1920 in 2019

The 20s are gone. Forever. I’m now 30. I’ll tell you a tiny bit about that and a bigger bit about the first-wave of feminism.

A 1920s themed party in Warsaw was a perfect way to celebrate not only because it was the end of my 20s but also because I love that period in history and it simply made sense considering it’s 2019 (I am not a numerologist).


So what happens when you hit 30? I’m not sure you would notice the difference if nobody said you were supposed to. People (especially women) kept telling me that you get more comfortable within your own skin and stop caring about others’ opinions. Essentially you become more you. But I feel like that has been a work in progress for at least the last decade. If the number 30 is defining then I would say yes, I’m more me now than ever. But I’m more me every year. When I do grow up that’s all I want to be. Even though we all are just walking blobs of collective experiences and layers of inherited ideas. Everything you know and are is how you’ve processed what you’ve been told. Innit.


The 20s might be a defining period for an individual but they were also a revolutionary time in history. So. Much. Shit. Happened!

  • The invention of the radio and movies

  • Mass consumerism; especially automobiles (Model T Ford car $260)

  • Mass culture

  • Booming industry (also a consequential stock market crash proceeding the Great Depression)

  • Golden age in African American culture in New York known as the Harlem Renaissance

  • The Jazz Age

  • Art déco (art déco interior design!)

  • Dynamic progress in Sport

  • Flappers, oh flappers!


No wonder the French refer to this period as années folles ('crazy years').


Now, most importantly for me the 1920s was when the first wave of feminism flourished. During World War I, women had to do all the jobs that men used to do as men were busy killing each other. After the war there was no going back to how things used to be. Although some countries were ahead of the game already, women’s right to vote was a decisive moment in equality. Examples


1893 - New Zealand

1906 - Finland

1917 - Armenia, Russian Republic, Estonia, the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia

1918 - Poland, Austria, Sweden, Azerbaijan

1919 - Germany, Luxembourg, Southern Rhodesia (today: Zimbabwe)

1920 - United States, Czechoslovakia (today: Czechia, Slovakia)

1928 - United Kingdom (interestingly, partial suffrage was granted in 1918. Until 1928 only women at the age of 30 or with property qualifications or university graduates could vote, while men could vote at 21 with no qualifications)

1944 - France, Jamaica, Bermuda

1947 - Japan, China, India, Pakistan

1971 - Switzerland, Bangladesh

2015 - Saudi Arabia


The list isn’t exhaustive of course. I just picked some examples to show you the disparity. From what you know about world history (which I know isn’t much in most cases, no offence, there is a lot to know) you probably wouldn’t think that countries such as Poland or Azerbaijan were much more progressive for women’s rights at the time than the United Kingdom or the United States. Oh history!



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