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Did WW1 Change The Status Of Women?

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World War One had a large impact on the people of the 20th century, especially the women. Women all over North America and Europe felt the change in society, the change in the workplace and the changes of the woman's status.

Preliminary Research:

Duffy, Michael . "First World War.com - Feature Articles - Women and WWI - Introduction." First World War.com - A Multimedia History of World War One. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2010. <http://www.firstworldwar.com/

"During the war women were to be found mostly at the home front while a minority went close to the actual fronts where the war was being fought, some even into combat" -this seems to be the general idea about the placement of women through out the war.

"The only woman soldier enlisted in the British Army managed the feat by passing herself off as a man. Dorothy Lawrence, a 20-year-old ambitious journalist, joined in 1915 the B.E.F. Tunnelling Company using the alias Denis Smith, aided by some sympathetic men. She gave herself in after only 10 days worried about the safety of these men and had to endure an absurd interrogatory, as the authorities assumed she was a 'camp follower', that is to say, a prostitute, a term she misunderstood." - this quote emphasizes the absurdity of a women entering the armed forces - shows the 'average' placement of women and the role that they were 'expected' to play: possibly prostitutes and certainly not at the front lines

Women were assumed to be much more helpless than men and some were 'pushed' into felling more helpless and weak than they actually felt

"Voluntary Aid Detachment needn't be women but most were. Between 1914 and 1918 about 38,000 worked as auxiliary nurses, ambulance drivers and cooks both in the hospitals of the home front and the units of the Western front under the stern rule of Commander-in-Chief Katharine Furse, the woman who took the first VAD units to France." during the war-these­were the roles of women who actually worked IN the war, there were still many who took over the jobs of men at home.

"In any case, the culminating point for women's lives in relation to the Great War was the passage of the Qualification of Women Act of 1917 and the Representation of the People Act of 1918, by which in the general election of 1918 women over 30 could for the first time vote and be elected Mps." -a crucial aspect of the changes that happened to women due to the impact of the war- more and more evidence is presenting itself as to why the social changes were occurring

"Approximately 1,600,000 women joined the workforce between 1914 and 1918 in Government departments, public transport, the post office, as clerks in business, as land workers and in factories, especially in the dangerous munitions factories, which were employing 950,000 women by Armistice Day"-

Women were taking over men's jobs- women surprised men with their ability to do the task that previously only men completed.- men were shocked that women were so efficient in taking over their jobs and even doing things like heavy lifting or other manual labour.

When the men returned home from being at war, the women were often forced to give up their jobs that they had just acquired- some resentment may have been felt, but the pain of losing loved ones took over many of the women's emotions

Goldstein, Joshua S.. War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Print.

"The more than 25,000 US women who served in Europe in World War I did so on an entrepreneurial basis, especially before 1917. They helped nurse the wounded, provide food and other supplies to the military, serve as telephone operators (the "Hello Girls"), entertain troops, and work as journalists." --this seemed to be the average job for women, they were put into positions that were very 'woman oriented'

"The armies of twentieth-century total war depended on women in new ways, not only within the army (see pp. 64-76, 88-92) but in the civilian workforce (and in addition to the ongoing responsibilities of women for domestic, reproductive, and sexual work). In 1914, feminist Carrie Chapman Catt warned that "[war falls on the women most heavily, and more so now than ever before.""

"In World War I Britain, about 1 million mostly lower-class women worked in munitions jobs. They were called "munitionettes" or "Tommy's sister." Unlike nurses, the munitions workers could not profess pacifism(--a peaceful way of dealing with issues--) since their work directly contributed to the fighting. In fact, in 1918, Scottish women working at a shell factory raised money and bought a warplane for the air force. However, the munitionettes' main motivation was financial, contrary to the popular belief that it was patriotic. The women found the wages "at first liveable and later lucrative." Compared with domestic work, war work "offered escape from jobs of badly paid drudgery." However, although they earned more than they would have doing women's work, the women received nowhere near the fortunes they had been led to expect when deciding to take war work.139"-- this was a beginning step to the movement of women into the work force--a place where it was outrageous to be in through a man's eyes but for many women it felt very fitting

This happiness seems dubious as a general proposition (see pp. 384-85), but for some individuals it must have been true. One woman wrote that she was "nearly mad with joy" at being sent to Serbia to do war work. Women at the front used very different language than those at home - receiving, in the words of one, "something hidden and secret and supremely urgent … .you are in another world, and … given new senses and a new soul."174""--for the very few women that got to work in and during the war, they found it very liberating, much more rewarding that their regular home lives-- this is a reflection of the way women will feel after all of their rights and job opportunities are filled(current times)

Haberman, Arthur, and Adrian Shubert. The West and the World Contacts Conflicts Connections. Toronto: Gagelearning, 2002. Print.

"these women are doing their bit"(poster) pg 335--this type of poster was used to convince women to take over the mens factory jobs. -- "transform" was a term used to describe the way that women had to adapt to their new jobs

Pg338 -- "(women) became much more important in industries" ** 100,000 women workers in 1913 over 700,000 women workers in 1918

The women who moved into mens job were generally from the working class --yet they knew that these jobs would only be temporary --when the men returned they were fired immediately and those who stayed were greatly criticised


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