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Describe the employment opportunities of women in Britain in 1914 at the outbreak of war.

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Introduction

Lucy Palmer Question One: Assignment One Describe the employment opportunities of women in Britain in 1914 at the outbreak of war. (15marks) At the beginning of the century educational and employment opportunities for women were poor. A Government census in 1911 revealed that over 11 million adult women did not have a paid job, and only 5 million did. One of the main reasons for this was that women were expected to marry and become housewives instead of having a job. Even those women that did have jobs were often expected to give up work as soon as they were married. Women in work often had to put up with the worst working conditions and lowest pay; sometimes just two-thirds of a man's or even less. ...read more.

Middle

It was difficult for women to do much to change this situation as they had fewer rights than men and could not vote. There were also now laws to protect women against discrimination. For working-class women, the commonest jobs were as servants or cooks (known as 'going into service'). These jobs were considered to be especially good training for women to become housewives. Even working-class men would expect their wives to give up their jobs once they were married. Even though this meant the family would have to survive on very little money, it was still preferable than having a wife who worked. Some working-class women, however, had no choice about working. ...read more.

Conclusion

In some jobs, such as banking or teaching, this was compulsory. Even when women were doing almost the same job, they were often paid much less. Although the lifeof a middle-class woman was not exactly independent, it did have its advantages. She would employ servants and cooks, and have lots of free-time to do activities such as playing tennis or visiting friends. A middle-class woman and daughter with lots of time on their hands was seen as a sign of status. It was very uncommon for an upper-class woman to have a job. They would employ a large number of servants to do the housework and cooking, and depend on their husbands for money. They would have a good quality of life but would be very dependent. ...read more.

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