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Describe the employment opportunities of women in Britain between 1914 and 1918.

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Introduction

Robert Haines 5V Describe the employment opportunities of women in Britain between 1914 and 1918. Before 1915 there were high unemployment rates as trade with the Triple Alliance had ceased, many servants and maids were dismissed and some employees shut down their factories in the initial war panic. In September 1914 44% of working women were unemployed. In 1915 the situation changed. The shortage of armaments and supplies for the army and navy meant that there was a shortage of supplies in the munitions industry. There was a growing need for more people to take up posts in the army such as clerks and nurses as it was growing larger. As those who worked in farms were going out to fight there was a shortage of people to work on the land and in the public services. At first there was hostility towards women in most areas that they started to work in. Men argued that it was wrong for women to be paid as much as a man who was working to support his family. ...read more.

Middle

And there was always the risk of the ammunitions going off which would result in a big explosion which would be fatal. Women working in this area were given much more freedom to wear trousers as they were easier to work in. They were given use of all kinds of facilities, like canteens, rest rooms as well as a cr�che because many women had children and had nowhere to keep them while they were at work. The major change in their lifestyle would have been in the introduction of the Lady Welfare Officer who was a upper-middle class lady employed to sort out the workers housing problems, to keep discipline at the work place and how to dress or behave. They also helped organise dancing and football clubs and other similar activities. At the beginning of the war they worked for as long as 12 hours a day but this was stopped in most factories as it became counter productive. The pay varied in some places they got paid as much as �5 a week and as little as 30 shillings a week, its is ...read more.

Conclusion

As in munitions most of the menial work was done by those in the working class and the jobs with more responsibility were given to those of a higher class. In 1914 there were around 100,000 women working on farms full-time and the same amount part-time. Despite the large numbers of women working on the land there were still many areas that were considered only suitable for males. They thought that women were not strong enough to perform the heavy manual labour that was necessary for a farm to run smoothly. But when the war started not only did Britain need more food but the men who worked on the farms were leaving their work to go and fight. This soon created a need for women to go and work on the farms. Local women could not be found as they had all gone of to work at the factories where there were higher wages than the 18-20 shillings a week being paid in agriculture. So in 1917 the Woman's Land Army was created with the help of the government. The majority of woman who joined were from the upper or middle classes. ...read more.

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