Women Empowerment

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Abstract
Over the course of the 20th century, fashion trends have evolved more rapidly than ever before in reflection and connection to the empowerment of women. "Across the decades” was the main approach for this focus group. Asking a compilation of questions to six participants; women possibly even men in distinct decades of life: people in 90’s, 80’s, 70’s, 60’s, 50’s, 40’s, and 30’s.  Questions were made to be answered specifically from their experiences and knowledge over the years; what they saw happening and how our culture was changing in reflection to the uplifting of women in society. The findings from participant’s responses will be examined and used as insight on the topic at hand.

Intro
Fashion trends throughout the 20th century were ever changing due to the major events that took place. With these hasty changes, society had to adapt. Along with the adaptation of these events in history came the women’s movement that started the creation and strong connection to women empowerment.

Certain events in 20th century history have linked to women’s growth in general; more particularly the workforce. Along with these certain events, clothing had to be modified and changed. The women's movement was really about economics and survival, the by-product was women being empowered. With this new sense of rising up to their male counterparts, women’s clothing resembled that power and professionalism.

The information gathered was based upon the participants experience and knowledge. What is seen as acceptable now wouldn’t have been years ago. The way women dress tends to lead to the way they are perceived in everyday life as well as the workforce.

Methodology findings
The researcher conducted a thirty-five question focus group. Some of the questions being research based investigated by Cazenovia College’s library databases; while the remainder of the questions were based upon participants personal experience and knowledge of the topic. The focus group included six participants for one hour per respondent. The focus group was conducted over a five week time period. All of the respondents were females of ages ranging twenty-one to sixty-two. Having females of all ages perspectives on the matter gave the researcher a clear consensus of the evolution of women based upon trends, careers and events in 20th century history. The researcher finalized their findings by coding the results in a word processed document to come up with a conclusion.

Results

Job Market and Fashion Trends in the 1930’s and 40’s
Two major events in American history took place within the duration of the 1930’s and 40’s; the Great Depression and WWII. Thus, all participants were in agreement that the job market for women was quite limited to pink collar jobs i.e.: office jobs, nursing, store clerks, secretaries etc. Jobs were basically service oriented, and did not require additional education. At that time, a high school diploma gave a woman all the typing and office skills she would need.

Fashion in the 30’s and 40’s reflected a depressed era and a nation coming out of WWI and going into WWII. All participants acknowledged that fashion was practical and was a time of adaptation for women. Certain materials and fabrics were expensive and not readily available since US resources were being focused on the war efforts and needs base. Both women and men had more ready to wear clothing.

Job Market and Fashion Trends in the 1950’s and 60’s
The woman’s movement was in full swing and their voice was being heard. While women were pushing their boundaries men were trying to keep up and their roles within a family were changing. Households had more material things – which increased the need for two people to work in a family, which meant family life began changing.

Post war, women were encouraged to become educated post high school and become a wage earning part of their families. The technical world was changing and...
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