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How have the rights and freedoms of women changed in the post Wor...

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How have the rights and freedoms of women changed in the post World War II era?

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  • Feb. 28, 2004
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The rights and freedoms of women had changed dramatically in the post World War II era due to the Women's Movement of the 1970s. Prior the Women's Movement women were still limited in their employment opportunities and were restricted and expected by the public to traditional roles of household wives. However the Women's Movement tackled those traditional ideas and fought for the right for women to shape their own destinies. Through their persistence the government responded by the introduction of legislations such as the Maternity Leave Act 1973 and Sex Discrimination Act 1984 to counter gender discrimination.

During my interview with Sarah Jones a 63 year old Australian woman she explained much of how life was like for her and most women who lived during the 1970s. Mrs Jones explained that in the early 1970s Australian women like her were limited in their employment opportunities. Employers chose men over women as their believed that men were more dedicated and loyal to work as well as much more capable than women. Woman who managed to get a job was always paid less than half of the normal wage of a man. Sexual harassment was common in the workplace and in society as a whole. Women were expected to stay home, do the housework and obey their husbands. Divorced women were treated as outsiders with no respect and prejudice. Mrs Jones told me that this made it very difficult for her to be independent as she must rely on her husband to survive. She felt powerless as her husband was the man of the house and made all the decisions. Mrs Jones always had a talent for music however she was never given the chance to develop it. For most women, like Mrs Jones did not have a choice but to get married and try to become good wives, some were victims of domestic violence but were helpless to stop it.

The Women's Movement developed as a response to the injustice and inequity faced by Australian women who saw their needs and talents overlooked. It was a political and...