WWI & WW2 women's roles

Women in World War I

During WWI (1914-1918), large numbers of women were recruited into jobs vacated by men who had gone to fight in the war. New jobs were also created as part of the war effort, for example in munitions factories. The high demand for weapons resulted in the munitions factories becoming the largest single employer of women during 1918. Around this time, the government began coordinating the employment of women through campaigns and recruitment drives. This led to women working in areas of work that were formerly reserved for men, for example as railway guards and ticket collectors, buses and tram conductors, postal workers, police, firefighters and as bank ‘tellers’ and clerks. Some women also worked heavy or precision machinery in engineering, led cart horses on farms, and worked in the civil service and factories. However, they received lower wages for doing the same work, and thus began some of the earliest demands for equal pay.

  • While more women were working than before the war, it was still not as much as desired. In a country like Great Britain for example, only about 25% of women had actual jobs, very few of which were involved with the military.
  • Nursing was the one and only job that a women could have to help the military.
  • Of the few rights women had, they were age dependent, and women were still looked at as second-class citizens to a male-dominated society.

Women In World War II

  • In the Soviet Union, a place were there was an immediate threat of war on Soviet soil, women working in industry increased 60%.
  • In the United States, although there was not a threat of war on American soil, eventually the female work force came about. They were encouraged by numerous propaganda tricks pleading them to join the cause.
  • In the beginning of World War II, Nazi’s avoided women as a working force, but by the half-way point of the war, the German woman work force had become 300,000 stronger.
  • In the US women were gaining more and more rights and more free privileges to do things previously contained to the male sex

Did women actually raise their position in world war 1 and 2

For many women, World War II brought not only sacrifices, but also new jobs, new skills, and new opportunities. Women were needed to fill many traditionally male jobs and roles during the war and various advertisements were used to encourage women to take on these jobs and roles. Therefore, women actually raised their position and proved their abilities after the world wars.

  • Women in the military - Women joined the nurse corps and the armed forces so that more men could be sent into combat. Women leaders helped determine the outcome of the war and the peace that followed.
  • Women serving the military - Women were encouraged to enter professions. “Government Girls" came to Washington D.C. to help run the rapidly expanding federal government and participate behind the lines in the war effort.
  • Women in Production U.S factories retooled for war production. New facilities greatly expanded industrial output— and women were a significant part of the labor force. Women kept the country running by filling traditionally male jobs.
  • Women at Home In the community, women raised money for war bonds, collected blood, rolled bandages, aided in civil defense, tended Victory Gardens, and hosted troops. In the home, women recycled scarce materials, dealt with the strains of rationing, raised their children, and mourned the war dead.

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