Above And Beyond Nursing : The Contributions Of Women To The War Effort

766 words - 4 pages

Nora Sabet.The first war contributions of women were as “Nursing Sisters”, who went overseas to care for the sick and wounded in times of conflict. However, it was during World War One that the roles of women in wars began to expand. Most Canadian women stayed on the home front to join the land army, work at munitions factories or support the war in their free time. Canadian women greatly contributed to the war efforts beyond just the role of nursing. A great example of this includes, but is not limited to, their involvement in the farming industry.
Women replaced men on the farms to provide money for their families, as well as food for the men overseas. During World War One, there were approximately 260,000 Canadian women who volunteered to join the ranks of the Women's Land Army. They worked incredibly hard taking on threshing, ploughing, and tractor driving. Farmers whom the women worked for took advantage of their eagerness to be a part of the work force. Most were paid about half of the men's wages before the war. The farmers paid the women considerably little despite working for long hours. Women were forced to work an average of 50 hours in the summer and 48 hours in the winter per week. Canadian women not only replaced men on the farms, but as well as in factories.
Many Canadian women stayed on the home front to work in munitions factories. They were known as “munitionettes”. “ Munitionettes in Canada and Great Britain produced 80% of the weapons and shells used by the Canadian and British Army”. The conditions of the factories were threatening, as they were extremely unsafe. The women risked their lives daily while working with poisonous substances and the required protective clothing and safety glasses were not always provided. In the biography of Miss Joan Williams, a British munitionette, she talks about the conditions of these factories which were very similar in Canada “Women working in larger munitions factories were known as Canaries because they dealt with TNT which caused their skin to turn yellow. […….]Other hazards were more obvious and minor problems were common.” It was not only employment in factories that prompted women to support the war; women contributed to the war efforts even during their spare time.
Canadian women devoted their free time to supplying resources...

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