Propaganda from the First World War encouraging women to join the workforce and support the National war effort.
Prior to World War One, in both the United Kingdom and the United States, the traditional jobs for women were limited to servants, housewives, and as clothing factory workers. While some women managed to enter career paths, most were expected to be involved in “duties at home” and “women’s work”. However, with men away fighting the raging war, there was an extreme shortage of labor in a range of industries, from farming to office jobs. In order to save the country from total economic collapse, women were allowed to step in and take over typically male careers. However, “Working in industrial outfits and in positions traditionally held by men caused a revolution in terms of women’s empowerment” (Socio-Political Changes Following WWI).
Women entering the workforce increased support for Women’s Suffrage Movement and influenced the passing of laws supporting women’s rights. Before the war ended, the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed in the United Kingdom. This act stated that, “Women over 30 years old received the vote if they were either a member or married to a member of the Local Government Register, a property owner, or a graduate voting in a University constituency” (Representation of the People Act). After the war on August 18th, 1920, the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote in the United States (Nineteenth Amendment).
The Women’s Suffrage movement gained huge momentum during and after the first World War. This War had a significant impact on the social and political structure of society, as well as the ideology of women in that society. Women gained respect for their great support efforts throughout the war, and it was recognized that women could do anything a man could.
“Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 June 2014. Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Nineteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution>.
“Representation of the People Act 1918.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Representation_of_the_People_Act_1918#Terms_of_the_Act>.
“Socio-Political Changes Following World War I.” Socio-Political Changes Following World War I. Maps of World, n.d. Web. <http://www.mapsofworld.com/ world- war- i/socio-political-changes.html>.
“Women in the Progressive Era.” Women in the Progressive Era. National Women’s History Museum, n.d. Web. <https://www.nwhm.org/html/exhibits/ progressiveera/ worldwarI.html>.
“Women in World War One.” Web log post. The Great War Revealed. N.p., n.d. Web. <http%3A%2F%2Fthegreatwarrevealed.weebly.com%2Fwomens-roles-in- ww1.html>.