The impact of the war on women


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Before the war, the most common
employment for a woman was as a
domestic servant. However, women
were also employed in what were
seen to be suitable occupations e.g.
teaching, nursing, office work.

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The impact of the war on women

  1. 1. The Impact of the War on Women By Mr. John Carlo Castillo-Cabalit AB History
  2. 2. Outline:I. Introduction A. Historical Background a. Women’s role prior to World War 1 b. Women and WW1- Women at the FrontII. Impact of the War on Women A. Woman Campaigning for Right to Vote a. Right to Work i. Christabel Pankhurst
  3. 3. B. Shell Shortage Crisis in 1915 b. Treasury Agreements C. Compulsory Enrolment for National Service.III. After the WarIV. Conclusion
  4. 4. Continue....When war broke out in August 1914,thousands of women were sackedfrom jobs in dressmaking, millineryand jewellery making. They neededwork – and they wanted to help thewar effort.
  5. 5. B. Women and WW1-Women at the FrontDuring 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.
  6. 6. B. Women and WW!-Women at the FrontWomen were assumed to be far more helpless than they were and were also forced to assume a helplessness they didnt feel.  Besides, in plain military terms, theres more sense in sending to the front the citizens physically most fit of any sex rather than only men.  There are abundant comments about the physical unfitness of the last batches of conscripts, many of them working-class men with bodies badly affected by the horrors of industrial work or youths with very little capacity to endure the hardships of the front.  Meanwhile, thousands of women as capable as Sandes and Bochkareva were kept away from the front out of sheer sexist
  7. 7. II. Impact of the War on Women A. Woman campaigning for right to voteSuffragettes stopped all militantaction in order to support the wareffort.
  8. 8. a. Right to Work:At first, there was much trade unionopposition and the employment ofwomen had not increasedsignificantly before the summer of1915. In July 1915, a ‘Right toWork’ ,march was organised by aleading suffragette, ChristabelPankhurst.
  9. 9. B. Shell Shortage Crisis in 1915The shell shortage crisis in 1915began to change the situation.Women were taken on to work inmunitions factories. The governmentdid a deal with the trade unions,known as the Treasury Agreements.The unions agreed to accept femalelabour in place of men ‘for theduration of the war’.
  10. 10. C. Compulsory enrolment for national serviceThe introduction of conscription in1916 led to an increase in thenumber of women employed in allsectors of the economy.
  11. 11. Key points...Many women were paid good wages,especially in munitions factories, butin most cases they were paid lowerrates than men.Improved wages did permit greaterindependence for some women.
  12. 12. Key points...Women became more visible in theworld of work. They were seen to bedoing important jobs.
  13. 13. Key pointsThe armed forces also employedwomen, but the jobs were mainly ofa clerical and domestic nature.
  14. 14. Key pointsWomen were in great demand forthe ‘caring’ side of employment andbecame nurses in the First AidNursing Yeomanry, and drivers andclerks in Voluntary Aid Detachments. VAD’s
  15. 15. III. After the War1 Women were expected to give way to men returning from the forces and return to pre-war ‘women’s work’.2 The assumption that ‘a woman’s place is in the home’ returned.3 The percentage of women at work returned to pre- war levels.4 More women than before worked in offices.
  16. 16. After the War5 Shorter skirts and hair became fashionable.6 Women went out with men without a chaperone.7 Women smoked and wore make-up in public for the first time.8 In 1919: being female or married was no longer allowed to disqualify someone from holding a job in the professions or civil service.•
  17. 17. IV. ConclusionWomens contribution to both wars was significant; though the attitudes towards their contribution were typically paternalistic.
  18. 18. IV. ConclusionStill today, when women are employed as professional soldiers by a number of state armed forces, we tend to believe that war is mans exclusive business.  This is plainly untrue, and has always been so, since war cant be reduced just to combat and, anyway, combat is no longer the sole province of man.
  19. 19. IV. ConclusionThe First World War is of capital importance to understand the connection between women and war in the wide sense of the word - not just war as combat - because it intersects with crucial developments in the history of feminism.  Since women (and Ill refer here mainly to British women) got the vote in 1918, though limited to those over 30, apparently as a way to thank them for their immense contribution to the war effort, WWI is understood to have been a positive event for feminism, with all the contradictions this entails.