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Why did women in Britain gain more independence in the 1960's and 1970's

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Introduction

2.Why did women in Britain gain more independence in the 1960's and 1970's At the end of the 1950's women still had many disadvantages to men in almost all areas of life, and they were not equal. The man was still seen as the main earner for the family. Although after the Second World War progress had been made in employment and women were able to get jobs, but they were very much secondary to men. At the beginning of the 1960's there was a huge boom in popular culture which was accounted for by the huge amount of young people as a product of the 'baby boom'. Businesses were thriving as they were beginning to cash in on the huge teenage market. There was new teenage music and clothing and along with them came new ideas. Fashion was being designed for teenagers - Mary Quant became a teenage fashion designer; the mini-skirt was introduced and generally clothes that previously would never have been worn started to become commonly worn by the younger generation. As a result of these new ideas that were not being suppressed by traditional views of how children should behave, the role of women in society was changing as well. ...read more.

Middle

However, even in this there were still loopholes. Business owners could give male employees different job titles to female employees and therefore pay them more. However, the Trade Union Movement supported equal pay and this helped to change the social attitude. In the 1970's feminists played a huge part in gaining better equality for women. Although many of the feminists were happy with the Equal Pay Act in itself, some felt that although women had gained increased pay and wages, it had not solved the problem of women not being able to get promotion or climb the career ladder as they were not fully respected within the workplace. Then in 1975 the Sex Discrimination Act was introduced which said that it was illegal to discriminate in employment, education and advertising. However this was not very helpful to women attempting to climb the career ladder as the employer did not need to tell the woman that she was not being hired as a result of her sex. In the same year the Employment Protection Act was passed. This prevented employers from dismissing a woman when she became pregnant, and gave them the right to maternity leave. ...read more.

Conclusion

To get their views across their actions were sometimes extreme, like picketing against the Miss World contests. Politically the 60's and 70's brought in some very significant changes. Barbara Castle was elected to Harold Wilson's cabinet in 1964 and became a major political influence in Great Britain. The first woman was appointed as a British Ambassador, to Israel, in 1965. These types of events raised the image of woman in the public' eye by showing they could succeed in a male dominated workplace and so women's independence gradually became more acceptable. Perhaps more importantly in 1979 the first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was elected in Great Britain. This seemed to be hugely important for women's status in society. However, feminists as a whole were not satisfied as they felt that she was not advancing female politics whilst she was in power. Evidence of this is shown in that in all her eleven years in office Margaret Thatcher did not appoint a single female cabinet minister. believe that there were several major reasons why women gained more independence during the 60's and 70's. These included the rise of feminism that sparked so much within society and the hippy movement. These were backed up by other political, social, domestic and educational changes that were brought about mainly by women themselves during the 1960's and 70's. ...read more.

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