• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

History medcine overview

Free essay example:

Question 3 – In what ways did the First World War change the Role of Women in Medicine?

     In today’s world there are many female doctors, nurses, and midwives. Many women are now involved in medicine however, many years ago it would not seem acceptable. The attitude towards women in medicine changed rapidly during the WW1 when hospitals were in need of help. Although, the role of women in Firs World War had the most impact, the fact that women took action even before that, when they started their Suffragettes campaigning to gain the right to vote in 1912, only helped them in reaching their goal which was to become noticed by the government. When the WW1 broke out in 1914 women already had proven themselves as being dignified, cooperative and supportive in times of crisis.

    Women tried to prove that their help in medicine was needed. However, there were obstacles that made this situation harder for example the Social Issues. If women became doctors it would automatically affect the majority of men as they would lose control over their professions and would set all sorts of undesirable and controversial examples. Another issue that women were faced with was that male population thought that women would make medicine more trivial. They also faced that argument when they were trying to get the vote. Furthermore, there was a biological barrier that kept them from becoming involved with medicine. It was improper for women to ‘act against the normal inclinations of their sex’ by going to work. There was also a problem of ‘Public versus Private sphere distinction’. It was based on a public world of politics and a private world of family and economic relations. It wasn’t appropriate for women to get drawn into the ‘Public Sphere’ as it was seen as dangerous and unsafe place for them unlike the ‘Private World’. Women were barred form the medical professions since the late middle ages. It was only men who could get into the University. However, Elizabeth Garret trained privately and got accepted as a doctor by the Society of Apothecaries. Sophia Jex-Blake was also a significant person as she settled up The London School of Medicine for women in 1874. She was also the first women to practice as a doctor in Scotland. Florence Nightingale also contributed by serving in the Middlesex Hospital during the 1845 cholera epidemic.

     When WW1 broke out in 1914 it increased the demands for workers. However, with the male population involved with the war there wasn’t many men who could help. That is when the attitude towards women in medicine began to evolve. At first the government did not want to face the fact that they needed help from women. So when the female surgical team offered their services to War Office it was rejected as ‘not needed’. This did not stop the women from taking actions. They believed that it was time for them to also do their ‘bit’ for the War Effort. So they crated ‘The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry’ (FANY). They had a clear policy of leaving tasks of nursing to other groups of women. They provided transport taking risks as ambulance drivers and despatch drivers.

     Soon after that attitudes towards women in the ‘Public Sphere’ also changed. The male population realised that women are capable, suitable, and diligent and that they would do an incredible job in politics. So for women the acceptance to the Public world rose. The role of Suffragist and Suffragettes both fighting to get the vote, using either violent or sensible methods, proved to the government that women are determinate to get what they want, and they won’t give up on anything. So along with the changing attitude towards letting women getting the vote came, the change of attitude towards women in medicine. There were also other influences such as the shortage of doctors in Britain. Many were asking themselves if the country could actually to afford excluding women. Eventually in 1876, the Parliament passed an Act to remove restrictions on granting medical qualifications on the grounds of sex. Other influences were The Boer War. It identified how atrocious the medicinal conditions were. It also showed that the Government didn’t have as much power to deal with its society’s unhealthy population. That is when women decided to contribute as they were needed in this field.

   In conclusion, there were various ways in which WW1 change the Role of Women in Medicine. If it wasn’t for the certain individuals the world medicine might have never evolved. Women showed a great deal of courage and they did not give up which proved to the Government that by letting them go into the world of Public Sphere they are not going to let them down. The First World War brought many new improvements along with it as well as many new reforms which increased the role played by women in the society. Elizabeth Garret, Sophia Jex-Blake and Florence Nightingale were all a great role models for those women who decided to take some actions, and as well as them they had succeeded.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects section.

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Related GCSE History Skills and Knowledge Essays

See our best essays

Related GCSE History Projects essays

  1. British Recruitment WW1

    I think this reflects how people did not truly understand what going to war actually meant nor the ordeal that they would be put under as fighting soldiers. However I feel that source nine, Alfred Blake, mirrors the lack of understanding the consequences of signing up the most.

  2. Describe the ways in which the methods of the Suffragists and Suffragettes were different

    as the public began to fear them due to the wake of the numerous suffrage attacks.

  1. This essay is going to discuss the overview of Apartheid, the Population Registration Act ...

    Many laws were passed during Apartheid in the 1950's this era was called "the petty apartheid" which segregated everyday places. There was the Separate Amenities Act, this was allowing the white people to have better facilities to blacks, there was the Group Areas Act, and this restricted "non-whites" from restraunts,

  2. Causes of WW1

    This failure to renew the Reinsurance Policy lead to the Russian-French alliance, ending France's political isolation and is ultimately seen as Kaiser William II's greatest political error during his reign. Another of William II's great diplomatic errors was during the Moroccan Crisis in 1906 when against his personal wishes but

  1. Liberal Reforms (1906-1914)

    improve the conditions of the workplace so that they wouldn't have to pay out compensation to injured workers. The second act to be introduced to aid the employed from the poverty crisis was the Coal Mines act of 1908 which granted coal mine workers an 8 hour day.

  2. Roosevelt's New Deal

    The cartoon seems to be attacking the efficiency of the New deal. Sources E and G are strongly against Roosevelt whilst Source F supports Roosevelt. 5. Study Sources H and I. Which source is the more useful evidence about public opinion towards the New Deal?

  1. Question 3 History

    This source gives me the impression that Suffragettes where the reason why they eventually got the vote. Their persuasion definitely added to the success of gaining the vote however I think that this was only one of the few reasons why they gained the right.

  2. History of Medicine Revision Notes.

    Impact of Science 1. Invention of the microscope ? doctors could look closer at the anatomy 2. Better education ? Medical students were taught better as Medicine became a respected profession ? Doctors were more knowledgeable 3. Advancements in chemistry ? gave Doctors new ideas about how the body worked Impact of the Industrial Revolution[ab]: 1.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work