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The Women's Right Movement in the 1920s

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The Women's Right Movement in the 1920s

Before the 1920s, Women's life in the United States was quite difficult compared to what is today; however, the Women's right movement in the 1920s changed women's lives and status in society. Wifehood and motherhood were considered women's primary and most significant job. They were also considered inferior to men. But after many years of long struggle and hard work they earned their freedom and equality in the society, and that brought a huge change in their role and status too. During the 1920s women changed to flappers, and women become a huge part in the work force, voting, and politics.

The flapper symbolized the women right's movement. The term described the women as "rebellious, energetic, fun-loving and bold" (America Pathway to the Present, 684t). For centuries women wore long skirts. They were often so long that they draped on the floor. However, this changed in the 1920s when women's clothes began to creep up to the ankle and the bottom of the calf. The shorter skirt became the potent symbol for the changing roles of women. Until the advent of the twentieth century, female ankles and calves were hidden but the flapper changed all of that. Moreover, their waistlines dropped. The girls in teens and in their twenties became the first to wear short skirts, stating that they were the "New Women, no longer bound to prewar values" (Flapper skirts as feminist symbols). The new women cut their hair short and their clothes became shapeless. Their chest was as flat as a board and they wore makeup and applied it in public. They also started smoking, drinking and swearing and characterized themselves as rebels (America, Pathway to the present). Narrow boyish hips were preferred and womanly curves were eliminated as clothes became loose and unfitted. Slimness became important for flappers, and they began to watch their weight and diet. The new women lacked modesty, propriety and womanly virtues.

Not only did women's clothing change in the 1920s, but they also started to work more outside their homes. Women before the 1920s had a hard time finding jobs, as they were supposed to stay at home and take care of children, do household chores, and prepare food. Even when they did find jobs, they were paid with low salaries compared to men and got very few hours for job. Many women turned to prostitution because they had no other way of surviving (the Women right's movement in 1920). The women rights movement however changed this greatly. It allowed woman to have more working hours and higher pay. During World War 1, women started working more outside their homes and they moved to higher paying jobs. Getting jobs helped women because sometimes women had to support not only their children but also their sick husbands. "During the 1920's, about fifteen percent of the wage- earning women became professionals and about twenty percent held clerical positions... the percentage of married women working increased from twenty three percent of the total female work force in 1920 to 29 percent in 1930" (America Pathway to the present). Young women before the 1920s were usually educated until the ages of nine to twelve years - the only exception were



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