Even though women weren’t fighting on the frontlines like the men they still contributed in a large way for the war effort back on the home front and without them the country would have collapsed. In a male dominated society World War 1 was a great opportunity for women to prove them selves while society was in total war.
While men were off fighting in the war over sees women had their chance to join the work force. In 1917 there was a survey held which said that 98% of women had changed jobs since the beginning of World War 1 and 16% moved out of domestic service. Some of the most common jobs for women were nurses, Factory workers, sewing of bandages and clothing, taking care of children and working on planes as mechanics in the women’s royal air force.
A lot of women worked in munitions factories to help support the war effort. The working conditions for the women in munitions factories were very bad; this meant that accidents were quite common in the workplace. These included explosions of TNT, which took over 70 lives and destroyed hundreds of surrounding homes. The lives of many were affected well after the war had ended because of chemicals, some of these would turn their skin yellow; the ones with yellow skin were nicknamed the canaries of the arms factories.
With the bad conditions of the munitions factories for it didn’t help that they were being paid less than half of what the man were. Women were also doing simplified unskilled tasks just trying to keep up production for the front lines, most working 12-hour shifts and some working 13 days straight without breaks.
In World War 1 there was over 3000 civilian nurses who volunteered for service over sees. Many of these women did it so they could be closer to love ones or to be able to travel. There were also another 2000 nurses from the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) who went over sees to aid the troops along side other services and organisations such as Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) and the Red Cross to help directly with the war effort.
Although Women didn’t ever get to fight on the front line like the men, women still contributed to the war effort in a major way by taking over their partners jobs, taking care of their children to allow them to go fight, working in munitions factories and nursing on the front line to keep the men alive and healthy.
Women’s Role and Place
Women in War Time
Women in World War 1
Women in World Wars Wikipedia
Indigenous Australians at War
Indigenous Australian Servicemen
Torres Strait Islander Soldiers