Women in the First World War

Women In The First World War

Women in the First World War

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As one of the first total wars, World War I mobilized women in unprecedented numbers on all sides. The vast majority of them were drafted into the civilian work force to replace dead or conscripted men. Many served in the military in support roles, e.g. as nurses, but some saw combat as well.

Home front





In 1914 Britain declared war on Germany and many men left their jobs to fight overseas. Women were called on, by necessity to do work and take on roles that were outside their gender expectations. Many women took on jobs that were traditionally classed as men’s work.

As well as paid employment, they were also expected to take on other unpaid, voluntary work such as knitting clothes and preparing hampers for soldiers on the front. This proved that women were capable of taking on work in the employment front and therefore forced the voting controversy that was later to come. Jobs they participated in included working in factories making ammunition that would be sent to the front and also farming the land to keep up food supplies.

During World War I, women had a big role to play. Coal was necessary in Britain, in homes, factories and offices and public buildings and women helped to mine this coal. This was a different scenario from World War II because most of Britain was then run by electricity. This was a dramatic change because women replaced men in power stations. Women replaced men in many factories, farms and other jobs as the men were at war with Germany and their...
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