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What was the Impact of the Liberalisation of Women on British Society?

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Introduction

'What was the Impact of the Liberalisation of Women on British Society?' The 1960's can unquestionably be seen as a defining period in British history, in which there were numerous events which caused profound social impacts on many different groups of people, including the youth, homosexuals, and immigrants. Another one of these social groups was women, and there were drastic changes in their role and status during this decade, as during the 1950's women lived quite constrained lives in a society that was still fairly male dominated, but during the 1960's, women gradually began to become more powerful figures in society. A couple of key aspects of change were in politics and fashion, with key events including Margaret Thatcher being the first female Prime Minister as leader of the Conservative Party, and the introduction of the mini skirt. The increase in educational and career opportunities and women's changing views on family life also largely impacted society, however the most significant and far fetching aspect was the wages women received through the Equal Pay Act, which was a key step in reducing sex discrimination. One key area in society which women's role was altered was politics, in which women generally became more active, and by doing so enhanced their political profile. ...read more.

Middle

The same sexual freedom was evident through fashion trends and gave women more freedom to explore and contrast different types of clothing. This shows how fashion was a key aspect of change as new trends such as the mini skirt revealed far more flesh and had an impact on women's role in British society. Women's views on family and marriage as well as their domestic lives were also an area in which affected their liberalisation in society, although was far less effective in impacting society than changes in fashion and wages. This was due to traditional values of women being seen as housewives, whose primary concern was to look after their children still being the view of many people in Britain. These traditional values are also supported by the fact that the average age of getting married was 22, and nearly a third of all women were still teenagers when they got married. This shows how there was only a small change in the liberalisation of women when it came to their views on marriage and families, as the general freedom of the sixties did not make the idea of motherhood less attractive to young women. ...read more.

Conclusion

There was then increased pressure from various Feminist movements for equal pay in other areas of employment, such as machinists in Ford Car factories going on strike, causing it to close for three weeks. The Equal Pay Act in 1970 was implemented as a result of the pressure from female workers, and set out equal wages for men and women of the same job, with the primary aim to end inequality in wages. This was a great achievement for women, who were now far more economically independent, giving them more freedom to spend money on luxury items, such as new fashions. The Equal Pay Act was also very significant as it was evidence of greater equality between men and women, and made Feminists more determined to fight for equal rights, with the Sex Discrimination Act (1975) soon following. In conclusion, a combination of different aspects caused women to be more liberalised, causing various effects on British society. The most significant in terms of the women's liberalisation was the achievement of the Equal Pay Act, as although changes in fashion allowed women to have more choice and freedom, and there was an increase in career prospects, this was clear evidence of the Feminist movements work and can be seen as one of the first steps to achieve equality between men and women. ...read more.

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