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How Much did Women Contribute to the War Effort?.

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Presentation on theme: "How Much did Women Contribute to the War Effort?."— Presentation transcript:

1 How Much did Women Contribute to the War Effort?

2 Suffragists & Suffragettes Unite Suffragists –Led by Millicent Fawcett –Sought vote through peaceful petition & demonstration of competence to vote –Used publicity machine to push enlistment Suffragettes –Led by Emmeline Pankhurst –Sought vote through demonstrations (some times violent), protest and public stunts –Demanded right to work in factories Other women’s organizations formed –Order of the White Feather: Gave men who didn’t volunteer white feathers –Mother’s Union: urged mothers to persuade sons to volunteer –Active Service League: took oath to encourage men to volunteer

3 Labor Shortage Labor shortages –2 million fewer workers than needed to keep economy going –500,000 office jobs easily filled by women –200,000 women hired for government jobs –Manufacturing jobs, where unions were strong, were a different story Manufacturing employers’ dilemma –Feared women couldn’t do jobs –Also feared reaction of unions –Unions did resist, fearing lowering of wages –Most unions specifically banned women

4 Munitions Work Tiring & dangerous –Shifts grew longer as war dragged on –Explosions were part of occupational hazard –Effects of prolonged exposure to explosives included breathing difficulties, rashes, blood poisoning and even brain damage

5 Women’s Industrial Revolution Women gained access to new jobs –Loss of men meant need for women in non- traditional roles 1.6 million new jobs for women –Bus drivers, postal workers, farm laborers, coal deliverers, grave diggers, road layers, welders, steel workers –Most cities had Women’s Volunteer Police Service –260,000 women served in women’s Land Army, working as farmers –1918: Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) formed for non-combat duties –Salvation Army sent women as nurses, cooks and helpers to France –Women factory football teams formed


7 Welshpool Munitions Factory, Women’s Football Team, 1915

8 A Class of Women Women came from many backgrounds –Some married women took husbands’ jobs –Mostly unmarried women in factories –Gov’t asked middle-class families to do w/o servants –Many former servants earned higher wages and preferred factory working conditions

9 Summarize in your Words Make brief summary notes on how the war affected women civilians. Mention: –Their role in recruitment –Job opportunities –Men’s attitudes –Working conditions

10 Focus Task: How did women contribute to the war effort? It is 1918. Use your notes to write a report for the PM David Lloyd George. Your report is designed to convince him that the contribution of women to the war effort means they should get the vote. You should mention the role of women in: –Recruiting –Freeing men to fight –Munitions –Putting up with prejudice –Women’s success at doing ‘men’s work’

11 PSDs on British Women in WWI At this hour of England’s great peril and desperate need, I do hereby pledge myself most solemnly in the name of the King and Country to persuade every man I know to offer his services to the country, and I also pledge myself never to be seen in public with any man who, being in every way fit and free for service, has refused to respond to his country’s call. – Part of the oath of the Active Service League. [The work women are doing] … is not of the repetitious type, demanding little or no manipulative ability … it taxes the intelligence of the operatives to a high degree. Yet the work turned out has reached a high pitch of excellence. – From the trade journal The Engineer, 20 August 1915.

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