ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

World War 2 The Home Front (The Changing Role of Women) WW 2

Updated on August 30, 2014

Womans Voluntary Service Badge

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.

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.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      7 years ago

      great very interesting i think you should put more detail but besides that good job and han is awesome



    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jimmy the jock 

      7 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Greta click on the small picture of me at the top of this page and it will take you to my profile where you will find my real name.....jimmy

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      hi, ive used some of this information in an essay for school, i was just wondering how i could refference this?

    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jimmy the jock 

      7 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Rene, thanks for sharing part of your story, I would love to hear more. I hope you have a great day next week at Bletchley Park. congratulations on your medal.....jimmy

    • profile image

      Rene Akeroyd Pedersen 

      7 years ago

      I served as a Special Y group operator in the ATS 1943-49 Sworn to secrecy for 30 years. Our coded messages sent by Morse were forwarded to Bletchley Park to be decoded.Our work shortened the war by 2-4 years. Got a medal a few years ago and I am going to the museum at B:P: next week.

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Most satisfactory

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      it really helped me with my homework

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      how many women became nurses during ww2?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Class were using your stuff as part of our gcse exam!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very helpful information to complete my school assignment thanks!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks so much for this information! Helped me a lot with my research. well at least people are seeing how valuable we are lol..I have a question though, is this only about women in Britain or you meant Candaian women fighting overseas(Britain)? Thanks again

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      very informative thankyou. this should help with my history exam tomorrow. it is a source study on ww2 but apparently we need to know the contrasts between the role of women in world war one and world war2 in australia.

      am i right in saying that the role of women in ww1 was very limited as women were considered as incapable and inferior so they only had limited contribution to the war effort such as volunteer work and nursing? and also, in ww2, women were able to become far more involved with major roles in auxilary forces?

    • Rafini profile image


      9 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

      Thank you for highlighting the role women played during WWII. It's nice to see.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Another nice hub, Jimmy. My mother often spoke proudly of having been a "Rosie the Riviter" in New York, where she worked in Tarrytown at the Eastern Aircraft Corporation riviting airplanes. "Rosie" was a fictional character made popular by Norman Rockwell's image on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1943. A government image of "Rosie" became even more popular in a "We Can Do It" poster.

      Women's role in World War II has been severely underplayed in the U.S. as well as in Great Britain.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      9 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Another, somewhat controversial, example of the changing role of women. Suggest you pay a call on the Archbishop of Canterbury and tell him to shape up or ship out!

    • bill oneill profile image

      bill oneill 

      9 years ago


      Good Show! Your article is well researched and touches a subject that little is known outside England. Your article helps spread the word that women in all the warring nations' work force, freed men who were badly needed at the front.

    • 2patricias profile image


      9 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Hello Jimmy,

      Thanks for this interesting Hub. We agree that women do not get mentioned often enough in accounts of WW2. Apart from factory work, the Land Army must have been tremendously hard work for women. Feeding a family when food was rationed must have been difficult.

      We are enjoying your little series of WW2 history hubs.

      P & T

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 

      9 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Jimmy - thank you for writing this. My mum was one of these volunteer women while my dad was on service overseas. (I was not born till '52, after the war was over). Happily, they both survived into their eighties, peace be upon them.

    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jimmy the jock 

      9 years ago from Scotland

      Thankyou for your comment Hello Hello, The Women of the wars were the begining of the end of male domination in the workforce, and the beginning of a new independent woman who could fend for herself without the need of a man.

      they paved the way for today's woman.....jimmy

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Would it be a bit of male conspiracy? When they came back they had to admit that women could do the same as man. This would be hard considering the precious male pride, especially in those days more than nowadays. Why man always have to lean on women and keep them down. They always seem to be so worried to loose their little throne.

      Thank you for this lovely hub and given them your praise and acknowledgement.

    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jimmy the jock 

      9 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks for sharing that information Ralph,I am researching the American way of life during WW2 at the moment, it is funny that Womens efforts seem to be forgotten and there is not much information to be found on the net about the roles they played.....jimmy

      P.S good to see you Ralph

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      9 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Nice Hub, Jimmie, as usual.

      Women entered the factory workforce in the U.S. also during WWII. However, they were pretty much confined to non-skilled production jobs until the 1960s. The first woman was accepted to the General Motors-United Automobile Workers apprentice program (toolmaker) at the AC Spark Plug Division of GM in Flint, Michigan, in 1966 or thereabouts. Now women are employed on all jobs in U.S. industry from production workers to CEOs. They can also be found in the military service on the battlefields alongside men, straight men, that is.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)