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Describe the employment opportunities for women in Britain in 1914, at the outbreak of world war one

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Introduction

Anna Carlisle Describe the employment opportunities for women in Britain in 1914, at the outbreak of world war one. At the outbreak of world war one, in 1914, job opportunities for women were very limited. This was partly due to the fact that society had the view that men and women had separate roles in life, known as 'The Separate Spheres Argument': men went to work and were involved in politics, whereas women stayed at home and looked after children. Women were seen as less capable than men and therefore only 2% of women had an education, passed the school leaving age of 12: lower class parents could not afford the price of education and would not want to miss out on their daughter's wage. ...read more.

Middle

Women were much more likely to choose a job that did not need a high level of education, but these jobs were also limited: for example, there were many jobs in coal mining, as coal was a major source of fuel, to warm homes and to power factories, but women found it too hard to carry out this sort of physically demanding work. 5.9 million women worked at the time, (25% of the female population) and 1.5 million women (6.3% of the working population) worked in the domestic service, making it the most popular type of work, for women. Workers very often lived in the attics of houses and worked long hours carrying out chores such as cleaning and cooking. ...read more.

Conclusion

Again, pay was low because many women were paid 'piece rate', meaning they were paid for the amount of work they did rather than the number of hours. We can see that, it wasn't very difficult for women to find work, but their choice of work was very limited. Many women were forced into jobs because they had to feed themselves and their families. Employers took advantage of these circumstances so most women had to put up with the worst conditions and lowest pay. Trade Unions were usually opposed to womans' labour because they feared 'dilution': they did not want mens wages to be lowered because of unskilled women, who were paid less than men. Men had all the political power, as women weren't allowed the vote, so not only were job opportunities limited for women, but also the opportunity to change their status. ...read more.

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