When I was young, there was still a pretty big stigma attached to divorced women and single mothers. That there were assigned gender roles wasn't really questioned, even if the precise nature of those roles was. There were jobs for men (doctor) and jobs for women (nurse). In college, I temped in a small office, and the boss regularly referred to the 50ish office administrator as "my girl."
Anyway, I'm talking from personal perspective at the time, distilling the cultural messages I personally grew up with. Your mileage probably varied a bit. Things are still fucked up and bullshit, but we've come a long way.