Describe the Role and Status of Women in the 1940s and 1950s.
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Describe the Role and Status of Women in the 1940s and 1950s After the First World War women had gained a huge step towards having equality with men. In 1918 married women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote. During the war women had proved themselves as capable as men, not only as nurses near the front lines working in very dangerous positions but also back in Britain working to help the war effort in jobs that before the war they could never have even had a chance of getting. However women were still a long way of having any vague equality with men, and when the men returned from war things changed as men were still considered far above women. Although it had got worse since the end of the war it should be recognised that womens role in society had been greatly improved since the days before the First World War. During the Second World War many of the men were conscripted to go away to war. This meant that their jobs now needed to be filled in order for the country to work., women got jobs in all areas of employment from working in manual labour to working in banks.
were showing an incompetence to realise that women were able to do the jobs that men traditionally did. So although women had again gained a further step towards equality after the war they had again lost some of that newly gained freedom when the war ended in 1945. However not all women were displeased at societys attitude as after the war many women wanted to start families and now the men had come back from the war they were able to do this. The evidence for this lies in an area known as the baby boom, when the birth rate soared dramatically after the war. Even after the war when women were gaining more equality with men they did not have equal pay rates as men. A woman doing the same amount of work as a man would be paid two thirds of what a man would be paid. Women didnt, understandably find this fair and in August 1943 them women who worked at a Rolls Royce factory went on strike and after a week on strike they were given equal pay. However all over the rest of the country women continued be exploited by societies views.
However the system was slightly corrupt and it was not entirely equal. When pupils went up into secondary schools they had to take an 11+ exam to determine which type of school they would go in to. There were three different types, grammar for the most academic, secondary modern and technical for pupils who would be more suited to manual and primary sector jobs. Although the system seemed to give equal opportunities for both girls and boys there were infact more grammar schools for boys than there were for girls. The Welfare State also introduced family allowances to try and deal with poverty among families with a large numbers of children. It meant that for each child a small payment was paid to the women to help keep the child. This meant that the women now had some control over the finances within the household and that the man could not just go out and spend the money needed for the children. I believe that in the 1940s and 50s womens role in society improved greatly and that there were huge leaps made towards equality. However there were still some major issues that still had not been resolved and needed to be if there was going to get equality between men and women
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