British Working Women and the First World War

TitleBritish Working Women and the First World War
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsPyecroft, Susan
JournalThe Historian
Date Published06/1994

Many in World War I-era Britain believed the war would be a turning point for women, and many post-war historians have concluded that women in wartime seized a range of new work opportunities, won political and legal rights, and put to rest prevailing gender stereotypes. This view, however, obscures the true effect of the war on women and has been challenged by several historians, who argue that the realities of women's wartime and postwar experiences differed greatly from wartime rhetoric. This article supports the views of the latter historians by drawing on theĀ Women's Industrial News, the publication of the Women's Industrial Council, to understand the status of women's work before, during, and after the war, and to examine society's attitudes toward women and their role in both the domestic sphere of reproduction and the public sphere of production. This article concludes that Britain never comfortably blended the concepts of "woman" and "worker."

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