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How useful and reliable are these sources in explaining how women’s lives were affected by World War One? Essay

World War One began in 1914 and ended in 1918. Women’s lives were majorly affected during the war. My role is to find out if the lives of women were greatly affected by the First World War. During the war since most of the men were off fighting, the women were needed to stay home and run things so that the economy would not completely fall apart. Women had to take over men’s work to ensure that the jobs were fulfilled this was a huge step for most women as before all that they knew was house work and how to look after the kids. The following source explains the wages and problems women had whilst working. Source A5, is useful to me because it tells me how much women earned in the munitions factories and whether or not they liked it. In domestic service women did not like the work, but when they started to work in such places like the munitions factory some changed their minds and actually enjoyed it. ‘I started on hand-cutting shell fuses, we worked twelve hours a day apart from the journey morning and night, as for wages; I was very well off earning £5 a week’. Source A5 was written by the memories of women’s lives that were altered by the war the main write being Mrs H. Felstead. These memories are shown in the ‘Imperial War Museum’ for the public. This source is reliable because it states when it was written and who wrote it. However the source might not be completely reliable because the memories of the women may have changed since then; I think that source A5 could also be biased in some way or another. The purpose of this source is to show what it was like 1914-1918. Source A7 links in with source A5 because it is also talking about wages in the First World War. Source A7 is reliable to me because of what is written in the poem, it was about the munitions factory in 1917. The source might not be entirely reliable because there is a chance that somebody made it up for entertainment.

The poem explains someone earning high wages; ‘She can buy all of the jewellery that she wants, she takes taxis and even has a sergeant to walk with’, basically she can afford anything that she wants. This tells me that her life was affected in a positive way during the war. Another interesting source that backs up A5 is A10, I think that source A10 is useful to me because it says when the war ended at an exact date, ‘11th November 1918’ and how the government practically forced women to go back to their old jobs. ‘Many women were pressurised into handing in their notice, within months of the end of the war, hundreds were out of work.’ I think that this source is reliable because the book was written by a Historian name is Josh Brooman who would have spent many years researching this subject, years in College and University, read sources and facts and gathering enough evidence to provide this information, He was chosen to be the author for a school’s history textbooks for GCSE students so he would have been respected and valued for his job as a Historian. Also a key part that is useful in this source is at the beginning where he states the exact date that the war ended, this is not opinion; but fact. But, this source could not have been completely reliable because it was written in 1994 for students, The truth could have been shaded a little in the book ‘People in change’ Parts of the text may have been edited a little not because they are wrong but so that it was suitable for the students learning about this subject for example information about how dangerous it was.

I think that the purpose of source A10 is to explain to future children when the ‘First World War’ ended and both what women did during and after the war. Source A6 is another interesting source that I choose; I think that this source is useful to me because it is about a man, who does not want things to change. To me it already sounds as if the source is biased, I also think that this source is reliable because it was written by a soldier from the first world war that could tell us everything that happened, His name is H.V Shawyer, he would have no reason to lie about his past and things he witnessed and would have told the truth people should respect this. It makes the source ALOT more reliable coming from a man who took part in the war because he has a first account of what really happened. ‘Many of the girls earned ten times my pay as a full corporal’ The source came from a book called ‘Voices and Images from the great War’. However, this source could not be entirely reliable because the book was written in 1990 and the soldiers memories of what happened me have been played out so many times in his mind that they change slightly psychologically and he may of tried to block out certain aspects of war meaning his opinion and past might not seem the same now as it did back then. I think that the purpose of this source is to explain what men and women did in their spare time during World War 1 and share a man’s account of past events.

During the war many women campaigned for women’s rights they were called campaigners. Suffragettes also were involved with these campaigners but they focused more on the privilege to be able to vote. This was a positive thing to happen because they began being able to voice their opinions of the world and how things worked without men’s input and opinions that were not fair. Source A8 explains some of this. The source was written in 1932 by Sylvia Pankhurst (An author and campaigner for women’s rights) Writing in a history book called ‘The Home Front: A mirror to life in England during the First World War’. In my opinion from hearing that Sylvia is a campaigner for women’s rights, this could be biased. I find that this source is useful to me because it explains what most women felt like when working in an aircraft factory. This source Is reliable to me because it states when it was written and who wrote it. ‘They were painting aircraft wings with dope varnish at a wage of 15s a week, For which they had to work from 8am to 6:30pm. It was common they told me, for six or more of the 30 women to be laying ill outside the workshop’ This means that it was a dangerous job where workers earned little money for working long hours. This means that the government didn’t really care about the workers nor support them despite them having to take over men’s jobs and keep the quality of work up. I think that the purpose of this source is to explain to other men and women what it was like working in an aircraft place.

In conclusion from all the information that I have gathered I have learnt that The war affected women in a number of ways. For one thing, women were told to begin working to help the economy. Some became nurses and many had to work in dangerous factories. A lot of women did not enjoy this line of work, it was tiring dangerous and underpaid. But, quite a few women were happier with their lives during the war. They fought to be heard, were allowed to vote were even seen to be more equal to men after the war. Many women lost men in their lives, their husbands, brothers, and fathers this would have been devastating. Before the war began, women were known to work in the kitchen, feed the kids, complete housework and look after their husbands. Many enjoyed the change of working to help everybody and were proud that they could prove they were just as capable as men, this changed the way of everything. In my opinion, Women’s lives were affected greatly by World War One and it was a massive change in history. I have the evidence from sources to prove this.

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