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Life For Women In Australia Changed Greatly During The 20th Century. Discuss This Statement.

1381 words - 6 pages

In the modern age, many privileges and rights that are fundamental to women are major landmarks in the evolution of the society. These changes greatly contrast with the plight of women in the early 1900's. This rapid transformation from 'rags to riches' has been achieved in a hard fought political and social battle. The motive of these protest movements was to gain equality for ordinary women in the attitudes of the Australian society, in the family and the workplace. Victory in this conflict has inculcated self esteem and moral of a very high degree. It has also reshaped the role and importance of women in the Australian society.Life for women has been changing rapidly over the past 100 years. This variation in their lifestyles has been stimulated and is closely linked with the constantly changing roles of women in the society. In Australia, life for women was filled with hardships from 1878 to the late 1950's. During this period, the life of a female was governed by traditional rules and regulations of the society. These customs primarily recognized women as efficient mothers and housewives within the family structure. Women were made to conform to these rules, which, most of the time were harsh, ruthless and illogical. Examples include the dress system, which was based on the English tradition. Women were required to wear heavy and uncomfortable clothes which were worn even during the hotter weathers. This was because the Australian society was trying to mimic the British lifestyle. The social infrastructure did little to equip women with status and respect. Though females worked very hard to fulfill these religious and social obligations, they were considered to be a minority and therefore inferior to their male counterparts.The society of the mid 19th century period was insensitive to women despite the fact that they were the fundamental element contributing to a successful family. Mothers rose early, slept late and worked with primitive equipment making jobs such as cooking, washing clothes, looking after small children and cleaning the household very labor intensive. Women were virtually slaves, caring and efficiently fulfilling their obligations. However, they were denied the basic privileges of life such as voting, not being considered for Australian citizenship. It follows that they had no right to determine Australia's future development. Apart from this, women were vulnerable to the dangers that prowled in the outside world. They were also very insecure and unstable in the professional workforce. The fact that women worked longer hours for less than half the pay given to men is enough to reveal the discrimination prevalent against them. In 1901 just 20% of the workers were women and most of them were unmarried. It was in 1909 that the 'Court of Conciliation and Arbitration' set the minimum wage of a female to 54% of the male wage. When a female got married the most rewarding jobs were closed to them because it was thought that they...

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