WWI women

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HSC Modern History, WWI and its impact on women in Britain

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  • According to the 1911 census, the population of England and Wales was 36,070,492.
    Also, conscription during World War I began when the British government passed the Military Service Act in 1916.
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  • however the slideshow does hold some great and useful information than can be used
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  • wow i cant believe how unreliable this slide show is 7 million women working in 1918 that was more than 2 million over the total population and conscription was never brought forward ever during world war 1 there were 2 referendums and both were defeated
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WWI women

  1. 1. The impact of the war on women
  2. 2. Key points Before the war, the most common employment for a woman was as a domestic servant. However, unmarried women were also employed in what were seen to be suitable occupations e.g.teaching, nursing, office work.
  3. 3. Key points When war broke out in August 1914, the idea of women working was met with resistance due to the widespread belief that “women’s place as in the home”.
  4. 4. Suffragettes, who had been agitating for female rights, stopped all militant action in order to support the war
  5. 5. Key points Much of the opposition to female participation in the workforce came from trade unions. Due to this,the employment of women had not increased significantly before the middle of 1915. In July 1915, a ‘Right to Work’ ,march was organised by a leading suffragette, Christabel Pankhurst.
  6. 6. Key points The shell shortage crisis in 1915 began to change the situation. Women were taken on to work in munitions factories. The government did a deal with the trade unions, known as the Treasury Agreements. The unions agreed to accept female labour in place of men ‘for the duration of the war’.
  7. 7. Key points The introduction of conscription in 1916 led to an increase in the number of women employed in all sectors of the economy.
  8. 8. Key points Many women were paid good wages, especially in munitions factories, but in most cases they were paid lower rates than men. Improved wages did permit greater independence for some women.
  9. 9. Key points Women became more visible in the world of work. They were seen to be doing important jobs.
  10. 10. The armed forces also employed women and an estimated 80,000 British women worked for the armed forces, 250,000 worked in agriculture
  11. 11. Women were in great demand for the ‘caring’ side of employment and became nurses in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, and drivers and clerks in Voluntary Aid Detachments.
  12. 12. Voting Women over 30 were granted the right to vote in 1918 with the Representation of the People Act. The significance of the war in helping women attain the vote may be overstated. It is more likely that female suffrage was an extension of democratisation of western societies as occurred earlier in New Zealand and Australia.
  13. 13. The impact of the war on women’s lives and experiences in Britain New Roles for Women: Long term nature of the war demanded that women play a new role in the economy As the total war of attrition demanded the mobilisation of all of society’s resources, many women moved into traditional male roles The first organised attempts for women to do ‘war work’ was rebuffed Recruitment drives of 1914 and 1915 changed official attitudes. Absence of men began to impact on various industries.
  14. 14. Early 1915: women were employed as nurses, ambulance drivers, postal workers, bus conductors, police women and fire fighters Mid 1915: women were employed as tram conductors, drivers, lift attendants, milk deliverers, shell makers, shop floorwalkers, railway cleaners, bookstall clerks, window cleaners, ticket collectors and dairy workers Late 1918: more then 7 million women employed in ‘war work’ Largest single employer for women was the Ministry of Munitions
  15. 15. Women served as nurses from late 1914 Women’s Land Army – formed in 1916 to attract women to work on the land -> food production had become a priority Woman’s Armed Forces – in the war zone women drove ambulances, operated food canteens, entertained soldiers, worked as cooks, waitresses, clerks, typists, telegraphists, telephonists, packers, drivers and mechanics
  16. 16. After the War The Impact on Women’s Lives: Women were expected to give way to men returning from the forces and return to pre-war ‘women’s work’. The assumption that ‘a woman’s place is in the home’ returned Different impact on different social classes Young working class women were largely the ones who moved into traditional male working class jobs - > significant impact on their social and economic independence Middle and upper class women tended to do more volunteer work or join one of the uniformed services -> gave them “war experience” but had less of an impact on their place in society
  17. 17. After the War The Impact on Women’s Lives: Women no longer needed escorts to maintain their reputations New sexual freedom For practicality in the workplace and due to a shortages of fabrics, skirts became shorter, women wore trousers, bras replaced the corset There were significant changes in fashion: women wore short hair, smoked and wore make up in public
  18. 18. Lasting impact Women retained some of the social independence they had acquired during the war The change in women’s fashion became more or less permanent Employment: little permanent change – in most cases, women had to give up the “male jobs” they had taken on. Secretarial work was one area that women retained but at less pay than men who had previously done these jobs In 1919: being female or married was no longer allowed to disqualify someone from holding a job in the professions or civil service.
  19. 19. Lasting impact Women retained some of the social independence they had acquired during the war The change in women’s fashion became more or less permanent Employment: little permanent change – in most cases, women had to give up the “male jobs” they had taken on. Secretarial work was one area that women retained but at less pay than men who had previously done these jobs In 1919: being female or married was no longer allowed to disqualify someone from holding a job in the professions or civil service.

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