Women in WW1 Lauren Behn

In early America, a woman’s life tended to center around farm and family. Many women worked side by side with their spouses without being given any power or able to share in the political power with men. Most women simply accepted the division of political labor and their role as women, being described as their husbands “better half.” When America got involved in World War 1 it caused a labor shortage among men, and women had to take over back at home. This changed the role women played in America.

Women started being apart of the military or helped be nurses for the soldiers. They had helped support the country while the men are out there fighting their hearts out to defend their homeland.

Women's responsibilities had increased and their expectations about their role in society had changed, implying that they could do the kind of work that only men had been allowed to do before the war started. The wars made many positive and negative changes in all facets of society. America’s women were at work everywhere during World War I. Quiet heroism in keeping the home intact whilst their men were absent was part of ‘doing their bit for the duration’.

Women learned many new skills. They were becoming independent without their knowledge or their spouse’s knowledge. They took jobs on the nation’s farms, factories, in shipyards, and served in its military forces. Nearly 13,000 women enlisted in the Navy and the Marine Corps on the same status as men and wore a uniform. Approximately a million women filled the vacancies left by the men at normal jobs who were now in uniform. Many were young girls who had previously worked in local shops and department stores or who had never worked before. Many were wives who had once worked, but had left their jobs to raise families.

Factories that had made coats began to make uniforms. Car makers made military trucks and tanks. As men left their jobs for the military service, women replaced them. Winning the war would take the contribution of many causes. It was the service of women in the military and the defense works that gave a huge push to the passing of the 19th Amendment. President Woodrow Wilson was won over to the suffragists' side in part because of the bravery of women serving on the front and their proven abilities as they replaced men in offices and factories.

Certain norms of Western middle-class femininity all but disappeared, and women’s visible appearance before 1914 and after 1918 markedly differed with many women having shorter hair and wearing what THEY want more. They start to have a say in things and have more respect ever since they proved they can take charge. In recent years we’ve made a lot of progress compared to expectations back then. Women started pushing for more equal rights as the years went on after WW1 and they continue pushing to this day.

Created By
Lauren Bean
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