Where this fits
This exercise fits into a unit on the industrial era, to explore the new roles adopted by women during this period. It also serves as an introduction to the study of women's suffrage, by allowing students to see some of the ways that women's roles were changing in the two decades prior to acquiring the vote.

Women in Society -- 1900-1920
Consumerism -- 1900-1920

At the turn of the century women's social roles greatly expanded. Industrial society drew more and more women out of the home and into the worlds of work and public life. Women took new roles in ever greater numbers -- as wage workers, as consumers, as activists and as community leaders. Students can glimpse some of these roles in the photographs and documents in this exercise.

Advertising was quick to announce the arrival of the 'new woman'. Ads portrayed modern women as active, energetic and attractive -- as signs of the modern times. But ads didn't necessarily portray the full range of roles that women were taking at this time.

In the exercise students are asked first to summarize, then compare, two visions of the 'new woman' -- one gleaned from historical documents of the time (photographs, newspaper articles, etc.); and one gleaned from advertisements of the day.