The impact of the war on women
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The impact of the war on women. By Mr S F Yelland King’s High School, Pontefract. Downloaded from Key points Before the war, the most common employment for a woman was as a domestic servant. However, women were also employed in what were

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The impact of the war on women

By Mr S F Yelland

King’s High School, Pontefract

Downloaded from

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Key points

Before the war, the most common

employment for a woman was as a

domestic servant. However, women

were also employed in what were

seen to be suitable occupations e.g.

teaching, nursing, office work.

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Key points

When war broke out in August 1914,

thousands of women were sacked

from jobs in dressmaking, millinery

and jewellery making.They needed

work – and they wanted to help the

war effort.

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Key points

Suffragettes stopped all militant

action in order to support the war


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Key points

At first, there was much trade union

opposition and the employment of

women had not increased

significantly before the summer of

1915. In July 1915, a ‘Right to

Work’ ,march was organised by a

leading suffragette, Christabel


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Key points

The shell shortage crisis in 1915

began to change the situation.

Women were taken on to work in

munitions factories. The government

did a deal with the trade unions,

known as the Treasury Agreements.

The unions agreed to accept female

labour in place of men ‘for the

duration of the war’.

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Key points

The introduction of conscription in

1916 led to an increase in the

number of women employed in all

sectors of the economy.

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Key points

Many women were paid good wages,

especially in munitions factories, but

in most cases they were paid lower

rates than men.

Improved wages did permit greater

independence for some women.

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Key points

Women became more visible in the

world of work. They were seen to be

doing important jobs.

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Key points

The armed forces also employed

women, but the jobs were mainly of

a clerical and domestic nature.

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Key points

Women were in great demand for

the ‘caring’ side of employment and

became nurses in the First Aid

Nursing Yeomanry, and drivers and

clerks in Voluntary Aid Detachments.


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After the War

1 Women were expected to give way to men returning from the forces and return to pre-war ‘women’s work’.

2 The assumption that ‘a woman’s place is in the home’ returned.

3 The percentage of women at work returned to pre-war levels.

4 More women than before worked in offices.

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After the War

5 Shorter skirts and hair became fashionable.

6 Women went out with men without a chaperone.

7 Women smoked and wore make-up in public for the first time.

8 In 1919: being female or married was no longer allowed to disqualify someone from holding a job in the professions or civil service.

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The End Of My