The Vote and New Freedoms
Women in the Workforce
In 1920, as women finally gained the right to vote thanks to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the US, they were finding newfound freedoms in other areas as well. You have probably seen photos of flappers – young women with hair cut into bobs and short fringy dresses. These flappers were a sharp break with tradition for women’s hair and fashion. Suddenly, it was more commonplace for women in the “Roaring Twenties” to be found drinking and smoking in public. The reality was that most young women in that time period were not completely out of control, though many did sport the fashionable flapper fashions. Millions of women were working in offices doing jobs like stenography and had money of their own, allowing them the financial freedom to participate in the growing consumer society. This era also ushered in some industrial and technological advances, so appliances like the washing machine and vacuum cleaner helped ease the burden of household work.
Women’s liberation made a great leap in the 1920s. Both genders sought fresh rules and roles following the Great War. While the soldiers had been overseas fighting in the war, women were needed in the factories and workplaces to keep things running. Once the war ended, they were reluctant to go back to their former roles as housewives like the government expected them to do. Many women found work in a variety of occupations, like telephone operators, typists, retail sales, etc. These jobs typically did not pay as well as men’s jobs. The number of women working outside the home increased from 7 million in 1919 to almost 11 million in 1929. This increase marked a drastic change for the role of women in society.
History.com Staff. “The Roaring Twenties.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2010, www.history.com/topics/roaring-twenties.
hope, Infinite. “Peeking through the looking glass.” America in the 1920s, 1 Jan. 1970, peekingthroughthelookingglass.blogspot.com/2013/06/america-in-1920s.html.