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Describe the Employment Opportunities of Women in Britain Between 1914 and 1918.

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Introduction

Describe the Employment Opportunities of Women in Britain Between 1914 and 1918 In 1914, women's roles were traditional ones. Many had housewife duties and did the cooking, cleaning and motherly chores of the household. Upper class and most middle class women were not expected to work. In 1911, a census showed that 90% of all married women did not work at all. But as more and more men joined the army, there was a great demand for more women to work and more jobs became available to them. Pre 1914, working class women worked as servants and in factories. In 1914 there were 5.9million women working out of 23.7million. In domestic service, there were 1.5million women working, 900,00 were working in textiles and 500,000 in the sweated trade. Middle class women sometimes worked as lawyers, teachers, teachers or doctors. But this was a very small number and very few middle class married women would be working at all. Upper class women rarely worked either. The few upper class women that did work had much better jobs than the lower class women. ...read more.

Middle

This forced women to stay, and work to the bone, as they were not allowed to leave The Women's Land Army once they had joined. Women also began working in munitions factories. Jobs in munitions factories included bullet making, shells, detonators, and gunpowder. The risks involved in this were exposure to TNT, which decreased fertility and made their skin yellow. Usually it was the working class women who worked in factories. Working in munitions was a totally new opportunity for these women and were attracted by the good pay. These women did enjoy working in the factories as it gave them a lot more freedom than before, because before the war broke out, working class women usually worked in jobs like domestic service. Also, it was available to working class women all over the country as Munitions Factories were based in Urban and Rural areas. Women underwent many changes such as beginning to wear trousers. A lady Welfare Supervisor helped to keep discipline and helped with any problems. Working in the munitions factory was important as it supplied men at the War Front. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Working class women were usually given jobs in transport, however, as middle class women were usually the ones with any sort of education, they were given the jobs of inspectors. Women did a variety of jobs including ticket collecting, carriage cleaners and guards. These women were treated badly by men who they were replacing and their own male colleagues. The male colleagues were unhappy because the women were paid the same amount as them. In 1918 however, men were granted a war bonus of 5 shillings a week causing women to strike. The outbreak of War offered all women the opportunity to work in all kinds of jobs. For some, such as the upper class, it was the first time they had ever worked. Others, such as working class women, were given the opportuniy to work in better jobs, as they had always worked but in poor low pay jobs like domestic service. However, this was only a short term change. As the war ended, more and more men returned home requesting their old jobs back. Even so, women must have enjoyed all the new opportunies available to them, as the amount of women working in domestic service decreased dramatically during that time. ...read more.

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