History Paper 2- Women

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Discrimination against women

Impact of WW2

7 million worked in factories. 500,000 were in the armed forces.This led to the creation of school meals and convenience foods to allow women to work all day. At the end of the war women were encouraged to give up work. 

Equal Pay Act- 1943

Butler Education Act-1945

Cult of Domesticity

Women were seen as belonging at home as few people thought they could be the main breadwinner. Beveridge Report was based on a working dad and unemployed mum. Advertising encouraged this. 

Changes in Education

Good quality education in grammar schools widened women's horizons.


Women's wages were much lower than men's. In 1940 women only earned 42% of men's wages.

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How much change had taken place for women by 1975?

Contraceptive Pill-1961

Enoch Powell said the pill could be prescribed through the NHS at a subsided price. This gave women more control over their lives and rights of birth control. This meant that they got married later and had children older allowing them more time in education and employment.

Abortion Act-1967

Supported by Labour. Act made abortion legal in UK. Again, gave women more control and power. Opposed by religious groups.

Divorce Reform Act-1969

Labour were much more open to changes. Allowed divorce on the grounds of: Adultery, cruelty, mutual consent (after 2 years) or sole request (after 5 years). 

Equal Pay Act-1970

There was a 50% difference in wages between men and women. Aimed to prevent discrimination, 

Sex Discrimination Act-1975

Protected men and women from gender discrimination relating to employment, education etc.

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Change in roles of women by 1975?

Women's Liberation Movement-1960s/70s

Brought attention to feminist cause. Power to influence how people voted.

European Influence-1973

All countries need to ensure equal work between men and women workers.

Attitude of Labour Government

Supported Divorce reform and abortion act. Legalised homosexual acts.


Private members bill. Way of tackling controversial issues. David Steel's abortion act.


Got more time to go out with growth of domestic appliances. E.G hoovers & washing machines.

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