• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10

How did world war one change the role and status of women in England and Wales?

Extracts from this document...


History Coursework How did world war one change the role and status of women in England and Wales? During the nineteenth century, before war broke out new job opportunities began to emerge for women as teachers, shop workers, clerks and secretaries in offices. Even girls from working class backgrounds were able to achieve higher status than that of their parents and began to receive better pay packets. Women from middleclass backgrounds were gaining better education opportunities and a few won the chance to go into higher education eventually becoming doctors to name but one thing. However education wasn't improving for the majority of women in lower classes often receiving no education. This left them no options but to go into domestic service or the "sweated industries" such as cotton factories or home dress making. Also between 1839 and 1886 there were a series of laws passed giving married women greater legal rights, however they couldn't yet vote in general elections. Some people thought that all women should be allowed to vote too as the number of men who could vote was gradually increasing. Others disagreed, yet the debate was not as simple as a case of men versus women. Early campaigners for the vote were known as suffragists. ...read more.


However women didn't take this lying down. As the above source shows they held a huge procession on the 17th of July letting the employers and trade unionists know that they were prepared to work. Within the procession there was a large banner reading "Men of the Empire are Fighting - The Women of the Empire are Working". This source proves that women are not just good at cooking and cleaning, but determined to contribute. Nevertheless without the women's contribution to the war effort, especially in munitions factories Britain would not have won the war. The above sources tell us of women's working lives during the war. These posters show an idealistic view of mothers preparing packages for their beloved. These posters were far from the reality; there wasn't enough food to go around without sending packages to the battles. Even joining food queues did not determine even a small amount of food. This must have been so disheartening. "Pears' Soap" was advertised in "The Illustrated London news". An upper class newspaper that could not have been supportive of the ways in which everyone had begun cutting back. "Only the Best is good enough" due to the war any soap would have done, the company could not have understood the ways that all classes were suffering. ...read more.


Many travelled more than they would have done and began to enjoy jobs that before would have been considered 'men's ' jobs. Employers soon began to realise that assembly jobs for things such as gramophones were much better suited to women they had more nimble hands and enjoyed the work a lot more than men would have. The most dramatic change however was women's political status. Mps soon realised that giving women the vote would say thank you for their contribution to the war. The war speeded up women gaining the vote as pre war there were two main groups who spent time handing out leaflets and making stands in political meetings, trying to persuade the government to give women the vote. Finally the government gave in giving all women the right to vote in 1918. As far as women's role and status changed the war could not have helped more. The war allowed women to show their potential in a working environment, at the beginning it could have gone either way but employers gave them a chance and it all worked out for the best as when the men returned they went back to their jobs but women had realised what they were good at and new jobs were now available to them. Overall The Great War brought about the most substantial change in women's roles. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Britain 1905-1951 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

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

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Britain 1905-1951 essays

  1. how far did the role and status of women change from 1914 and ...

    Unfortunately many other jobs disappeared. There were fewer jobs in domestic service. By 1921 the economic decline meant that the number of women in work was actually lower than 1911. However, in 1919 the sex disqualification (removal) act was passed. This opened up professional careers to women, allowing them to become police officers with the

  2. Women in world war one

    This further outlines the economical progress women have made. Another significant change was in women's political status. In 1917 in a speech by the former prime minister, H. Asquith congratulated women for working 'out their salvation' 'during the war' and therefore he found it 'impossible to oppose them getting the vote'. Before the war he was divergent to it.

  1. The Changing Role and Status of Women in Britain

    Even educated and powerful men like the Prime Minister, had the same basic principles and ideas about a woman's correct place in society. 2.The First World War began in 1914 and the majority of men left to fight. When the Suffragettes realised the war wouldn't be over by Christmas, they changed their tactics.

  2. In what ways did the lives of women change both during and after the ...

    For the first time, women were given the chance to do more physical jobs, go out and socialise and be a part of society. They also experienced real freedom. Moreover, women's home life had changed dramatically; their main priority was not their home, but now their work.

  1. Slave trade

    It took centuries of resistance and decades of campaigning for this to be done. The Transatlantic slave trade lasted for centuries and due to this, historians believed that the effects of the slave trade ended African economic development while supporting the Europeans process of urbanisation and industrialization.

  2. "The First World War led to great change in the role of women in ...

    They helped produce the shells, guns and bullets that were fired on the Front, and this mass-production of weapons and ammunition meant that the soldiers always had something to fire. The numbers of women who worked during the War as compared to before had almost tripled.

  1. What was the extent of change in the role of the UK government in ...

    newfound interest in the welfare of the people, and in doing so looking out for the country as a whole. Government mps argued that the workers deserved compensation for their troubles in the war and William Beveridge wanted this for the British people whilst Churchill turned his back.

  2. How did world war one affect opportunities for women in Britain?

    That is 735,000 women employed in four years. Things like the munitions shortage and conscription, which was introduced in 1916 for men aged between 18-41, helped things move along quicker. Although these employment figures for women are very impressive on the outside, the conditions in which the women had to work in were often dangerous.

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