Were any gains won by women in the First World War both limited and temporary - Essay Example

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The status of women greatly changed during the World War I. Traditionally, women were bound to be housewives only and be held responsible for keeping up with the household. In early America, women’s life centered on farm and family…
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Were any gains won by women in the First World War both limited and temporary
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Download file to see previous pages Women knew many things like being a baker and running dairies, they were also blacksmiths, silversmiths, tailors, painters, and can perform other jobs done by men. Even though they worked side by side with their husbands, they were not paid for their work. Things were the same elsewhere, as in UK. As related in the Hub pages, before the outbreak of World War I, the role of women was similar. Their roles consisted mainly of domestic jobs, nursing, teaching, and farming. Although a few of them worked in factories, they were paid less than men. Thus, we will see here that women were not treated favorably by society and it was an accepted standard at that time. The impact of the war on women’s lives When World War I broke out, things slowly changed for women. During World War I, war industries caused the heavy employment of women. (Bryant Joyce, March 2, 2009) Three million women workers and more got employed in food, textile and war industries. Women’s role changed rapidly because of the war. In UK, many women enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps. Women were employed in communication lines, cooking, catering, and clerical jobs. They also became truck drivers and ambulance drivers because men were engaged in battles (Hub pages). Their most important contribution, Bryant Joyce, mentioned is the takeover of the farms and growing of much needed food. In Britain, 113,000 women joined the Women’s Land Army which was set up in 1917, to provide a workforce to run the farms (Hub pages). Women were at work everywhere. They learned almost all the kinds of jobs that were previously held by men. The war provided the opportunity for women to grow and learn the job skills they were not allowed to do before. In Russia, women joined the Legion of Death. These women pledged to take their own lives rather than become German war prisoners. They agreed that death was better than to remain captives. Working as nurses, hundreds of women risked their lives to help in the treatment of wounded soldiers ( hubpages). The spirit of volunteerism was very much felt during the times of war. At the beginning of the war, the government gave very little recognition to the efforts of these women. Undaunted, these women utilized their skills such as running charities, cooking, knitting, gardening and sewing. At great length, their contributions became essential, so the government began to direct and legalized their hard works (Vries, Jacqueline). During the war, the focus of attention of different women’s organizations was volunteering their services to the country rather than entrants to wage work. Historians, however, debates that their work was simply an extension of their traditional housework, while, others say that the leadership and ingenuity of women had contributed to the newly recognized status at the end of the war. Vries believed that leaders of women’s organization took these as a chance to connect their war services to women’s emancipation. At the outbreak of war, Milicent Garrett Fawcett, President of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, urged suffragists to find positions of service in order to prove themselves “worthy of citizenship” (Vries,Jacqueline). It is therefore unsettled whether volunteerism or philanthropic works transformed the lives of these women after the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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