28th July 1914 was the day the world changed. The day World War One began. Above all, it was the day women’s lives began to change.
Every war is a pivotal step for men to fight for their country. This war known as the Great War was a crucial time for women as well. In a male-dominated society, women were perceived as helpless, incapable human beings. They were perceived as housewives and children tenders. In a society where employment opportunities were available, men were on the board. When the war started, men were called to the home front. With so many men going to war, there was a large gap in employment and in response; women came in to replace the men. This war opened up radical new employment to women. It was a war that gave women the opportunity to prove themselves as important in a male-dominated society. A society where they finally had the power to do more than cleaning the house, cooking, and tending for children and be recognized for efforts outside of the house. Mrs. Millicent Fawcett, a leading feminist and president of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, said in 1918, “The war revolutionized the industrial position of women-it found them serfs and left them free.” (Women on the home front in the World War One) Counties such as Britain, Russia, France, and Canada, started welcoming women into industries that previously excluded them. Now this leads me to wonder, were the job opportunities presented to women during World War one perceived negatively or positively?
World War one was the first war in which women were presented with a vast range of new jobs. As the men left their old jobs to fill the need for soldiers, women became vital to the society. Their involvement in the war effort did much to change perceptions of the role of women. “As a result the number of women employed increased from 3,224,600 in July, 1914 to 4,814,600 in January 1918.”(Women and the First World War)
The increase in the proportion of women in total employment from 24% to 37% (Suffrage in wartime) was significant because before the war, the most common employment for a woman was as a domestic maid. However, when the war broke out in August, the idea of a woman working was met with resistance due to the widespread belief that “women’s place is in the home”. This saying literally means that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. This is how people categorized women before the war. They chose to believe that women were the queens of the house and so they should stay home and hold their peace. And so it was until the outbreak of the war that led to a change in the perception of women and their roles in the society.
As the war continued, women became more perceptible in the economy. They were offered jobs that we usually labeled male-work. Some examples of the Jobs that were offered to women were; railway cleaners, mechanics, truck drivers, farmers, munitions, fire fighters, nurses, air force pilots, etc. What is more is that in this field of...