In what ways did the role of women change from the 1920s to the 1970s?

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A tremendous change in the role of women in the United States came about in 1963 with the publication of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, who at last put words to what had until then (through the 1950s and 60s) been a growing discontent with the stereotypical role that...

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A tremendous change in the role of women in the United States came about in 1963 with the publication of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, who at last put words to what had until then (through the 1950s and 60s) been a growing discontent with the stereotypical role that women had held up to that point, mainly as wives, mothers, and overseers of their households, to the abandonment of any self-actualizing goals of their own. It was simply understood by the populace at large after the Second World War, when men and women came home from overseas and/or got back to "normal" life after all the work in the war effort, and the baby boomer generation was born (so named because of all the babies born in the years immediately following the end of World War II), that a woman's place was in the home, making it a home for her family—very much along the lines of June Cleaver in the TV show Leave It to Beaver or even Ricky and Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy.

Friedan's treatise on the discontent that many women felt at having set aside their own dreams for personal and career fulfillment wrought a massive shift in the culture and ultimately saw the further development of women's rights, the "free love" sexual revolution (complete with the creation and distribution of birth control and a sudden rise in the instances of cohabitation before and/or without marriage), and the return en masse of women to the workplace to achieve their own personal and career goals for the first time.

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The most significant change in the role of women in the United States occurred in 1920 with the passage of the nineteenth amendment, which gave women the right to vote. In this day and age it is very difficult indeed to imagine that women did not have this right until well into the 20th century.

You see the effect of this change during significant election cycles. Since women comprise a large segment of the voting population, politicians have to take their concerns into account or risk losing their votes. The fact that they have electoral power is at least partly responsible for legislation about equal pay, abortion, and other issues that have a particular effect on women.

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