Women And Wartime Of The World War I

1891 Words8 Pages
For women, wartime symbolises a significant part in history. World War One and Two marked the beginning of an important era, filled with change and the introduction of new concepts, such as women in the workforce. War completely altered the perception of gender roles in western culture, thus changing the lives of women dramatically. As devastating as both wars were, without them, women would have never been given the chance to defy society’s preconceptions of women at the time. These wars both presented women with the opportunity to make their mark in a society that was previously male dominated.
World War One (WWI) was a true turning point for women. During WWI, women’s roles revolved mostly around what they could do on the home front.
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Similarly, many working-class women also sought after jobs that had previously been done by men. Such jobs included railway guards, postal service workers, bank tellers, even police and firefighters. Several women also worked in engineering jobs. Society frowned upon the new trend of female workers, and women had to deal with an unfair amount of ignorance and intolerance. Because women were not taken seriously as workers, they were only a temporary replacement for these positions, as they ‘belonged’ to men. Women were expected to return to their normal livelihoods as soon as these men returned from war. Working conditions for these women were often unfair, as women received much lower wages than their male counterparts. In Australia, a woman’s wage was on average, 54% lower than a man’s (Skwirk.com, 2011). Consequently, the beginning of some of the earliest fights for equal pay began in WWI. Apart from the crucial work women did on the home front, a surprising amount also played a key role in assisting the armed forces on the frontline. To allow more men to fight on the front line, women volunteered to serve overseas. The Australian Women’s Service Corps offered to aid the forces on the frontline in non-combat roles, but the Australian Department of Defence did not acknowledge their offer, as women were not at all permitted to serve in military roles (State Library of Victoria, 2015). Women could, however,
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