9427600.