World War 2 The Home Front (The Changing Role of Women) WW 2
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Women At War
When it comes to warfare we think of men fighting against men on a battlefield in the sky on land or at sea.
We forget that in order for those men to fight on the front line that behind the scenes there are millions of people working hard to keep them going with supplies of food clothing and ammunition.
These forgotten people were vital in Britains war effort they kept the home fires burning, they worked in the fields to keep the country supplied with food, the took the place of the young men who went into battle in factories, working long hours doing manual labour and they also looked after the children and ran homes as the young men fought.
5 million women helped to fill the roles of the menfolks who were on the battlefleds
These Women of Britain were the unsung hero's of world War 2 and they should never be forgotten.
Women Working In an Aircraft Factory
Women in a Mens World
With all of the young men fighting on the front line the factories of Britain became severely under staffed production was falling constanly and the only people available to fill the posts were men who were unable to go to war because of age or health.
Although the women were keen to get into the factories because they knew that they could earn far much more money than they ever could before the outbreak of the war, the Government were reluctant to let them into this kind of employment mainly because of pressure from the trade unions who thought that women were weaker and inferior and would not fit into the roles that were considered masculine.the trade unions also felt that if women did work in the factories that they should not earn as much as their male counterparts.
The Government also feared the by having women in the workplace home and family life would suffer, children would be neglected, homes wouldnot be looked after and mealtimes would find nothing made for husbands in reserved occupations and family life would be a shambles.
but the Government had to relent in the end because of the sheer amount of male volunteers into the armed forces and in 1941 the Government issued a registration of employment order for all males and females between the age of 18-65 to register for war work.
in December 1941 Britain made history when they introduced the National sevice act number 2 because it not only made war work compulsory for everyone but it made britian the first nation in the world to conscript women.
The only way to get the factories back up to speed was to allow women onto the factory floor and into the jobs that were considered mens work.
For the first time women were operating heavy machinary, turning lathes, stoking boilers . they made the supplies for the battle fields shells, airplanes, tanks the women in the factories of Britain kept the troops well supplied to fight their enemy as the war rumbled on women were working in the factories for 80 hours a week, especially in the aircraft factories which were needed because of the constant barrage of German bombers women were asked to work between 100-120 hours every week.
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Women of the Womens Land Army
The Womens Land Army
Feeding the troops and keeping Britain supplied with enough food became a difficult task simply because enemy forces were blocking shipping routes, farms around the country were producing more food than ever before and workers were needed to help plant harvest and look after livestock, again women were depended upon to fill these roles and the Women's land army was born out of this necessity for farm workers.
farm working was long and hard the women worked 12 hours a day no matter what the weather, in muddy fields but they most of the time kept their spirits up knowing that they were doing it for their country and for the men who were fighting for freedom.
Princess Elizabeth With Her Ambulance
Women In The Emergency Services
Women were also conscripted into the emergency services for the first time women were fighting fires, driving ambulances manning first aid stations and there were a few women conscripted into the police force.
Girls as young as 14 years old were conscripted too, and they were often seen fighting fires ,delivering telegrams and manning the first aid posts.
Princess Elizabeth the future Queen also became involved and served as an ambulance driver
Female Test Pilots
Women In The Armed Forces
From the age of 17 Women could volunteer to work in the armed foces in an auxiliary role, The ATS( Auxiliary territorial service) for the army,The WAAF (Womans Auxiliary Air Force)The RAF and The WRNS(Womans Royal Navy Service) for the Royal Navy.
Women were not at this time expected to fight on the front line but they played a massive supporting role for the troops who were.
A womans role was restricted to secretarial work, catering and Nursing, in the early days of the war but later women were trained to bear arms in case they were required to fightand ladies were test flying aircraft and taking up posts usually filled by males freeing the men to fight for their country.
Britains Unsung Hero's
Without the massive effort and sacrifice made by the Women of world War 2 Britain would have been on its knees, they kept not only the armed forces supplied with everything that they needed but they kept Britain supplied too.
They even managed to have some fun on the way and have time to look after their families, they worked had and they played hard these are the true hero's of world war 2.
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