Unit 9 Women and American Culture 1920s Worksheet You must complete the entire worksheet and use the images document to answer stuff on the worksheet. Don’

Unit 9 Women and American Culture 1920s Worksheet You must complete the entire worksheet and use the images document to answer stuff on the worksheet. Don’t plagiarize. you can use online sources to help you answer the questions. Anwser on worksheet. Name:_____________________
Lesson #7: Women’s Liberation – 1920s
Date:________________
US History – Unit 9: WWI and Aftermath
Aim: On a scale of 1 to 5, to what extent did women become totally free during the 1920s? [1 = not free at all / 5 = totally
free]
Essential Question: To what extent did World War 1 and the Roaring Twenties expand the national identity?
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Activity #2: Women and American Culture – Document Analysis
Directions: An
What information does this document reveal about the transformation of women’s lives happening in the
Document 1
1920s?
Flapper Girls
Document 2
Birth Control
What information does this document reveal about the transformation of women’s lives happening in the
1920s?
Document 3
Equal Rights
Amendment
What information does this document reveal about the transformation of women’s lives happening in the
1920s?
Document 4
Women in the
Workplace
What information does this document reveal about the transformation of women’s lives happening in the
1920s?
Name:_____________________
Lesson #7: Women’s Liberation – 1920s
Date:________________
US History – Unit 9: WWI and Aftermath
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Exit Ticket
Directions: Use evidence from the lesson to answer the Aim Question below.
On a scale of 1 to 5, to what extent did women become totally free during the 1920s? [1 = not free at all / 5 =
totally free]
Document #1: Flapper Girls
th
When the 19 Amendment was passed in 1920, the long battle for suffrage was finally over. Women had won the
right to vote. As the 1920s roared along, many young women of the age wanted to have fun and explore their newfound
freedoms.
Flappers were northern, urban, single, young, middle-class women. Many held steady jobs in the changing
American economy. The clerking jobs that blossomed in the Gilded Age were more numerous than ever. Increasing
phone usage required more and more operators. The consumer-oriented economy of the 1920s saw a burgeoning
number of department stores. Women were needed on the sales floor to relate to the most precious customers — other
women. But the flapper was not all work and no play.
The flapper girl had an unmistakable look. The long hair of Victorian-era women lay on the floors of beauty parlors
has young women cut their hair to shoulder length. Hemlines of dresses rose so that a woman’s leg was exposed up to
the knee, something that was perceived as promiscuous and overly sexual at the time. The cosmetics industry boomed
as women used make-up in large numbers. Flappers bound their chests and wore high heels. Clara Bow, Hollywood’s
“It” Girl, captured the flapper image for the nation to see.
Many women celebrated the age of the flapper as a female declaration of independence. Experimentation with new
looks, jobs, and lifestyles seemed liberating [freeing] compared with the socially silenced woman in the Victorian Age.
The flappers chose activities to please themselves, not a father or husband. But critics were quick to elucidate the
shortcomings of flapperism. The political agenda embraced by the previous generation was largely ignored until the
feminist revival of the 1960s. Many wondered if flappers were expressing themselves or acting like men. Smoking,
drinking, and sexual experimentation were characteristic of the modern young woman. Short hair and bound chests
added to the effect. One thing was certain: Despite the potential political and social gains or losses, the flappers of the
1920s sure managed to have a good time.
Smoking: Before the 1920s, only men smoked cigarettes in
public. It was considered “unladylike” to smoke. During the
1920s, however, smoking became a symbol of the female
liberation from traditional gender stereotypes.
Fashion: Before the 1920s, it was considered extremely
promiscuous (i.e. naughty) for women to show even their ankle.
During the 1920s, flapper girls became famous for showing off
the bottom part of their legs. It was considered a way to display
freedom and independence as well as to make the guys go wild.
Document #2: Birth Control Movement and Margaret Sanger
Margaret Sanger devoted her life to legalizing birth control and making it universally available to women. Born in
1879, Sanger came of age during the heyday of the Comstock Act, a federal statute that criminalized any form of
contraceptives [devices that allow for sexual intercourse while preventing pregnancy] (including condoms). Starting in
the 1910s, Sanger actively challenged federal and state Comstock Laws to bring birth control information and
contraceptive devices to women. Her highest ambition was to find the perfect contraceptive to relieve women from the
horrible strain of repeated, unwanted pregnancies.
As a young woman, Sanger found work in New York City as a visiting nurse on the Lower East Side. It was there
that Sanger saw her personal tragedy writ large in the lives of poor, immigrant women. Lacking effective
contraceptives, many women, when faced with another unwanted pregnancy, resorted to five-dollar back-alley
abortions. She soon began to shift her attention from nursing to the need for better contraceptives.
