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

The lives of British women underwent enormous and permanent changes as a result of the First World War To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Extracts from this document...


Jamie Buckler 11S "The lives of British women underwent enormous and permanent changes as a result of the First World War" - To what extent do you agree with this statement? Before, during and after World War One women's working, social and political lives underwent enormous and permanent changes. Women were affected in different ways depending on their social class. This essay will consider many of the changes which women underwent, as a result of the First World War, and how enormous and permanent these changes may have been. Before the war women were thought of as fragile things that belonged in the home, caring for their families. This attitude was mainly towards middle and upper-class women because they were better off and were not expected to work. Between 1870 and the outbreak of WW1 more well-educated women were coming through because education was improving, e.g. elementary schools were extending and Girton, Newnham, Somerville and Lady Margaret Hall colleges were opened as all-women colleges. This increase in well-educated women opened up new jobs for working and middle-class women. More working-class women were getting "middle-class" jobs, such as, in teaching and nursing. Even so, lower class women were the "industrial drudges of the community", according to Arthur Marwick, so they were expected to work in jobs such as textile industries and as maids and cooks for the middle and upper-class. ...read more.


At the start of the war things were slow to change for women; the number of women employed in munitions rose from 212,000 to only 256,000 between 1914 and 1915. The pace of change began to increase, though, because by July of 1916 this number rose to 520,000. Women received a huge pay increase relative to what they were paid before the war; this was a reason why so many women went to work in industries and left domestic services behind. The war sped up the rate of change for middle and upper-class women. Women had a huge variety of jobs to choose from during the war, middle and upper-class women would get the cleaner jobs, in nursing, transport and offices; the working-class women were stuck with the dirtier jobs, such as in munitions factories. There was a huge increase in the amount of women involved in banking and commerce and women were even becoming doctors which is probably the first time they would ever have had to do hard work. Having jobs was a huge change for the middle and upper-class women, but less so for the working-class women because the majority of them had jobs before the war. The biggest change in work from before the war was the rise in pay. Women's social lives became much more relaxed during the war; they could behave and dress more freely. ...read more.


Upper-class saw quite a small change because when their husbands came back the husbands had the same attitude they had before the war, limiting the women. Women's politics saw enormous changes; after the introduction of the vote things continued to improve. In 1919 an act was introduces which stated that married women would not be prevented from getting jobs, and the Property Acts in 1923 and 1925 allowed women to hold and dispose of property on the same terms as their husbands. Finally, in 1928 the vote was given to all women over the age of 21. Although, politically, things were slow to change for women at first all these events show just how far women had come, throughout and after the war, in gaining equal rights to men. Overall, womens' lives were changed in every way as a result of the First World War. The war increased the amount of women and the range of jobsthey were able to do, and changed their attitudes towards work forever. The social expectations of women were completely different after the war; they could wear virtually anything they wanted, go out whenever they wanted and were generally more free. Finally, the war made women more equal to men than ever before, in terms of political rights. Many changes were permanent and continued to improve and it is evident that World War One brought women higher in society and completely changed their lives. ...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 Sociology 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 Sociology essays

  1. "Age is a social construct". How far do you agree with this statement?

    The mental side of old age includes loss of memory, reduction in reckless physical courage and in sexual desire, impairment of puzzle and problem-solving ability, and reduced willingness to be adventurous. Women experience a specific transition, menopause, which ceases the ability to bear children and the menstruation cycle will stop.

  2. Mateship has long been a major aspect of the national image as projected by ...

    Like Gallipoli, Idiot Box is also a film about two young men and their experience. Nevertheless, the mateship between Kev and Mick, the two central characters in Idiot Box, is portrayed as an unpleasant and irritating male bonding of 'the young and the bloody useless' rather than an admirable relationship of real 'Aussie' men as described in Gallipoli.

  1. What effects did World War One have on social classes?

    For students from Oxford and Cambridge who served in the war it was, respectively 19 and 18%. For their members of the peerage it was 19%." (Unit 7-10 page 99 from Wilson The Myriad Faces Of War, 1986). Of course, here we are talking about Britain but the trend was sustained across Europe.

  2. In what ways does education effect social changes between one generation and the next?

    the contemporary UK, currently 130 universities are open to individuals regardless of age, ethnicity and gender. As a direct influence of this, a change in the social structure is being provoked. Previously we have seen males dominating the top of the stratification system due to the fact that they had been given the tools and excel in higher education.

  1. Has booze taken over our lives

    One friend puts a coat over her back so that no one can see her knickers whilst the other holds her hair up. Everyone passes by pretending not to look. By the time the night is over, the distant singing of teenage boys is heard echoing down the street.

  2. Why did a campaign for women's suffrage develop in the years after 1870?

    By 1870, women were becoming more frustrated of the restricted paths they could choose from and this had lead in women starting to campaign and protest for equal rights. Changes in the education opportunities encouraged women to campaign for the vote because women had began to comprehend that they were not getting the same education as men were.

  1. Women in the War.

    When war broke out the men went to war, this meant that they left their vacant jobs behind. The country was behind the war effort and all came together. Women were at first not allowed to fill the men's jobs, they were only allowed to knit and fundraise.

  2. "Compare the presentation of the exploitation of women in "Memoirs of a Geisha" by ...

    "... Over night, my sister Jun-pei became Lydia.... And I, Jung- ling, was called Adeline." Changes such as this not only signified her lack of authority over loosing her birth name but also her loss of identity and her Chinese roots which her step mother purposely did to alienate her from her own children as well as creating social class divisions.

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