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The onset of world war one, 1914 to 1918, meant that many job positions held by men were left vacant by the men who had to go to war. Most women were recruited to fill these vacant jobs. Also, new job opportunities arose due to the rise in demand for weapons. Factories manufacturing weapons employed a large number of women. The government also started recruiting women to fill work positions that were reserved for men such as guards, firefighters, clerks, bank tellers, and police.
Female workers working in the factories worked with poisonous chemicals without the required safety measures and some women died from being overexposed.
Even though the employment rates of women increased, they were paid less than what the men used to be paid.
Adie, K. (2013). Fighting on the Home Front: the legacy of women in World War One. Hachette UK.
This led to demand for equal pay after the war because women who were working alongside men, who had returned from the war, were receiving low wages and yet they were doing the same work.
In 1918, women workers went on a strike demanding their salaries to be increased as per what the men were receiving as war bonuses. In 1917, the war cabinet proposed that people should receive equal pay for equal work.
Report of the war cabinet committee on women industry, cmd 135, 1919, p.2
Today most women are enjoying this right and are being paid as much as the men receive for equal job.
Women also gained the right to vote across the United States.
As women supported the nation’s efforts in the war by offering their services to the nation helped their cause. They convinced many Americans that they should be given a chance to vote.
A document signed by the secretary of state the 19th amendment to the constitution. 26.8.1920
Women have ever since been regarded as crucial citizens and are to vote and even participate in politics.
The health of women also improved after world war one. Women were not depending on men as breadwinners because the war showed that women were adept at working. They proved to society that they were competent at doing the men’s work. government policy on rationing and the earnings in a small household meant that food was affordable. Women became independent and also infant mortality reduced meaning women lost few children in infancy.
Milkman, R. (2013). Women, work, and protest: a century of US women’s labor history. Routledge.
Women worked in the military as nurses while others served as soldiers. In America, women who have admitted to the navy got the same benefits as men. Women were also trained to operate phones and stenographs
Jeanne Holm, women in the military: an unfinished revolution (1993) pp3-21
Cornish, P., & Saunders, N. J. (2013). Introduction. In Bodies in Conflict (pp. 21-28). Routledge.
Women pilots also wanted to work for the military but only a few were accepted. The ones that were accepted were assigned as reconnaissance pilots to check on the progress of the enemy troops. Women these days are allowed in the military and in combat operations and flying fighter jets. The first world war was truly a turning point for women in society.
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