The women's movement began in Europe and the United States before spreading to other parts of the world. In both world war's in the late 19th and early 20th centuries job opportunities for women expanded when a shortage of available men meant women were required to be more than just a housewife in society. Due to the political and economical changes many had the opportunity to work in careers that would have been originally denied or frowned upon. When men returned from war, most women were expected to give up their jobs. The experience of appointing different positions in society surged the women's rights movement in that it changed women's attitudes towards believing the type of work they were capable of taking on was more than being a housewife. The first wave of feminism's main goal was to gain women the right to vote and inturn have the ability to make a difference, and in some countries, such as Australia, the movement succeeded.
But although Australian women gained political rights in the early 1900's, they did not succeed in entering the federal parliament until 1943, four decades later. Although the suffragists had spoken eloquently about the need for women to take their share in "housekeeping the state", by 1959, sixty years after they were first eligible to vote and to sit in an Australian parliament, only 24 women had become parliamentarians.