Monday, October 19, 2009

Women in World War Two

As in World War One, women played a vital part in this country's success in World War Two.At the end of WW2, those women who had found alternate employment from the normal for women lost their jobs to the returning soldiers. Many young girls found jobs in domestic service, the wages were still only 25p a week. The women between the two wars had full voting equality with men. In 1928 a law was passed stated any person over 21 could vote-male or female.

Women were called on to help on the land and the Women's Land Army (WLA), their work was vital as so many men were called into the military. The government tried to make out this was a glamorous job, in fact the work was hard. In 1943, the shortage of women in factories and on land lead to the government stopping women from joining the armed forces. They were given a choice of either working on land or in the factories.

Many women decided that they would work in a factory, their work was in all manners of production, from making ammunition, making uniforms to aeroplanes. They worked long hours and some had to move to where the factories were, those who moved away were paid more.

In the military all three services were open to women, women were also appointed as air raid wardens, but women could not train as pilots of war planes. Women were also used as secret agents, their work was exceptionally dangerous as one slip could lead to capture, torture and death. Women was also important in entertainment.

The war ended in Europe in May 1945, at this time there were 460,000 women in the military and over 6.5 million in civilian war work. Without their contribution, our war efforts would have been severely weakened and it is probable that we would not have been able to fight to our greatest might without the imput from women. Rosie the Riveter was the name given the iconic image representing women during WW2 on the home front war effort.

Hitler captured foreign women to work as slaves in his war factories. Many of these slave workers, male and female, deliberately sabotaged the work that they did-so in their own way they helped the war effort of the Allies.


Anonymous said...

We had about the same situation here in America during the war. Women began working in factories and women were offered jobs for the first time. Gasoline was rationed and it was always 20 or more miles, one way, to work and back, so the old cars putted along on patched tires and inner tubes and somehow they got to work while the men were at war.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

One often forgets or never knew in the first place, the contribution of women in the War effort....This is a great reminder Margaret....Also, there were many other contributions by women--as Nurses-In-Harms-Way, and as Nurses, period. Many women rolled bandages and packed parachutes, etc., etc. And of course there were the women who joined the WACS and the WAVES, too, here in the USA. Family's--the woman still at home---honored rationing in all ways. Meat and Gas, etc. I know our car was put up on some kind of short stilts for the duration, because we did not qualify for enough gas to run the car. These were certainly different times, weren't they?....Rosie The Riveter...I remember that well!
Thanks for jogging my memory and for reminding everyone about the contributions of women during WW2.

Patty said...

Never underestimate a lady. We're all a lot more stronger than some men think.

A New Beginning said...

May the world never sees the face of war ever again.Amen
Its completely devastating and helps no one at all..dont know when the peace slaughterers understand that..
Thanks for the thought provoking and highly informative post Margaret.
My new post has got a bit jumbled and has got published after 2 old posts, this is the link( Thought that would help tracking it :)
Take care and have a great week ahead!


Women over here( UK) played an active role on the land. A very interesting post to read, much research must have gone into writing it. Thanks for sharing.

Tea said...

This one event sure shaped the way our country would go. When women left the home the usual way of life changed, too. Women took jobs and never went back to the way it was before the war. Being a home oriented person I'm a little sad over that part.

Linda said...

This is so interesting that you posted this - just this past year, I had the pleasure of reading my Aunt's oral history online ~ she was a ship welder during World War II:

At the same link, there's a really cool photograph of her and two of her co-workers in their welding attire:

Margaret Cloud said...

Thank you friends for coming by, I always appreciate your input. It is very helpful and fills in the gaps I have left out.

Babli said...

Wonderful post. In this present scenario, women are one step ahead of men. So women can never be underestimated as they are very strong, powerful and can do all types of difficult job. Nowadays women can be seen in each and every job which men do and they are competing with same pace. So we all should be proud to be woman.

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