Women's Role In The First World War

Superior Essays
Georgina Smith
Ms. Large
Social Studies 11
5th April 2016
Women’s Role in the First World War
Many men during WWI, shunned the idea of women playing a frontline role in ‘their war’, and rarely even accepted their help. Some men even went as far as to consider the recruitment of women, a sign of total war. This was because in all of the past years, women’s only role was to stay home and support the family.The first world war gave women the chance to dramatically change their role in everyday life. However, they certainly had to work towards it.

A lot of women on the homefront were anxious, alone, and in constant fear that they would get a letter about their husband’s or son’s death. This encouraged a new bill to be passed. The ‘Gold Star Mothers’
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In the late nineteenth century, women had to initiate the international council of women, which had several million members by the beginning of the war in 1914 (Cavendish, pg.740). American women working jobs to win the war, were all denied official military status, no matter how difficult these jobs were. For Example, Nurses working on the front line for the war, were exposed to gory, horrifying mental and physical injuries such as the infamous broken faces and twisted limbs. Yet, these women were officially labeled ‘officers without rank’. Women devoting themselves to their country also had to face the sexual rumours. These rumours were spread amongst men, suggesting that women taking a part of the war ‘must be lesbians’, because they seemed to believe that was the only reason they would contribute, and therefore were somehow unworthy of serving the country. In an effort to promote motherhood and grow the population, starting in 1929 there were many country-wide bans on sale of contraceptives in fascist countries, and soon after the ban extended to france and britain. Some countries even made a law making abortion punishable by life imprisonment. Because of the growing percentage of women in traditional mens jobs, women were given the right to be allowed on the road, driving on their own in streetcars. By 1914, certain states of america began making the right for women to vote legal and in …show more content…
These women dressed up and handed out white feathers to any men not in army uniform. The white feather was a symbol of cowardice. Starting in 1916, women replaced men in non combat jobs such as communications, administration, and catering, so that they could send more men to the front line. Having women in mens positions for the first time was a huge feminist advance, and very discouraged by most men. For thousands of years, it was almost unheard of for a woman to be working in a factory, and even more unlikely for women to be working anywhere near the front line. However, feminine jobs still existed in the first world war. General john pershing requested applicants had to be single, in excellent physical condition, speak fluent french, and have a college education. Yet still these women worked close to the front line, which made men uncomfortable. The girls were named the ‘Hello Girls’ because every time they picked up the phone, the first thing they said was “hello?”. The Hello Girls wore US army uniform supplied by the red cross, and were sworn into the American army, and yet they were still denied US veteran status after the war ended. Men in the war were forever opposed to giving women any

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