Women in the Great War

This book tells the story of what women were called upon to do during the Great War, at a time when life in a social setting had already started to change for them. A combination of expectations of a greater self being other than that of motherhood or domestic service had taken hold in society. A refusal to ‘accept your place in life’ coupled with the new opportunities available for women with the outbreak of war, changed women’s lives forever.

More and more men were needed to go off and fight in the war, but the jobs which they left behind still needed doing, and it was women who had to fill the gap that had been left behind. Some of these jobs, such as working in Munition’s factories, had a direct effect on the war effort, whilst others helped keep a day to day stability on the home front. Women were no longer ‘just’ wife’s and mothers , they now had to run a home, worry about their men folk who were away, fighting a war, look after their children, whilst holding down a full time job. The vast majority had never earned their own money before, or been able to make decisions in relation to financial matters that directly affected them. With jobs and money, many women were now experiencing social freedoms for the first time, which hadn’t really been a part of their lives before now.

The book also looks at the part the Suffrage movement played in all of these changes and culminates with the end of the war and the different expectations that both men and women now had. Soldiers returning from the war wanted their old jobs back, after all what had they been fighting for if now they didn’t even have a job, but for women they had experienced four years of a new way of life and understandably weren’t just prepared to give it all up so readily.

An interesting and enjoyable book, read it and see what you think.

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