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Describe and explain the women's employment situation in Britain in the years before the war.

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Lucy Wood Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School for Girls GCSE History Coursework Assessment Objective Number 1 Describe and explain the women's employment situation in Britain in the years before the war. The number of job opportunities for women was low because they weren't expected to work and there were only a few jobs thought suitable for a woman to do. A woman working was often seen as stealing the job and wages from a man who might have a family to support. Working-class women could take menial jobs such as servants and cooks, in middle-class family homes or in hotels cooking and cleaning. This was seen as good work experience for becoming a housewife and training in how to look after their own homes. Women were seen as dextrous, they had nimble fingers and were good at working with small, fragile things and they were employed as dressmakers, milliners, shawl makers, bookbinders, lace makers, matchbox makers, artificial flower makers and tobacco workers. Working-class women were employed in textile factories as cheap labour and were paid half the wage of a man. For the same reasons they were employed on farms to pick fruit and hops and the farmer could afford to employ twice as many women as men. There were less jobs open to middle-class women. They worked as teachers in primary schools because they were patient with small children but they had to have a good education themselves. ...read more.


The government had to allow women to work in the factories to give them a chance of victory. People didn't think that women could work in the factories because they were too delicate and would be harmed. The Right to Serve March in 1915 was a protest by women who marched through London to prove that they were strong. Women could help the war effort by working in the factories, as they weren't allowed to fight. After this women were allowed to working the munitions factories. This showed that women were prepared to work, could work and they weren't extremely fragile and unintelligent. The Women's Land Army was formed in 1917 because Britain needed to grow as much food as possible. The German U-boats had successfully sunk many British merchant ships bringing food into Britain. Because Britain is an island the only way in was by ship. Wages in the Land Army were very low. Farmers liked to employ school children because they could pay even less wages. In 1914 there were 100,000 women working in fields and introducing the women's Land Army was expected to bring in dramatically more but there was only an increase of 13,000. Working Women were still expected to look and act in a lady-like fashion. This tells us that attitudes towards women had not changed. ...read more.


After the war it was acceptable for a woman to take a job that a man might want. In 1919 the Sex Disqualification Act (removal) was passed so that women could become barristers, vets, police officers and high civil servants. If a woman had lost their job they were given �1.25 a week until they were employed once more (a 'jobseeker's allowance'). Some women went back to domestic service because they weren't educated enough to continue their jobs but sin 1920 universities agreed to giving women degrees. Census' show that after the war there were 7 times as many women employed in some fields of work such as architecture, soliciting, medicine and engineering. Not only were working class women moving into higher jobs. In 1918 the first woman took a seat as an MP in parliament (Lady Astor) and the first female Cabinet Minister was appointed Lucy Wood Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School for Girls GCSE History Coursework Assessment Objective Number 3 In what ways did the First World War change the employment opportunities of women in Britain? (Margaret Bondfield). With these women in parliament The Representation of the People's Act meant women over 30 were entitled to the vote which was than reinstated in 1928 when women over 21 could vote. The war proved that women weren't as weak and feeble as society thought and this meant that after the war they could still do a variety of jobs. 1600 Words ...read more.

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