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In what ways did the lives of women change both during and after the War as a result of their War work

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Introduction

In what ways did the lives of women change both during and after the War as a result of their War work? Before the Second World War women were seen as housewives and mothers, most women didn't go out to work everyday and earn a comfortable wage like men did. However, these perceptions changed during the war. As a result of WW2, women's chances of having the opportunity to show their intelligence and capability in the workplace increased. There was a shortage of workers in typically 'male jobs' of essential industries like metal work and engineering. Women were given the opportunity to train and take on these jobs. Women started to work in industry, the Land Army, and in the Women's Armed Forces. Their expectations and opportunities improved but after the war a lot of what they had, had disappeared and most things returned to normal. Before the War had started, women had little to no respect and were seen as inferior to men. Although women had the right to vote since 1918, women's rights and opinions were not as valued as those of men's. It was only in 1928 when all women were given the right to vote. The average woman was at home; a woman was expected to cook, clean, look after the children and tend to her husband/father's needs, and was not expected to earn her living outside of the home, or have any social life at all. ...read more.

Middle

Factory jobs mainly consisted of munitions and armaments production. Taking the role of men was very hard for some women. A number of women couldn't adapt to the common practice of men; the physicality of the work they did was just too intense for them. Some jobs were also very dangerous and resulted in several deaths. For many women, War work changed their lives, depending on what jobs they did and what social class they were, their lives became more accustomed with War work. Lower class women were desperate for the extra income so they had to work in the munitions factories doing countless hours of heavy work to provide food for the family. Civilian jobs like Road sweepers and coal miners were all occupied by the lower classed women whilst office and secretarial work was done by Middle class women. One of the main factors that changed women's lives was the increase in their wages. This was due to the large numbers of women joining the trade unions in the war years. Women's average weekly earnings rose from �1.63 to �3.16 between October 1938 and July 1945. Another aspect of women's lifestyle, which changed dramatically, was women's education. For the first time, women went to college to achieve qualifications in more exclusive jobs and gain promotions. ...read more.

Conclusion

This resulted in divorce rates increasing radically, also, the illegitimate births rate almost doubled between 1940 and 1945, to more than one-third of all babies born. This was due to contraception not being very effective at the time. Emigration also became a concern, 20,000 British brides followed their American husbands to the United States. Attempts for equality also start to be seen by many women as they become more and more self-governing. In general, this shows that there was a fair amount of continuity from during the war but there was also some change. In conclusion, there was a great deal of change from before the war to during the war. For the first time, women were able to do more physical jobs. Many women gained a great deal of personal satisfaction from their war work. They made new and lasting friendships, enjoyed new-found independence, and discovered new abilities and skills. There was a reasonable amount of change from during the war to after the war. Many women had to regress back to their pre-war traditional roles to free up jobs for the returning men. Women only achieved any permanent improvement to their lifestyle and social status in a few areas. There is still continuity of many stereotypes from the War, such as; even today women are still not allowed to go to the frontline. It is fair to say that there was much change but only lasted for the duration of the War. ?? ?? ?? ?? Max Nastasi-Grace Page | 1 ...read more.

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