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Women and WW1. to understand the contribution made by women in WW1. Women and WW1. Before WW1 women were not treated as equals by men . The suffragettes had been campaigning for the vote but called it off when the war started. They got behind the government and supported the war effort.

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women and ww1

Women and WW1

to understand the contribution made by women in WW1

slide2
Women and WW1.

Before WW1 women were not treated as equals by men. The suffragettes had been campaigning for the vote but called it off when the war started. They got behind the government and supported the war effort.

At the beginning of the war they encouraged men to join the forces.

Later they did the jobs left behind by men.

They delivered post, drove buses, worked as mechanics, window cleaners, firefighters, and did much heavier work in shipbuilding and steelmaking.

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They proved that they could as well as men, and in some cases better but still received lower pay.

Over 1000,000 women responded to the government’s appeal to work on the land by joining the Women’s Land Army.

These “Land Girls” did the job of farm labourers who had joined the forces and kept the country supplied with food.

Some took a more direct role in the war. 23,000 served as nurses, 15,000 joined the Voluntary Aid Detachments (VAD’s) and in 1917 the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was set up to take over the office jobs in the army freeing the men to fight.

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Women in the munitions industry.

This contributed a vital role in winning the war.

In 1915 the government lead by Lloyd George (the munitions minister) organised a massive propaganda campaign to get women to work in munitions factories. This was because there was a fear that the troops at the front were running out of shells.

The working day was lengthened because of the demand for shells and some women worked 12 hour shifts.

They worked with toxic chemicals, and explosions and fires were common

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In 1917 a fire at the Silvertown munitions works in East London caused an explosion that killed 69 people and injured 400.

Those who worked regularly with TNT found that their skin turned yellow (“canary girls”). This condition known as “toxic jaundice” could be fatal. Their hair fell out and they aged prematurely.

By 1917 900,000 women worked in the munitions industry which represented 60% of the workforce.

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Consequences/effects.

We could of lost the war without women’s contribution.

Many died long suffering deaths due to toxic poisoning.

Women gained more independence from doing the work of men and earn their own wages.

They were proud at their part in winning the war and men recognised their contribution.

In 1918 women over the age of 30 were given the vote.

Fashion changed because of the need to wear more comfortable clothes to work in (shorter skirts – less material)

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Some things changed little because when men returned they replaced women in the heavy jobs and women’s employment returned largely to the pattern it had been before the war started.

In the long-term women had gain a far more positive image of themselves and their attitudes were never the same again.

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