Should women be allowed to wear pants? It was a topic of contention in Australian parliament in 1933

Tue, 16 Jan 2024 03:38:10 +1100

Andrew Pam <xanni [at]>

Andrew Pam

"In 1933, trousers rocked Australia.

They had entered the 20th century as a symbol of masculinity. Essential to the
suit, trousers exuded power, professionalism and authority for the men who wore

But increasing numbers of Australian women had begun to slip on slacks.

Pants on women were immodest, some shouted. Others shuddered at what they
considered unbecoming and unfeminine attire.

At the heart of the concern for women in slacks that rippled around Australia –
including parliament where senators deliberated over whether they should be
banned from Parliament House that year – was the challenge to gender norms.

(Women in pants would not be banned from entering Parliament House, though the
requirement for “proper attire” meant they could be denied admission to the
Senate galleries.)

For the women who adopted trousers, they meant something different: freedom of
movement and steps towards equality."

       *** Xanni ***
--               Andrew Pam                 Chief Scientist, Xanadu            Partner, Glass Wings               Manager, Serious Cybernetics

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