Women in the 1920’s experienced a significant changed in everything from their role in the home, their clothing, and their social norms. We start to see this change at the end of the 19th century as women begin to pull away from their traditional Victorian norms in order to pursue a life that had more freedoms in terms of sexuality and public roles. The New Woman challenged traditional gender roles by expressing a level of autonomy and individuality that was not common for women before this time period.
The New Woman was typically a younger women who was trying to break away from the expectations of her mother for a new, more modern way of life. Perhaps the most apparent change for the new woman was the increased appearance in the public realm and the work place. Women were now seen in politics, professional sports, textile mills, city factories, clothing stores, and restaurants. Some upper class women were seen attending college and receiving a higher education as a way to better themselves while activists for women’s rights were protesting, organizing, creating women’s clubs, settlement houses, trade unions, and suffrage movements. But typically the new woman was more interested in the commercial entertainment, parties, and a life that was devoted to fun outside the home.
The new woman of the 1920’s represented freedom, opportunity, a change for employment and higher education, and the chance to achieve greatness outside the home that wold receive higher recognition. As their clothing became looser, so did the social constraints placed on them by past generations.