Why did women's status change during the Roaring Twenties?

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It is , of course, very difficult to know why changes in societal attitudes come about.  We can speculate, but it is impossible to know for certain.  There were a number of changes that had been occurring in the decades leading up to the 1920s that helped to change the role of women.  Among these were:

  • Increases in leisure time.  In decades past, women (and men, for that matter) had had much less time for leisure.  They had to do much more work, partly because of the nature of economic activity and partly because of the lack of technology.  In the early 20th century, however, white collar jobs became more common as did labor-saving devices in the home.  Both of these gave more women more time for leisure.
  • Increases in leisure opportunities.  The 1920s were a time when there were more things that people could do for fun.  They could watch movies.  They could go driving in cars.  They could go to speakeasies.  All of these things meant that there were more opportunities for women to have fun outside the home.
  • Changes in economic life.  More women came to work outside the home in the 1920s as things like secretarial positions opened up.  This meant that women were involving themselves more in life outside the home.

All of these things helped lead to changes in the role of women.  Most importantly, they increased the sense that women could and should play some role other than that of housewife.  They made women more a part of public life than they had previously been.

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