Essay on Women in Australia in 1920s

740 Words Mar 21st, 2009 3 Pages

The end of World War 1 showed a new age for Australia. During the 1920s the women of Australia changed before they were quiet, polite and modest. Primary sources indicated that Australian women of the 1920s had a cultural, political and social change. They worked in factories, smoke cigarettes in public, wore short skirts, started swearing, wore make-up, had short hairstyles and went dancing in the evenings. Unfortunately, women still remained largely excluded from most areas of public life.

Many women left home for work but the society scowled upon women who did not complete their housework. Women which entered the workforce were not given the same pay as men. Although they worked the same hours women were paid less than men
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Dresses were lighter and brighter, and backless dresses received special attention. Skirt lengths were shortened to knee-length revealing enough leg to be controversial. And the effect of leg was exploited; appearing nude or covered by a tight-fitting seamed stocking.

The 1920s brought a new set of social values and norms. Make-up and lipstick found their way onto women's faces. Women also smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, swore and expressed well-informed opinions on all topics of the day among men in public, challenging the social norm. Women were even going to the beach in 'revealing' bathing costumes. Australians generally were watching and actively participating in more sport. Women benefited from this, as there was a greater need for less constricting sportswear, which in turn influenced everyday clothing.

By comparison with other countries, Australian women of the 1920s enjoyed more freedoms, privileges and rights. For example, in Britain it was only in 1928 that women were awarded the right to vote in national elections whereas Australian women had been voting in federal elections in 1901.

Women were expressing themselves in new fashions and adopting new trends but most of society and politics were still dominated by men. Women wore shorter skirts but still bound their chests tightly to create a more masculine appearance. It is important to recognise that although women in the 1920s enjoyed some newfound freedoms, their roles in society were not

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