1970s

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Role of women in society

The presence and rise of a significant number of women as heads of state and heads of government in a number of countries across the world, many being the first women to hold such positions, such as Soong Ching-ling continuing as the first Chairwoman of the People’s Republic of China until 1972, Isabel Martínez de Perón as the first woman President in Argentina in 1974 until being deposed in 1976, Elisabeth Domitien becomes the first woman Prime Minister of Lesotho, Indira Gandhi continuing as Prime Minister of India until 1977, Lidia Gueiler Tejada becoming the interim President of Bolivia beginning from 1979 to 1980, Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo becoming the first woman Prime Minister of Portugal in 1979, and Margaret Thatcher becoming the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

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Feminism

The Feminist Movement in the United States which began in the 1960s carried over to the 1970s, and took a prominent role within society. Even musically, the women’s movement had its shining moment. Australian-American singer Helen Reddy recorded the song “I Am Woman “, which became an anthem for the women’s liberation movement.

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Music

It was more variety in music in the 1970s than ever before. Music listeners had dozens of genres to choose from and many of them rose to popularity at different points during the decade. Funk, Soul, R&B, Pop, Hard Rock, Soft Rock and Disco all carved out their place in the music world in the 1970s. The Bee Gees exploded into the music world, selling more records than anyone thought possible. They also were the ushers for the disco era, as it was in full swing in 1978. The soundtrack for the movie Saturday Night Fever sold nearly 30 million copies. Jazz received a surge of popularity produced by the President. Jimmy Carter invited over 30 jazz instrumentalists to come play on the White House lawn on June 18. Some of the musicians invited were Herbie Hancock, Benny Carter, and Chick Corea. The president hailed jazz as America’s own original music.

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Film

Oscar winners of the decade were Patton (1970), The French Connection (1971), The Godfather (1972), The Sting (1973), The Godfather Part II (1974), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Rocky (1976), Annie Hall (1977), The Deer Hunter (1978), and Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). The top ten highest-grossing films of the decade are (in order from highest to lowest grossing): Star Wars, Jaws, Grease, The Exorcist, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, The Godfather, Saturday Night Fever, Rocky, and Jaws 2.

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Fashion

Clothing styles during the 1970s were influenced by outfits seen in popular music groups and in Hollywood films. Much of the 1970s fashion styles were influenced by the hippie movement. Bell-bottomed pants remained popular throughout the decade. These combined with turtle necked shirts and flower-prints to form the characteristic 1970s look. In the latter part of the decade, this gave way to three-piece suits, in large part because of the movie “Saturday Night Fever “.

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