Was there a positive effect on the role of women, during World War one?

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World War One affected the population in Britain, like no other war had affected previous generations. ‘It has been estimated that around 6 million British people had direct experience of trench warfare during the First World War’ (Peaple & Lancaster, p287, 2000). The enormous demands of mobilising enough manpower, left behind the problem of how to maintain resources for the army and how to feed the population. The only way to fulfil the shortage of labour was to allow women to fill the vacancies that were left behind. Using my own research i will discover whether the World War One had a positive effect on the role of women. After the immediate rise in female unemployment at the beginning of the war due to the ‘middle-classes wish to economise’ (first world war, accessed 07/01/09), the only option to replace the volunteers gone to front was to employ women in the jobs they had left behind. This was supported by all the major feminist groups, who suddenly ‘became avid patriots and organisers of the women in support of the war effort’ (war and gender, accessed 22/01/09). Overall women’s employment increased from ‘three million in 1914 to five million in 1918’ (Murphy, p373, 2000). For many of the women the war was ‘a genuinely liberating experience’ (first world war, accessed 07/01/09), and made the women feel useful as citizens. Also for some women it gave them the freedom that only men had enjoyed so far and ‘offered escape from jobs of badly paid drudgery’ (war and gender, accessed 22/01/09). In one women’s words it was said to be like ‘being let out of a cage’ (war and gender, accessed 22/01/09). The fact that it offered women freedom gives the impression that World War One did have a positive effect on the role of women. In support of the World War One having a positive effect on the women’s role. Other aspects did improve, the wages increased for women,
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