Australian Women´S Role In World War Ii

913 words - 4 pages

Before the second world war had begun, it was expected that the men of the families in Australia had the jobs and worked to feed and care for their families’ needs, while the women stayed at their family homes and looked after the children and the house keeping. Though when the war had begun taking men from the country and taking them off to fight overseas, this expectation could no longer stand. Women were forced to take jobs that had previously been proclaimed as too physically challenging for women, so that more men could be recruited into the war as soldiers. Women took over jobs like welding, machine repair, operating tractors and other large machines.

When the men were fighting, the women back in Australia were having their lives change completely. Women dealt with managing their family, the shortages of resources, and the fear of their husbands, brothers and other important men in their lives, dying. Women were now working out of their traditional roles as mothers and wives and were hoping to keep their jobs after the men had returned from their duties. They were also working for much lower wages than the men would’ve received for working the same jobs. For the many women who had enjoyed working, it was upsetting when the men of the country returned home, and all of the women who were working were forced out of their jobs and back into their homes where they were encouraged to take on their previous lifestyle as house wives and mothers again.

Women were also recruited as nurses to travel alongside the battle with the Australian soldiers. The Australian nurses that worked in Papua New Guinea were very close to the front line, so close that they often had to perform their duties behind a shield of armed guards and there were rifles in the hospital areas just in case they came under attack by the enemy side. There was also the constant danger of a moving battle line and the stress of having so many patients, the severity of patient injuries, and the scarce amount of medicines available. Of the 3477 nurses serving in Malaya and Rabaul, 32 became prisoners of war and many others were killed.

The largest Australian women’s service was the AWAS (Australian Women’s Army Service), which was formed on the 13th of August 1941 and was created to "release men from certain military duties for employment in fighting units." The AWAS gained an enlistment of 31,000 in wartime and was the only non-medical women's service to send people overseas during the war. The members carried out jobs such as driving, maintenance and communication. These women were also trained to fight, incase Australia was invaded and...

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