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World War I and the Changing Role of Women

  • Date Submitted: 10/06/2012 03:04 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 58.2 
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World War I, also known as the Great War, affected the population of Britain like no other war had affected previous generations. It has been estimated that around six million British people had direct experience of trench warfare during the Great War. Before the war, the most common employment for a woman was as a domestic servant. The belief that a women’s place is in the home was repeated frequently in the century after 1850.   However, unmarried women were also employed in what were seen to be suitable occupations. When war broke out in 1914, the idea of women working was met with resistance due to the widespread belief that the women’s place is in the home. Due to the enormous demands of mobilising enough manpower for the front lines, left behind the problem of how to maintain resources for the army and to feed the population. The only way to fulfil the shortage of labour was to allow women to fill the vacancies that were left behind by the men. The role of women changed drastically due to the Great War with women displaying independence by taking over men’s jobs but most important of all, the confidence and realization that women can do what a man can do.
Before the outbreak of World War I in 1914 a women’s role in the workplace was quite restricted, jobs for women consisted mainly of domestic labour, nursing, teaching, and agriculture within the family. The development of the factory system during the industrial revolution set a completely different pattern of life. Although women were employed in factories performing mainly menial and repetitive tasks, they were paid a small percentage of what their male counterparts earned. Women were paid less than men because it was assumed that they were living with husbands or fathers who were also working and are able to provide for them. Due to this belief, employers eagerly exploited the idea that women required less money thus making working men increasingly threatened by women taking their jobs. Though many of...


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