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Role of Women in World War One
Transcript of Role of Women in World War One
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Roles of Women in World War One
The War in Europe
For the majority of the war, it was illegal for men to enlist without written permission from their wives. Due to this, propaganda was largely aimed at women so they would be guilted into sending their men to war.
It was also used for a variety of other things: to conserve energy and food, and to take up jobs to help the war effort.
Women that traveled abroad along with the soldiers
Away from Canada, women were treated with respect and were considered slightly more of an equal.
Some women worked to entertain the soldiers with drama, dancing, lectures, dramatic readings, poetry and singing.
They provided food and supplies and worked as journalists for the military and served as operators (called the Hello Girls).
They repaired soldiers' uniforms and offered cigarettes and goods to the men.
a woman with a strong desire to be a war reporter
In 1914, the beginning of WW1, she had a rough time trying to get employed as a war reporter but eventually pushed through by secretly posing as a man and became a soldier (she was assisted by two other english soldiers who helped her cut her hair)
Dorothy went through a lot of hardships and ordeals as much as forging her own identity
Due to ill health, she presented herself to her commanding sergeant and was later declared as a spy.
At the end of WW1, Dorothy later on became a historian who wrote about her experiences
Decided to become a Nurse
She was in charge of the first Canadian Military Nurses who were sent overseas
She was awarded a Royal Red Cross for her work
Worked near the battle of Ypres (one of the bloodiest battles in world war 1)
Saved many lives through her work
Upon returning from the war she suffered many health problems including shell shock and later died
Before the war:
upper class women did not work since they were already well off by themselves
the middle and working classes held jobs as maids in factories and domestic services
middle class women worked as teachers, nurses, telephonists, typists and sales assistants
After the war:
women started to work in munition factories
women's services were established in 1917, when the gov. allowed women to join the forces. 100,000 women joined the Women's Land army (WLA) auxiliary corps, the Women's Royal Naval services and the Women's Royal Air Force
There, women took on clerical and administrative jobs usually done by men
48,000 women worked as labourers in WLA
80,000 women volunteered as nursing assistants in VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment)
Women had very unhealthy and dangerous jobs; they drove buses, trains and ambulances on battlefields
Overall effect: This allowed women to work in higher careers such as lawyers, accountants, dentists, doctors, solicitors and civil servants
Women and their roles in society changed drastically as the First World War infiltrated their lives. They took part in numerous jobs that were very valuable to the war effort, both in the homefront and also on the battlefield. Women also made a huge leap forward into the indepenece and rights of women, winning the chance to vote on the federal level. You will see in this presentation the world that women lived in, and the circumstances of the survival of themselves and their country.
The government started to realize that women can work and it was in need of their help for sending ammunitions to the front
During the first world war, women who stayed at the homefront experienced major changes in their roles. Since many men weren't able to do factory, farm or other significant types of work, women had to replace them.
women worked in ammunition factories
one of the most important jobs done by women
if the munitions were assembled incorrectly, one spark could begin a chain reaction
women’s exposed skin would turn yellow due to the chemicals; the female munitions workers were given the affectionate nickname 'canaries'.
A woman working at a munition factory
Dorothy Lawrence disguised as a soldier
Women serving food to soldiers.
Showed men that women were capable of doing the same jobs that men could do
A BIG MOVEMENT because the government started to find women very useful and started to pay attention to what they were capable of.
How does the Government react?
Merchant ships were being sunk due to German U-boats (a type of submarine) which carried food and other crucial supplies.
Many British soldiers died in the battle of Somme, including those who worked on the lands, and Canadian women were sent to Britain to take over their roles.
They wore a uniform with brown corduroy trousers, green jerseys and leggings, a WLA hat and hobnail boots.
48k worked as labourers in the WLA; it showed that women were capable of doing jobs that men thought could only be completed by them.
It was a big movement because the government finally realized women were very useful and started to pay more attention to the skills they were capable of doing.
The Women's Land Army
Other Jobs Women Took at Home during the War
Jobs at the bank
Bus and Streetcar Driving
Although women were making a statement by taking up these careers, they only earned half the wage that men would have received.
1) They had to work with explosive chemicals which meant that one explosion in a factory could spark a chain reaction and protective clothing did not exist. The women who worked with munitions found that their skin turned yellow from the impregnated chemicals.
4) The Women’s Land Army
5) They worked to entertain the soldiers with drama, dancing, lectures, dramatic readings, poetry, and singing.
6) They were the switchboard operators
7) Since 48k women worked in Women’s Land Army and were very successful
8) They were in charge of working on planes as mechanics
9) Women who wanted the right for women to vote
Winning the Federal Vote
Wartime Election Act = allowed women with connections to soldiers sisters, mothers, wives to vote federally
Suffragettes = women who were activists for women’s suffrage - right for federal vote
Women were able to vote in 1917 when the Wartime Elections Act granted the right to mothers, sisters, and wives of the soldiers fighting during the war.
Towards the end of war, all women over the age of 21 were allowed to vote.
Few women died to voice their attention to the public.
For example, a woman threw herself in front of a king’s horse at a race meeting in Ascot. Some tied themselves to train tracks and went on hunger strikes. Includes important figures such as
Margaret Gordon (Ontario), Emily Murphy & Alice Jamieson (Alberta), and Nellie McClung from Manitoba
founding member of the Political Equality League in Manitoba.
Her goal was to gain the right of vote for women.
When the government did not listen to the pleas of the women, McClung and other women staged a mock performance of parliament in theatre. In this performance, the women were incharge of the country and it was the men who we wanting the right to vote. This performance was very successful and gained the women political notice.
Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst (left) and Nellie McClung, June 17, 1916 With permission of the Glenbow Archives
Why was it dangerous for women to work in ammunition factories? Name three ways.
What year were women’s services established?
What was the nickname given to the working women?
What was the name of the organization that female farmers were a part of?
How did the women entertain the soldiers when they travelled abroad with them?
Who were the Hello Girls?
After the war, why did the government start to find women very useful and capable of doing jobs?
What were the Women’s Royal Air Force in charge of?
Who were the Suffragettes?
Thank you for listening-
Before the war, women had very little right or part in the economy and society. They held small jobs or stayed at home.
When the war began, women wanted to support their country and their family in Europe by taking on new jobs usually held by men.
Government realized the potential of women
They became an essential part of the homefront of the war.
Propaganda was used to guilt women into sending their men to the war
Women became part of the fight in Europe
Important Women highlighted - Dorothy Lawrence, Georgina Pope
Federal vote: Women have always been the caretaker of the home and of the family, and they wanted to extend their responsibility and have the right to vote on decisions that impact their lives and their family. Note: Nellie McClung