Sanger began to devote more and more of her time to her mission. In 1914 she coined the term “birth control” and
soon began to provide women with information and contraceptives. Arrested in 1915 for sending diaphragms [a type
of female contraceptive] through the mail and arrested in 1916 for opening the first birth control clinic in the country,
Sanger would not be intimidated by law enforcement or Christian fundamentalists who believed that she was doing
illegal and even evil work. In 1921 she founded the American Birth Control League, the precursor to the Planned
Parenthood Federation, and spent her next three decades campaigning to bring safe and effective birth control into the
American mainstream.
In the end, the birth control movement was an expression of the general expansion of women’s independence
during the 1920s. By controlling when, how, and by whom they got pregnant, women saw birth control as a way to
determine their own future regardless of the wants and desires of their husband or significant other. The growing
availability of effective birth control also contributed tremendously to the growing number of couples who were having
more sex purely for fun. In the nineteenth century, many married couples only had sex to produce offspring. Now, sex
was something to enjoy, for both men and women.
Margaret Sanger (1879-1966)
Example of Birth Control Advertisement (1924)
Document #3: Equal Rights Amendment
th
When the 19 Amendment was passed in 1920, the long battle for suffrage was finally over. Women had won the
right to vote. However, many within the suffrage movement believed that more needed to be done in order to ensure
full equality for women.
As the 1920s roared on, the long-standing division between two competing conceptions of woman’s freedom – one
based on motherhood, the other on individual autonomy and the right to work – now crystallized in the debate over an
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution promoted by Alice Paul and the National Women’s Party. This
amendment proposed to eliminate all legal distinctions “on account of sex.” In Paul’s opinion, the ERA followed
logically from winning the right to vote. Having gained political equality, she insisted, women no longer required
special legal protection – they needed equal access to employment [jobs], education, and all other opportunities of
citizens. To supporters of mothers’ pensions and laws limiting women’s hours of labor, which the ERA would sweep
away, the proposal represented a giant step backward. Apart from the National Women’s Party, every major female
organization, from the League of Women Voters to the Women’s Trade Union League, opposed the ERA.
In the end, none of these groups achieved success in the 1920s. The ERA campaign failed, as many conservative
women as well as a majority of men saw it as a dangerous and radical step toward achieving total equality between the
sexes.
Text of the Equal Rights Amendment (1923)
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged
[limited] by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate
legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of
ratification.
Alice Paul
Alice Paul first became an activist fighting for suffrage.
After the nineteenth amendment, she continued to fight
for women’s rights and equality.
Women Protesting the Equal Rights Amendment
Many conservative women believed that the ERA would
force them to find a job outside the home and destroy
the family.
Document #4: Women in the Workplace
Women began getting even more involved in the workforce throughout the 1920s and there was a growing appeal to
work. However, the concept of “pink collar” jobs was introduced into society during this time as well. Society was
accepting women into average jobs, however, most assumed that it was necessary for women to work feminine type of
positions. These occupations were those such as secretary work or telephone operators. They were also highly
underpaid at that time for the amount of work they were doing but equal payment laws weren’t yet in effect. Thus it was
excusable at the time.
The pink collar status was still relevant in post-college level careers as well. At this point in history women had
already been accepted as educated and college educated, however career options for women were more focused on
education, nursing, fashion, and social work. Still there were some women who found successful careers as lawyers,
journalists or doctors however it was difficult and rare for a woman to find these fields as successful as men.
Many women through the 1920s managed to work and manage the home, however the majority of women remained
in the house as housewives or mothers. This time in society also believed that women should raise children according to
how psychiatrists and doctors advise them rather than previous parenting methods.
Secretary: This was the most common job for women in the 1920s.
Those who chose to work rather than remain as the household wife
or mother oftentimes found themselves working in offices or as a
secretary.
Telephone Operator: Another popular job for young women in the
1920s was a telephone operator. The telephone was a new piece of
technology and direct calls from phone to phone was not yet
possible. Instead, Americans would call an operator who would
answer and then connect the caller to the person receiving the call.
Phone companies found that having a delicate female voice
transferring calls would provide a better experience for customers.
(Fun Fact: Mr. Masterson’s grandmother was a phone operator).
School Teacher: In the 1920s, more American women than ever
before received a college education. However, since many high
paying professional jobs were only open to men (doctor, lawyer),
many educated women went into school teaching.

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