In the 1920s, how was the "new woman" defined?
Between the 1890’s and the 1920’s the lives of American women changed drastically. This change was most visible for younger women or those in the rich, elitist upper class. Female education was expanding on all fronts, especially secondary school. Women comprised almost 55% of all high school students and nearly 60% of all high school graduates. By 1900 almost every state was admitting women to their universities. The number of female college graduates doubled from 1890 to 1900. More and more women entered the workforce, meaning women were now becoming part of the consumer class as never before. Most strikingly of all, women were becoming more politically active and by the end of the 1920’s they had the right to vote.
This giant shift in women outside of their traditional roles was dubbed “the new woman” by Randolph Bourne of Columbia University.