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How Did World War One Improve Opportunities For Women's Empowerment And Elevate Women's Status In Society?

2143 words - 9 pages

World War One was a time of death, destruction and was in general a conflict of monumental proportions. However, as the cliché goes, there is a silver lining to every storm cloud. In the case of the Great War, the silver lining refers to the great leaps forward made in women's empowerment and involvement in society because of the advent of the war, which forced them into positions previously never considered by either gender. World War One provided women with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate to a male-dominated society that females were there for more than simply domestic chores, and this proved to be beneficial for both women and men alike. Women became involved in the army on the frontlines, were nurses and medical aids, played instrumental roles in keeping their nations' transport systems running, began to work in factories and buoyed the economy, and participated in significant organisations such as the Women's Land Army. Because of World War One, women became much more important in society and women's empowerment reached whole new levels.One of the most obvious forms in which women asserted their importance was joining the army and Navy on the frontlines. Unprecedented numbers of women enlisted in the army and Navy. One of the forerunning nations that came to accept the use of women in the military was the US. The Navy and the Marine Corps were more accessible for women, as the Army was first attempting to work its way around bureaucratic red tape, and for this reason nearly 13,000 women were admitted into the Navy and Marine Corps with the same status as men (Wilson). This equality in uniform was the first step in women's empowerment, as women proved themselves in the eyes of the men as they fought alongside them. World War One especially created this opportunity as there was a dearth of soldiers, and every able-bodied person was considered an asset to the military in these times of war. However, the irony occurs in the form that women served their nation in a militaristic capacity even before they were allowed to vote, so it can be surmised that their service in the army paved the way for women's rights politically as well. In the US especially, it was the service of women in the military that pushed the passing of the 19th amendment (Wilson). President Woodrow Wilson supported the side of the women's suffragists, and clarified his position strongly with his statement, "We have made partners of the women in this war; shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of privilege and right?" when addressing his House to encourage them to pass the amendment. For the men in society, the numbers of women in the military swelled their ranks, which was the aim of the governments enlisting women in the first place. World War One opened up the military for women, and allowed them to prove themselves equal to men in a predominantly male setting.Nursing and acting as medical aids have...

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