Describe the employment opportunities for women in Britain in 1914 at the outbreak of war.
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Coursework assignment one: The Home front 1914-1918 Describe the employment opportunities for women in Britain in 1914 at the outbreak of war? In 1914, women's roles were traditional ones. They had housewife duties and did the cooking, cleaning and motherly chores of the household. Women were regarded as precious and that they lacked the same mental ability as men. A woman's place was in the home. Upper class and most middle class women were expected not to work. In 1911, a census showed that 90% of all married women did not work at all. But as more men joined the army, more jobs became available to women. Pre 1914, women worked as servants and in factories. In 1914 there were 5.9million women working out of 23.7million.
Middle class women usually worked as a governess, chamber maid or the lady's maid. A lower class woman would get a job such as sculler maid and the best job to have in the domestic service was a housekeeper. The women worked long hours from as early as 5.00am to 11.30pm and sometimes later if there was a party at the home. They got 1/2 day off work all week. The domestic service jobs were usually undertaken by ordinary, working class women. The uneducated girls had to be fit to do lots of difficult and physical work. The girls went as young as 12 to work in the domestic trade and if one was pregnant or married, they had to leave the domestic service.
If women worked at home they were paid piece rates (i.e paid for every piece they made) and if they worked at the home of the manufacturer's, the pay was very low. The conditions in the sweated trade were dreadful. Women and education/ professions Due to their lack of education, it was very difficult for women to be promoted above men. Girls were usually less educated than boys because it was not that important to educate girls. Out of the 10% of children who attended school after the age of 12, 1% were girls. By 1914 there were women working in most of the professions but they still had to face a great deal of opposition by men. It was not very difficult for women to get jobs but they worked in the worst conditions. Dust, heat smelly working areas and the wage was about 2 thirds of a man's pay, if not less. Andrea Stephani 25 may 02
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