Do You Agree with the View That Ww1 Did Little to Advance Women’s Rights? Essay

1719 WordsAug 12, 20137 Pages
Do you agree with the view that WW1 did little to advance women’s rights? Post-war culture shows us that society was subject to conservatism and little progress was made regarding the enfranchisement of women. In the workplace, ‘women’s work’ involved domestic service- it was poorly paid and perceived as inferior to ‘men’s work’. It was expected that women should sacrifice work once married and adopt roles of wife, mother and housekeeper. Despite this Britain had one of the most active suffragette movements in Europe- the WSPU 1903, founded by Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst. However, before war changes to the law were few and far between as a result of reluctance from politicians; the Prime Minister, Asquith. It is commonly assumed that the First World War played a significant part in developing women’s political rights. However, its role may be overstated. Was the war a catalyst, speeding up the progression of women’s rights, or were the effects so trivial that no advancements were made? With millions of men sent away to fight as soldiers, the war provided women with an opportunity to get an insight into the male world of work. This crushed the idea of separate spheres and gave women themselves purpose and freedom. Source 16 explains how women began to break free of the stereotypes inflicted upon them, ‘thousands of women had experienced the joys of achievement.’ They were experiencing the thrill of something new and it was exciting. This quashed the theory that women were too fragile or unable to perform male dominated jobs. This is supported by Source 17, ‘this should not blind us to new freedoms for women which emerged from the Great War’- it reinforces the idea of independence women gained. This disagrees with the idea the war had little effect on women’s rights. The determination and relentless campaigning of women suffrage movements was a large factor in

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