What impact did WWII have on women?

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  • What impact did WWII have on women?
    • "Do your bit for the war effort..."
      • All women aged 20+ had to register for war work.
        • Unless ill, pregnant, or had small children.
      • By 1945, 80% married women and 90% single women either working in industry or forces.
        • Some women reported to working 80 - 90 hrs a week on aeroplane assembly lines.
        • 7.5 mil women working in 1939.
      • During war, 60 mil changes of address registered.
        • Women had to cope with this.
      • Women in countryside looked after evacuees.
      • Many involved as air-raid wardens, fire officiers, members of armed forces
        • By 1943, over 443,000 women in auxiliary branches of armed forces (e.g. ATS, WAAF, WRNS).
      • 8x more women took on war work in WWII than WWI.
      • Trade unions accepted women more readily.
    • "...but still look after the children!"
      • Women had to work AND look after household.
      • Government and employers began to introduce flexible working hours.
    • Attitudes towards women workers
      • Many skilled jobs in aircraft industry broke down to several simpler jobs.
        • They were allocated to several different women.
        • Managers assumed women couldn't do these jobs.
      • 40% women employed in 1943 worked in jobs only available during wartime.
        • These couldn't be carried on after the war.
      • Many worked in auxiliary services.
        • These "helped" men rather than replacing them/working as equals.
        • ATS and WRNS never flew aircraft or sailed ships.
      • Wartime recruitment poster emphasised glamour and being feminine.
    • Attitudes of women
      • Many liked worked - feared they'd be forced out of job at end of war.
      • Labour force too much for returning soldiers to handle.
        • Older, married women responded quickly to government campaign.
          • Children usually at school so women free for part-time jobs.
        • Younger, married women more reluctant.
          • Saw their primary role as a housewife and were happy by this.
      • Women worked in light industry, shops, or for local authorities.
      • Women's magazines presented women as housewives.
    • Attitudes of government
      • Persuaded employees to offer special incentives to attract women to work.
      • Part-time/shift work helped women cope with demands of jobs and families.
      • Laundries placed at work.
      • Shops encouraged to deliver groceries at factories.
      • Governments allocated building materials to nurseries.
        • Also asked schools to stay open late and on holidays to look after children of working mothers.
      • Women encouraged to leave young children with relatives and babysitters.

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