Women entering the labor force created a much larger labor supply, which led to lower labor costs and a collapse of worker's rights/bargaining power. Prior to "rosie the riveter" and all that ww2 stuff, the labor force was comprised of about 25% of the population. After the ww2 era, it climbed to around 50% and has stayed there. Of course, we've been at war ever since, with the cold war and now the war on terror. So, like in george orwell's, "1984," we live in a state of perpetual war, with many of the extreme measures that go along with warfare, like borrowing huge amounts of money and putting women to work to either replace the men on the battlefield or to help increase the nation's productive capacity, in order to help pay for the war effort.
Men can be enslaved by their own passions. On a mass scale, lust is relatively easy to stir up. So is drunkenness and gambling. Imagine, joe average goes out and gets drunk, gambles away the rent money and goes home and treats his wife like a porn star. There are going to be a lot of "disturbed" women around. Those feelings could be channeled into a political movement, to either push the country back to traditional catholic morality or away from it. A "pragmatic" leader would try to get out in front of that.
Meanwhile, the local employer notices that women take off lots of time from work for child care and child birth. His bottom line would improve, if he could reduce the amount of time they take off. That gets him thinking about ways to encourage birth control. Of course that would offend traditional catholic morality, but it would not offend the moral's of a pure capitalist, who really just worships money.
Feminism seems like a predictable result of these changes.
In regards to big government safety nets, like pell grants and government guaranteed school loans, medicare and medicaid and social security and disability benefits, as I understand it, those programs encourage the general public to spend all their savings and even go into debt, because they reduce our anxiety about the future. They certainly make it easier for people in general, to do without much family around. Surgery, for example, can be very expensive, but if it came as a perk with a job or as part of some government benefit, one wouldn't need much help accessing it. So, these programs would seem to reduce the need for family support and savings.
I think I could see a single girl, 30 years ago, getting a degree at community college, mostly paid for by the state, taking a job that came with medical benefits and retiring on social security and medicare, all the while never marrying or having children and not worrying too much about it. Although, it would seem lonely. I suppose to compensate for her childlessness, she could devote herself to making the world a better place for the next generation. A "shrewd" leadership would want to draw those feelings into big government, big business and big foundation sponsored programs like "environmentalism, women's rights, world peace, etc" and away from political movements that would encourage a return to traditional catholic morality and family values.