How We'Re the Lives of Women Effected in the First World War

In: Historical Events

Submitted By Conorpharo
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Pages 7
How were the lives of women on the home front affected by the First World War?

WW1 broke out in August 1914 when the great powers of Europe went to war over territorial competition to increase their empires. The war was mainly fought in continental Europe. By 1918, after millions of deaths, the Germans were defeated. The role of women in Britain had changed in many ways during the war.

Before the war many working class women worked in mills in northern, industrial towns, always as a menial labour force - never in any sort of authoritative or responsible position and always supervised by men. However this sort of manual labour, especially after marriage, was frowned upon by many. This meant that the main sort of socially acceptable jobs for women were in areas such as domestic service or shop work.

Source 5 is a quote from Alfred Shears, a former London dock worker who was interviewed for a book on women's history in 1974. It is a primary source written in his exact words. His view backs up the ideas in the last paragraph and is probably quite typical of men at the time. He said, "Single women would be working in the shops, but a married woman - her place was in the home."

However during the war the amount of women in all areas of work increased apart from domestic service which saw a major decrease between 1914 and 1918. This is shown by source 1 which is a graph of the official statistics comparing the numbers of women working in 1914 to those in 1918. It is split into 7 major areas and it is a secondary source. Before the war industry is already the biggest employer of women, closely followed by domestic service. These statistics may not be extremely accurate as no-one really knew how many women were working in these years.

When World War One broke out many women were recruited to work in munitions factories. This work was high risk but was also…...

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