by Lindsey Trimble O’Connor and Christin L. Munsch
AMC’s hit show Mad Men has received widespread critical acclaim, in part, for its depiction of changing social mores surrounding gender, work, and family. Set in the 1960s, three-martini lunches, overt sexual harassment and stay-at-home wives are the norm. The workplace sure has changed … or has it?
Workplace norms of yesterday were based on a gendered division of labor in which men were breadwinners and women were caretakers. Because women took responsibility for the domestic realm, men could work full-time, without interruption, throughout their lives. With few — if any — disruptions from family life, men were able to put in long hours, on-site, day in and day out. Although these norms were sometimes demanding, workers who complied with them could expect to climb the corporate ladder.