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Describe the employment opportunities available to women in 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War.

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Describe the employment opportunities available to women in 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War During the course of this essay I shall be studying the employment opportunities for women at the start of World War One in 1914. I shall be comparing the opportunities available for women of different social classes. I will study some of the available jobs and look at the equality laws and education opportunities for women or more specifically, the lack thereof. At the outbreak of war during 1914 there was not a great deal available for women in terms of employment opportunities, some had very little choice and others had no choice at all, first I shall look at the upper class women of leisure. As their quite apt title suggests these women had no job and no need for a job. Their husbands would have been rich businessmen or lawyers leaving them to go about their lives however they chose - within reason as it was seen as unsightly for women to be wandering the streets or smoking, so they were quite restricted. ...read more.


One of these jobs was factory work, also referred to as 'sweated trades' this consisted of making things in a workshop like jewellery. Around 950000 women worked in this way, the conditions were abysmal and the pay was dreadfully low. Some women could work from home and they were paid a set rate for each piece they produced. There was nothing women could do to protest against these conditions through fear of losing their jobs - something they could not afford to do. Although there were plenty of jobs at women's disposal they would have to put up with unsanitary conditions and low pay if they wanted one. Many other working class women worked in domestic service, being maids for the upper class families. Although this may sound like an easier option of just cleaning a luxurious mansion in reality the workers were thrust into an uncomfortable attic to live. They got little to no time to rest and were only given half a day off each week - if that. ...read more.


Only 10% of children did and even less of these were women, in the event that a girl won a scholarship her parents may not even let her take it up as they would lose her earnings. Only 2% of girls even received a secondary education. In conclusion I feel that the employment opportunities for women in 1914 were outrageously bad. Many were forced into jobs that could severely damage them both physically and mentally, they were mistreated and not even properly protected from many dangers in their working environment. There was blatant discrimination against them and nothing they could do about it or they would lose their ridiculously low paid jobs which barely gave them enough to survive, let alone an entire family. Other women who did not have to endure the torture of work in 1914 were stripped of any shred of flair, individuality or independence by doing repetitive housework on-stop or simply nothing at all. It is unfair to even call women's work in 1914 'employment opportunities' as the system was so terrible and women were either forced into or out of it. Ian Wotton ...read more.

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