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1920's America - In what ways was this an age of liberation for women?

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Introduction

1920's America - In what ways was this an age of liberation for women? From the beginning of time, women were thought as child-bearers and carers of the home. They were there to satisfy their husbands, and produce the children needed to carry on the family's name and profession. They didn't need an education or the right to vote, their whole life usually revolved around the home, plus women were thought as too intellectually inadequate and delicate to make any real influential decisions. Modern day women would find such restrictions an insult, however, during these times, convention and the desire to please the men stopped women truly questioning their basic roles, instead they contentedly accepted them. Though during the 1920's in America, women did find themselves with more opportunities then ever before, the question of if it was the age of liberation still remains. The real issue about liberating women from these traditional roles in America began in the 1840's. Two women, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organised a women's convention at Senecca Falls, New York in July 1848, encouraged after the insult of Mott being disallowed a place on the platform of an Anti-Slavery Conference in 1840 purely because she was a woman. ...read more.

Middle

They argued that women, as human - beings, had a natural right to vote. It outraged them that the new amendment to the Constitution in 1865 gave all men the right to vote, even immigrant males, whilst women born in the USA were still denied. They said women were different and in some cases better than men, women, for example, were more noble, more spiritual, and truer of heart. After much campaigning, in 1920, the Woman Suffrage Association was successful in achieving equal voting through the passing of the 19th Amendment. This newly acquired political power encouraged feminists to start working towards larger goals, social and economic equality with men, woman's independence, and ethics in society. However, during the 1920's the woman's rights movement died down. This was due, in part, to the achievement of the goal of suffrage, but also because of the general retreat from activism in post-WWI America. Feminists of the time discovered, firstly, that women did not vote as a bloc, there was no such thing as the "women's vote". Secondly the struggle for suffrage no longer united disparate elements of the feminist movement and that thirdly younger women were less interested in reform and more interested in rebelling against social conventions. During the 1920s, because of the previous points, less was achieved, and the women's progress stalled. ...read more.

Conclusion

There was still little job security for women, though there had been an increase over the period of married women entering the workforce, most were forced by war and poverty. Opportunities for advancement, especially in the professions, remained limited, and inequality in pay and conditions customary. It was an age of increased liberation for freewill and forthright action however. Women had become more confident about their abilities, achieving the vote gave them political power and assertion. With enough pressure and support it was possible to accomplish. The newly adopted flapper fashion was also an example of liberation; it gave women a new, radical image, spilling away from tradition. In conclusion, the 1920's provided an age for women of greater freedom to speak out and campaign for their rights. It was also an age of free-expression through resistance to tradition. Nevertheless, success with the campaigning during this period was limited, and the free-expression ineffective at always obtaining the desired reaction. The position of women during this period had no immense development from what had already happened during earlier years. Women still had a long way to go until they would be respected and allowed independence to match the opposite sex. Black women in particular saw very little distinction of treatment during these years from previous ones. Though some achievements were won, they were undersized to what was needed. ...read more.

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