How Did WW1 Effect Women?
The First World War was an event that occured during a time that started women's rights in Canada. Before the war, women were treated unfairly and it was thought that men were superior to women. When the men left for war, women took over the workforce, but they were given lower wages. However, this war was the reason women noticed the inequality in the workforce and finally took action.
Roles of Women Before The War
The Impact of Women During The War
During this time, women's rights were being more recognized. The men had left to fight in the war and women were now working in jobs mostly reserved for men. "They had jobs like nurses, factory workers for weapons, railway guards and more."1 In fact, women's employment rates went higher during this time period. "From 23.6% of the working age population in 1914 to between 37.7% and 46.7% in 1919 (Braybon 1989, p.49)"2 "The employment of married women increased - nearly 40% of all women workers by 1918 (Braybon, 1989, p.49)"2
Although these women were doing the exact same work as the men in their workforce, they were being paid lower wages. They would be doing the exact same workload as the men would be, yet they weren't be paid the same amount. This began some demands for equal pay and angereed many women. Some women actually refused to work unless they were going to be paid the same as men. It was the sexism in the workforce that made women realize how unfair they were being treated.
As the war finished, men were returning back home to their families and would go back to their work. "Because women were paid less than men, there was a worry that employers would continue to employ women in these jobs even when men returned from war".2 Women were just as capable of doing jobs reserved for men and this created a worry because men thought women were taking over the workforce. However, that did not happen. "Women were sacked to make way for the returning soldiers or women remained working at lower wages than the men alongside them".2
Women's Rights After WW1
Does this have significance today?
2 "Striking Women," World War I: 1914-1918, http://www.striking-women.org/module/women-and-work/world-war-i-1914-1918. (March 08, 2016).
3 BBC, “What did World War One really do for women?,” iWonder, http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z9bf9j6. (March 08, 2016).
4 "Striking Women," The Inter-war Years: 1918-1939, http://www.striking-women.org/module/women-and-work/inter-war-years-1918-1939. (March 09, 2016).