The Effect of the First World War on Women's Rights Essay

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The Effect of the First World War on Women's Rights

By 1918, when the war had ended, there had been a change of attitude towards women and the right to vote. The Representation of the People Act gave the vote to some women and before the war all attempts by the women's movement to get the vote passed through Parliament had failed. Therefore, the work done by women in the war (1914-1918) proved to be very important in bringing about the change of attitudes towards women and allowing some to vote. The work done by women in the war was a short-term reason. Attitudes towards women and giving them the vote had been changing for a long time before this. There had been improvements in career and education
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Women were needed to keep the country going.

Women from all different backgrounds took over a variety of different jobs. Examples were bus conductors, postal workers and the Women's Land Army was formed in February 1917, to recruit women as farm labourers. By 1914, 90% of the workers in post offices were women. The number of women working in transport in 1914 was 18 000 and in 1918 it was 117 000, which showed a large increase. The number of women working in areas of work such as metals, chemicals, food and drink, timber, transport and Government had all increased from 1914 to 1918. Women working in metals particularly showed a very high increase, as 170 000 women were working in that area of work in 1914 and the number had risen to 594 000 by 1918. 195 000 women had replaced the men's jobs. All these areas of work had shown an increase greater than the number of women that took over the men's jobs. Therefore it showed that more job opportunities were becoming available for women and it encouraged women to go out to work, which changed their traditional role of just looking after the home and family.

Women were soon replacing office jobs left by the men. By the end of the war half a million women had replaced men in office jobs. Before the war it was very rare for women to be employed by the Government and in 1914 only 2 000 women were. However by 1918, 225 000

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