• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In what ways did the First World War change the employment opportunities of women in Britain?

Extracts from this document...


In what ways did the First World War change the employment opportunities of women in Britain? There is no doubt during World War 1 women were employed in much larger numbers and in more areas of work than ever before. Initially, they had to fill the gaps left by the death of so many soldiers in the trenches. When Conscription was introduced in 1916 and all men between the ages of 18 and 41 were forced to serve their country, this widened the amount of work open to women. In May 1918 there were even more jobs open to women when conscription was raised to include men up to 51 years of age. It was not just that men went away to fight but also there were more jobs in the munitions industry as ammunition was needed to beat the Germans and there was a shortage of shells as was seen in 1915. When the war ended women accepted that those men who survived the war would return to their to their old jobs and in many cases they were forced to return to their old jobs as domestic servants. However, there were more jobs for women after the war than there had been before the war firstly because so many men of working age had been killed and secondly because women had proved they were capable of doing many jobs that only men did previously. ...read more.


During the war, 750,000 women worked as clerks and although women had worked in offices before the war, there had never been so many female clerks. Some of the jobs were replacements for men who were away but with new technology, in such things as telephones, introduced during the war, which men had not used, they were able to keep these jobs after the men returned from the war. Although men had been secretaries before the war after the war women kept this kind of job. The employment of women in offices was never a real problem it was in industry that problems came after the war. During the war women had earned much more in munitions factories than they had ever earned before the war in factories or domestic service but it was less than men earned. By 1918 men were earning on average �4. 6s 6d a week but women only got �2.2s 2d for doing the same job. Men were worried that they would lose their jobs because women were cheaper and had proved they could do the job. Men did all they could to show the women were not as good as them, including playing practical jokes on them. ...read more.


In reality this only helped the rich because divorce was too expensive and complicated for the poor. Although in real terms there was no immediate huge revolution in the work opportunities and attitudes of men to women, the First World War was the beginning of the modern life that women have today. Poor women's working life and their wages did not really improve in the years just after the war in fact by 1921 there was world wide economic decline and there were actually less women in work than in 1911. Attitudes had to change also because these were so many war widows with families to provide for and they needed to work or the government would have had to spend more money keeping them, the allowance they got was not enough without the women working. Perhaps the biggest change was that women of all classes had more personal freedom. All women wore more practical clothes, such as shorter skirts and they cut their hair. Middle and upper class women could go out unaccompanied and working class women had more opportunity to change their jobs to improve their lives than they had before the war. Women had more freedom but it was still a world dominated by men and this would not change for decades. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Why did the First World War affect the people of Britain in so many ...

    3 star(s)

    Conscientious objectors were affected by the war differently from the volunteers and conscripts because they were opposed to it. To them the idea of killing was evil and horrific. They were affected by the war because they were sent to non-fighting duties like ambulance work and work camps.

  2. How Did the Blitz Affect Everyday Life in Britain?

    This system was called Evacuation. Evacuation first started on the 1st September 1939. Throughout the autumn and summer the government evacuated at least 650,000 children and 25,000 civil servants from the dangerous places. Families could arrange their own evacuations, or children could be evacuated with their schools.

  1. In what ways did the attitudes of soldiers and civilians change towards the war ...

    These were mainly French soldiers. This would have affected British morale as they knew that there would be fewer troops to support them if they were required and that the allies were suffering huge losses. They could have been thinking that they were next.

  2. History - World War One

    This poster would make men feel passionate and encourage them in to fighting in the war to stop the atrocities and fight for all the women who were in potential danger. Propaganda played a big role in the civilian's attitudes.

  1. What was the impact of the war on the women's lives and experiences in ...

    As the danger of food shortages rose, it became increasingly important to maintain and increase agricultural production. With most of the farm workers serving at the front, some women chose to work on the land. By 1918, the Women's Land Army numbered over 16, 000.

  2. In what ways did the attitudes of soldiers and civilians change towards the war ...

    may feel lied to by the government as the war has gone one for more than 3 months more than the government first proposed. A few months later morale dropped even further as the Germans used gas, this scared the soldiers as gas could be used in the night and

  1. Compare the ways in which figures of authority are portrayed in Joseph Heller's Catch ...

    There are many instances in Catch 22 where the Generals are engaged in sneaky tricks against one another. General Dreedle's hatred of his son-in-law Colonel Moodus for example, inspires him to keep a beautiful nurse just to torment him with, and the 'Great Loyalty Oath Crusade'1 is started by Captain

  2. Describe the employment opportunities of women in Britain in 1914 at the outbreak of ...

    For many of these women who worked, there were many few rights and many collected pay which was only two thirds that of male counterparts. They were also rarely promoted. This was simply because many people believed that women were a lot less capable and skilled than men.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work