How Did Changes in the Law Affect the Lives of Women During 1960s-70s?

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Between the 1960s and 70s, many laws were passed which allowed women to have greater freedom and more choice than they may have done in previous decades. Since the war and during the 1950s, women were treated as inferior to their husbands and were made out to be second class citizens. Their role in society was to get married, have children and stay at home and do cooking and cleaning. However, many women did not want to lead this life as they wanted more than to just be a housewife. This led to many protests and campaigns by women to allow them more rights. These campaigns were often successful in gaining publicity and persuading the government to pass more laws to help women. It became known as the Women’s Liberation Movement. When women social attitudes were that the husband was in charge of everything and the wife should do as he said. Women were not happy about this and wanted to be seen as equivalent to their husbands in the marriage. Women’s protests paid off as many laws surrounding marriages were passed. In 1964 there was the Married Woman’s Property Act which allowed wives to retain half the money they saved from any housekeeping. This was one of the first steps to bigger laws and it meant that wives could now have a small area of independence from their husbands with their own money. This law led on to bigger things such as the Divorce Reform Act which allowed irretrievable breakdown of marriage as sufficient grounds for divorce. This was a huge change to women’s lives as it now meant they could divorce their husband for no other reason than the marriage wasn’t working. This gave them the freedom to make their own choices in the marriage. Another big one that led on from the Divorce Reform Act was the Matrimonial Property Act passed in 1970. This recognised that a wife’s work – inside or outside the home made a financial contribution to married life and
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