After decades of activism, national women’s suffrage was enshrined in the Constitution. As the new decade began, the question became, “now what?”
This rapid shift in culture encouraged women from Harlem to Florida and from California to North Carolina to push the traditional boundaries of womanhood, reshaping American society along the way. Women contributed to government policymaking, organized labor leadership, creative movements, and international sports. Women achieved recognition in impressive and public ways. They went to school in higher numbers, published books and plays, acted in movies, and participated on both sides of the prohibition debate.
At the same time, women encountered many of the same restrictions they faced in earlier eras. The vast majority of women were still centered in the home. Domestic life and labor, including childcare, cleaning, and cooking shaped most women’s days. For women of color, this daily toil included ensuring the family’s safety in the face of nationwide racism. While the Jazz Age seemingly provided opportunities for all, those opportunities looked different for different kinds of women.
For more information about women’s roles in the cultural shifts of the 1920s, watch the video below.