The Role Of Women In The 1920s

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World War I acted as a catalyst for the dramatic change that occurred in the 1920s. Women became concerned with ‘claiming a place for themselves and their bodies in public life,’1 which lead to many positive changes for women across the world. Improvements were seen through the entrance of women into the work force, the changed expectations and behaviours of women in society and the gains women made in the political sphere in different countries. The opinions expressed by the media and traditionalists, however, impacted negatively on the positive changes made by women during the 1920s. These opinions were influenced by fear of declining fertility, job loss and change in the dynamics of the male and female relationship. Despite the negative…show more content…
In America, women activists participated in the ‘suffrage campaigns.’17 These campaigns united women across America in the search for ‘social justice.’18 Ultimately they were successful in 1920 when ‘the federal amendment passed, extending the vote to women throughout the nation.’19 As well as gaining the vote women also found work in political roles. Some women ‘became officeholders,’20 whilst ‘a handful were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives,’21 and ‘hundreds served at the state level,’22 and were ‘successful in local government.’23 Though women achieved success when they gained the vote their ability to vote, it was constantly questioned by many and the press often described women as too ‘frivolous and irresponsible to vote.’24 Furthermore, the political roles women were in were kept to was considered women’s work. This is seen as ‘female officeholders generally operated within the context of prevailing assumptions that women should keep to women’s issues.’25 These assumptions acted to limit the political power women could wield within the political parties.26 In Russia, there was a marked increase in the number of politically active women in the 1920s. This increase can be attributed to the communist revolution that occurred in 1917. Hutton estimates ‘perhaps two to three million [women] in the late 1920s,’27 joined political parties and were politically active. Hutton does state, however, that this only ‘represented a small proportion of the forty million adult women,’28 with many women struggling to balance political involvement, family life and work.29 Unlike in America, there was little positive political change for Muslim women in the 1920s. For Muslim women it was ‘extremely dangerous’ to become politically active as there was a great risk they would ‘suffer the loss of life or limb at the hands of Muslim men.’30 There was also political change of women in

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