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Idea of progress: to what extent were the 60s a decade of progress?

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The Idea of Progress is the theory that the different advances in technology, science, and social organization can produce an improvement in the human condition. That is, people can become happier in terms of quality of life (social progress) through economic development (modernization), and the application of science and technology (scientific progress). We are where we are thanks to improvements realized theses past few years. Our modern-day is under the influence of what happened historically.

So the question which opens to us is to what extent were the 60s a decade of progress ?

To illustrate this notion I chose to focus on a decade of the 20th century in Great Britain, the Swinging Sixties, which spread from 1960 to 1970. Hence we’ll first examine the pride of Fashion during the Swinging Sixties and then the women’s emancipation during that period.

The Swinging Sixties simbolize a period of change in a wide variety of sectors such as technology, fashion, art, music, politic…

First of all, I chose to labour the emergence of fashion during the 60s. Fashion in the decade mirrored many of the social changes of the Sixties. Mary Quant became famous for popularising the mini skirt which became the epitome of 1960s fashion. The mini was designed to be free and liberating for women, allowing them to “run and jump”. Her fashion designs used simple geometric shapes and colours which gave women a new kind of femininity. Women were free to wear more playful, youthful clothes that would have seemed outrageous ten years before. By the late Sixties, psychedelic prints and vibrant colours began appearing on clothes as the hippie movement gathered pace.

Needless to say Fashion has been a step forward for the emancipation of women. Considering Fashion as a way of self-expression, it gave to women more freedom and made them more independent. Besides, the 60s marked a turning point for the Emancipation of women

At the begining of the 60s women were encouraged to stay at home whereas men were working and had to shoulder the family’s financial situation. In a manner of speaking, wifes were under the authority of their husbands. Feminism began to become a more influential ideology as more jobs became available to young women in the Sixties. This allowed them to move away from home and become more independent. The contraceptive pill became legalised for all women in 1967 and gave them the opportunity to broaden their hopes and dreams far beyond motherhood and marriage. The Women’s Liberty movement was in its infancy when in 1968 at a Ford factory in Dagenham, 850 women went on strike, arguing for equal pay with their male co-workers. This action resulted in the passing of the Equal Pay Act of 1970. Furthermore, women were becoming increasingly involved in politics. For example, in 1968, Barbara Castle became the first and only woman to be appointed First Secretary of State and women began finding a voice in society and the running of the country.

To conclude, the 1960s were/was a decade of rapid change. It was the period that finally allowed people the liberty and individuality people had fought for and what we take for granted nowadays. The 1960s have been the hallmark of the idea of Progress by giving an outlook of the world more free. The sixties began bleak and restricted, but

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