The Impact Of War On Women’s Education, Employment And Healthcare

By William Stewart

When we talk about War and women’s rights, we mean World War One that has changed the history of modern society. Education for women is not so much in question today in most of the developed world, but it was a hot topic a hundred years ago. World War One has changed the history and the social values which we successfully use and protect today. Why do we still discuss this problem? Didn’t the War give enough equality for women’s education, employment, and healthcare? If so, the popular TV show The Handmaids Tale, that highlights current gender imbalance, wouldn’t become as popular as it is today. 

The role of women during World War One

To understand the current issue, it is essential to acknowledge history. Heavy-handed theocracy of 17th-century Puritan New England with its marked bias against women didn’t prevent them from participating World War One. They served as nurses and munition factory workers. They sold war bonds and sewed bandages. They were spies and worked in shipyards. There was even a Women’s Royal Air Forces with females working as airplane mechanics. After the War, they were forced to work mostly because of the death of their husbands. They started holding positions in agriculture, private clerical, and government departments. 

Equal rights for women during the War

Roughly two million women replaced men during the War in Britain. It is much more than in the rest of Europe and even in Russia. Native English speaking women were working in munitions factories, which produced 80% of the weapon used by the British army. It was a tough job. They had to risk their lives working with poisonous substances without any adequate protection. In other words, they were cheap and replaceable labor. Cheap because they didn’t get half of a men’s wages for the same job. 

Who served in the army?

It is worth mentioning that many women were at the front often as nurses or as drivers of an ambulance. As it has already been mentioned, the Women’s Royal Air Forces in Britain existed but was rejected to go through training with a weapon. Other countries, such as the US and Russia, allowed women-soldiers in their troops, but not much. Online academic essay writing would help in further research on this topic and can provide more information.

Impact of War on the employment

Today it is generally believed that the War didn’t have a significant effect on female employment. However, taking on several traditionally men roles, led to big changes in the attitude. A lot of countries confessed that it was the final push toward giving women the right to vote. 8.4 million women in Britain were given the right to vote after the War. The US gave them suffrage in 1920. The War granted female part of the society with new social and economic options and stronger political voices. After 1918 they reappear on the world’s arena with shorter haircuts and shirts or even wearing trousers. Still, though, the role of domestic life as the primary concern of women remains unaltered.

Women’s education and healthcare

The right to gain education was still unreachable for the moment when the War has ended. The idea of girls education was far from its realization. Healthcare had better perspectives. Women lived to linger and lost fewer babies as before. Infant. mortality was significantly reduced. The main cause of this change was better living standards, especially nutrition. The income of the average family was rising in contrast to the prices for food. The pub restriction policy has also played a role in the improvement of living standards. It is also worth mentioning, that the attitude to the women as voters, who had a direct influence on parliament, has changed. They were constantly developing new skills and improving self-confidence.

Bottom line

WW1 has influenced history significantly, but it didn’t grant equal rights for women. It was the first step when men have acknowledged the power of unity and the importance of equality. Why is this issue important today, when we have not only the right to vote and get an education, but also every privilege society can offer? Gender studies are complicated. Despite all the privileges women have today, they still feel pressure in some fields or situations. Events like WW1 can chance events, but the mindset needs much more time than a hundred to change the attitude completely and forget about the fact that women had fewer rights than men in social life.

William Stewart is a historic researcher and advisor. His field of expertise is World War One, its impact, and consequences. He believes that women’s rights started to reveal themselves due to the War.

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  1. Pingback: The Role Of Education In Human Development - GirlTalkHQ

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