Change and Progress for Australian Women During the 1920’s Essay

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The 1920’s decade has often been characterized as a time of great progress and change, socially, politically and culturally, and was known as the ‘Roaring Twenties’. Women's rights were improved slightly, having more freedom and choices. However, women were still discriminated against and not treated as equal and fairly as men. During the war, many men had to leave the country and fight leaving women to do all the work. This meant the start of women working in positions usually filled by men. This was short lived, as when the men got back and needed jobs again, women could only work in restricted jobs that were seen as ‘appropriate’ for them. These jobs included areas of clothing, textile manufacturing, food preparation, typing and clerical work ( source 3.7). Even though many women attended secondary education, they were still not entitled to equal pay or working conditions as men. Women usually had to work for double the hours to earn the same amount of money a man would earn in half the time. An example of inequality in the workplace is a Sydney spinning mill where the women who operated the looms and worked in dangerous conditions in the middle of machinery that lacked any safety mechanisms. The girls worked a 48hr week for half the pay of men doing the same job. These wage decisions made by the Arbitration Court were made to reinforce that women's place was in the home. Once married, men were expected to be the providers because there was very, very little chance for the woman to find an employment outside the home ( source 3.9) . Not even the Trade union movement stood up for women. On the contrary, they were hostile to women because they feared that women's wages posed as a threat to the working conditions of men. Despite this, women of the 1920’s were a lot more morally and social liberated women than they ever were in times before. This was also

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