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

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‘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.  The extent in which politics liberalised women can however be seen as quite minor, due to women’s role in politics remaining badly underrepresented, with a prime example of this being of the numbers of female MPs.  There were only 24 female MPs out of a total 630 in the House of Commons, and after the general election in February 1974, there were still only 23 out of 635.  This shows how women’s participation in political affairs during the 1960’s was still very limited, and the traditions of British politics being male dominated continued.  Despite this,  there were a few examples of women excelling in politics and having a say in how their country was run, with the most famous example being Margaret Thatcher , who  became the first female Prime minister in 1979 as leader of the Conservative Party.  One of her famous quotes was:  ‘I've got a woman's ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it.’  In this source, Thatcher clearly shows how her female qualities have aided her responsibility of being the Prime Minister, causing her to act as a role model as a women who has rejected stereotypes to become successful in a largely male dominated society, especially in politics.  This shows how despite women’s role in politics during the 1960’s still being restricted, Margaret Thatcher was evidence that women were able to succeed in politics, having an impact on British women who would have wanted to try to emulate her success.

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Another aspect in society which changed to allow women to be more liberalised was fashion, in which there were drastic changes to allow women to have more influence in the media.  The transition of fashion from the 1950’s to the 1960’s was very significant, as women initially were expected  to bare little flesh, with full skirts, stockings and petticoats being popular.  These traditional values changed in the 1960’s, as women’s fashion revealed more flesh and allowed women to express themselves better.  A key example which epitomized the fashion changes was the miniskirt and the minidress, which a famous model Twiggy ...

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