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An overview of the tasks of women during world war i and ii

The History Learning Site, 17 Mar 2015. But, as with World War Onewomen at the end of World War Two, found that the advances they had made were greatly reduced when the soldiers returned from fighting abroad. At the end of World War Two, those women who had found alternate employment from the normal for women, lost their jobs.

The returning soldiers had to be found jobs and many wanted society to return to normal. Therefore by 1939, many young girls found employment in domestic service — 2 million of them, just as had happened in 1914.

Wages were still only 25p a week. When women found employment in the Civil Service, in teaching and in medicine they had to leave when they got married. However, between the wars, they had got full voting equality with men when in 1928 a law an overview of the tasks of women during world war i and ii passed which stated that any person over the age of 21 could vote — male and female.

The war once again gave women the opportunity to show what they could do. Young mothers with young children were evacuated from the cities considered to be in danger.

As young children were normally taught by females, many of those who went with the children were women. The fact that women were seen to be the people who taught the youngest was something that had been going on for years.

Their work was vital as so many men were being called up into the military. Even Churchill feared that the chaos caused by the U-boats to our supplies from America would starve out Britain. The government tried to make out that the work of the WLA was glamorous and adverts showed it as this.

In fact, the work was hard and young women usually worked in isolated communities. Many lived in years old farm workers cottages without running water, electricity or gas. Winter, in particular, could be hard especially as the women had to break up the soil by hand ready for sowing. However, many of the women ate well as there was a plentiful supply of wild animals in the countryside — rabbit, hares, pheasant and partridges. WLA women sawing wood in winter In 1943, the shortage of women in the factories and on land lead to the government stopping women joining the armed forces.

They were given a choice of either working on the land or in factories.

  • At the beginning of the war in 1939 17;
  • They worked in all manner of production ranging from making ammunition to uniforms to aeroplanes;
  • The Women of Employment Order required women ages 18—45 to register for labour exchanges and by 1943 the maximum age was raised to 50, which brought an additional 20,000 women into the workforce;
  • They helped build trucks, tanks and airplanes.

Those who worked on land did a very valuable job for the British people. Many women decided that they would work in a factory.

  • Women were also recruited to work on the canals, transporting coal and munitions by barge across the UK via the inland waterways;
  • Married women were released from service sooner at the end of the war, so they could return home before their husbands to ensure the home was ready when he returned from the front;
  • Their work was vital as so many men were being called up into the military;
  • Their work was exceptionally dangerous as just one slip could lead to capture, torture and death;
  • Many lived in years old farm workers cottages without running water, electricity or gas;
  • Delicious Roles for women in WWII At first the government politely discouraged those women who wanted to perform some kind of military service.

They worked in all manner of production ranging from making ammunition to uniforms to aeroplanes. The hours they worked were long and some women had to move to where the factories were. Those who moved away were paid more. To them this must have seemed a lot. But men doing the same work were paid more. In fact, it was not unknown for unskilled men to get more money that skilled female workers. This clearly was not acceptable and in 1943, women at the Rolls Royce factory in Glasgow went on strike.

This was seen as being highly unpatriotic in time of war and when the female strikers went on a street demonstration in Glasgow, they were pelted with eggs and tomatoes presumably rotten and inedible as rationing was still in but the protesters soon stopped when they found out how little the women were being paid.

The women had a part-victory as they returned to work on the pay of a male semi-skilled worker — not the level of a male skilled worker but better than before the strike. During the Blitz on London women in voluntary organisations did a very important job. The WVS had one million members by 1943. Most were quite elderly as the younger women were in the factories or working on farms and were too exhausted to do extra work once they had finished their shift.

Basically, the WVS did whatever was needed. In Portsmouth, they collected enough scrap metal to fill four railway carriages……. They also looked after people who had lost their homes from Germans bombing — the support they provided for these shocked people who had lost everything was incalculable.

When the WVS were not on call, they knitted socks, balaclavas etc. Some WVS groups adopted a sailor to provide him with warm knitted clothing. In the military, all three services were open for women to join — the army, air force and navy.

Women were also appointed as air raid wardens. Like soldiers, they wore a khaki uniform.

Roles for women in WWII

The recruiting posters were glamorous — some were considered too glamorous by Winston Churchill — and many young ladies joined the ATS because they believed they would lead a life of glamour. They were to be disappointed. Members of the ATS did not get the glamour jobs — they acted as drivers, worked in mess halls where many had to peel potatoes, acted a cleaners and they worked on anti-aircraft guns.

But an order by Winston Churchill forbade ATS ladies from actually firing an AA gun as he felt that they would not be able to cope with the knowledge that they might have shot down and killed young German men.

His attitude was odd as ATS ladies were allowed to track a plane, fuse the shells and be there when the firing cord was pulled……By July 1942, the ATS had 217,000 women in it. They did the same as the ATS cooking, clerical work etc but the opportunities were there for slightly more exciting work. Some got to work on Spitfires. Others were used in the new radar stations used to track incoming enemy bomber formations. These radar sites were usually the first target for Stuka dive-bombers so a post in one of these radar stations could be very dangerous.

However, the women in this units were to be the early warning ears and eyes of the RAF during the Battle of Britain. For all of this, women were not allowed to train to be pilots of war planes.

American Women in World War II

There were 120 women in this unit out of 820 pilots in total. Women were also used as secret agents. Their work was exceptionally dangerous as just one slip could lead to capture, torture and death.

Their work was to find out all that they could to support the Allies for the planned landings in Normandy in June 1944. Both were awarded the George Cross for the work they did — the George Cross is the highest bravery award that a civilian can get. Both were captured and tortured.

Violette Szabo was murdered by the Gestapo while Odette Churchill survived the war.

Women in World War II

Gracie Fields was another favourite with the forces. The war in Europe ended in May 1945. At this time there were 460,000 women in the military and over 6.

Women in World War Two

Without their contribution, our war effort would have been severely weakened and it is probable that we would not have been able to fight to our greatest might without the input from women.

His most senior industry advisor, Albert Speer, pleaded with Hitler to let him use German female workers but right up to the end, Hitler refused.

  • Their work was vital as so many men were being called up into the military;
  • One attempt to recruit women into the labour force was in one short film My Father's Daughter;
  • Women also stepped into agricultural jobs;
  • Women as photo analysts also participated in the biggest intelligence coup of the war — the discovery of the German V1 flying bomb.

Hitler was happy for captured foreign women to work as slaves in his war factories but not German. Many of these slave workers, male and female, deliberately sabotaged the work that they did — so in their own way they helped the war effort of the Allies.