Womens New Opportunities Thanks To The War History Essay
It has been long said that women are not allowed to do hard work, as they are to be kind and graceful. The position of women in society was to be a nice wife and mother and she was taught for this from infancy. Girls were taught to look good, cook, and make the chores in the house, while schooling was considered to be just for boys, because they role was to be prepared in order to support his future family. A few women actually worked, but generally just cleaning, teacher, secretary or doing gentle occupations like domestic service for wealthier families. It was quite unusual for women who had an average economical status to go to work, especially the ones who were married. But when war as there were no men available to work, were employed and were able to demonstrate their potential out of the house environment, they were just as skillful as men to do hard work
But after war women’s role in society changed. Because men were demanded to fight, women were required more and more to take men’s place in work. At the beginning only women who volunteered worked, but as the necessity grew more women felt under more pressure to work in several varied jobs. By the mid times of war, every fit woman less than forty years old were compulsory to work, in order to support the economy instability, that war had caused. Even though the poor situation they lived in; small food portions; the distance between loved family members; a lot of women realized that there were new opportunities coming up to them that created in them confidence and a sense of purpose which they did not have before.
It was the first time when large varieties of jobs were accessible to women. Women were in employment in factories, producing ammunition.
It was when the armed forces realized that they needed to provide work for women in order to free the men to be able to participate actively in the service. Even though women were supported when it came to join the services, particularly young and single women, but until 1941 Great Britain became the first country to enlist women, to take part in war labor. In the beginning this only applied to single women between the ages of 18 and 26, but later the age range was extended and women from the age of 18 and 51 years old were incorporated, except if they had kids under the age of fourteen, then war work was voluntary. Women who were forced into the military were able to choose between working in the services in civilian defense or in industry. Those who could not be able to work were to take care of the children of the women who were working.
With this new situation a lot of women felt very happy. They had seen the makes in their families go to fight in wars and had felt useless, but when they started to work they knew that they were able of 'doing their bit'. A lot of the women loved the new feeling of freedom and independence that came along with the fact of having jobs of their own. Another thing that women enjoyed about work was to get to know other women who earned money by themselves and the feeling that they were capable to take part in a helpful way in the war effort.
Women's division of the army was named the Auxiliary Territorial Service,( ATS). It was created in 1938 17,000 women volunteers had signed up. This number became bigger to over 200,000 by the next five years. The new women were sent to camps for their basic training. Here they slept in the forest, learnt how to march and follow orders and maintained the camp scrubbed clean. At the end of the four weeks of training they had to go through written and practical tests in order to find out in which area of the military was the best for them to work in.
Women weren’t authorized to go into fight, to shoot that was only for men besides, they worked in the same activities as the men and earned the same income. They drove cars and they also had to know how to maintain and repair the vehicles. The ATS anti-aircraft teams were in charge of watching out for the enemy’s aircraft. They tracked them with radars, picked them out with searchlights and pointed the anti-aircraft guns towards them, but just the men were permitted to fire the guns
Then it was also the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS), by the time when the war ended there were some 74,000 Wrens, doing jobs that had up to that time been done by men. But, in this service, the WRNS did not give women the same wage and importance as men. Women were prohibited on the ships that were required to go into service, however the WRNS commanded and team the powerful port launches frequently departing in all types of conditions in order to collect survivors or casualties that were lost in the sea or an attacked ship. The boat teams as well were useful as coastal mine finders.
Another of the WRNS task was to load torpedoes in the submarines and in manoeuvring battle movement in rooms of operation. WRNS were qualified to weld and as a carpenters, repairing and taking care of ships in naval bases. Office work, they learnt the proper communications and signals, weather forecasting, engineering, radar operating, mechanics and driving. Along with the WAAF and the ATS, all women learned new abilities and performed tasks that would’ve never be heard of before the war.
Women also had a division in the air force, the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force). It was first created in 1938 when the war seemed more likely to occur. At the beginning women were able to volunteer to join the WAAF, as they eager to participate in the war. But in 1941 it was compulsory for women to be part of the WAAF. By the end of1943 bout 183,000 women were in the WAAF.
Just like in the other divisions the WAAF prohibited women to go into fight. While on the other hand, women were skilled as pilots and were a significant part in Air Transport. They used to fly from to factories to fields and in linking airfields.
Another job in the WAAF was operating radars to notify if an enemy’s aircraft approached; knowing how to fix aircraft; packing parachutes. WAAFs were trained to work as fitters and electricians; the most skilled job in the RAF. They played a key role in interpreting photographs of the enemy’s targets before a attacking, and they interviewed the crews when they came back from a bombing attack.
One of the most difficult, physically demanding and dreadful jobs to be done by women in the army was the procedure of balloon sites. This included elevating the weighty bombardment balloons that were set up in great quantities to make it hard for the enemies who flew low aircraft to approach. In the early 1941 women began practicing to command this job. Eventually they commanded over 1,000 sites all over Britain. Teams of 16 women took the place of men’s teams, whose job was to lift and lower the huge barrage of balloons. These balloons purpose was to held cables in order to keep the enemy’s aircraft above an specific height, therefore preventing that the enemy wont get to close to attack and making it easier to fire at them. Just like in the ATS, the WAAF paid the same wages to women and men and both had the same status. They were seen as equal.
But not only dangerous jobs were available for women. With the nation at war and all healthy men needed to fight, there was a lack of employment to work on fields, farm and in jobs related on the land. At at that time it was getting more and more complicated to obtain groceries imported from out of the country, so further land was required to be farmed in order to provide home-made food. The Women's Land Army provided much of the work force to work this land.
One of the ad’s slogan said, 'For a healthy, happy job join The Women's Land Army'. But actually, the work was difficult and polluted. A few of the girls were trained previous to sending them to farms. The Timber Corps was arranged in order to teach women to make pit props, essential for working in mines, which then had to be filled onto lorries and taken to the places where mines were located..
The girls that worked in the land army, took care of the animals, ploughed the land, harvested the crops, collected potatoes, and killed the plague worked for 48 hours weekly during winter and 50 hours weekly during the summer. Because there wasn’t enough equipment to do their work they often worked with old fashioned machinery, like horse drawn hand ploughs, and to harvest crops by hand.
With the need for electric equipment, aircraft, ammunition and no male workers left, many factories had to employ women. The majority of the women who worked there were married, as they were able to work near to their homes and take care of their families. With the new employees, factories recognized that women needed some one to take care of the children while they were working, so factories made and crèches for the kids of their employees.
In the factories, women made fuses and shells, set up guns and tested them in special areas at the factory, built aircraft, engines and pieces for ships and submarines, electrical components, making parachutes and army equipment.
Word Count : 1820
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