War Work

TitleWar Work
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsDowns, Laura Lee
EditorWinter, Jay M.
Book TitleThe Cambridge History of the First World War: Civil Society
PublisherCambridge University Press

By the early 1980s historians of women and gender would start to complicate the narrative of war work as emancipation via a series of national and industry specific case studies. Yet the literature on war work as emancipation was not wrong to see that the First World War marked important long-term shifts in the organisation of economic and social life. The particular way that French employers and factory supervisors implemented welfare management strategies had the effect of upholding the distinction between work and not-work, between women's paid labour in factories and their unpaid labour in the home. The partial monetarisation of services during the war, via allowances paid to soldier's wives, food rationing, collective feeding and expanding network of social services at work and in municipalities, would leave its imprint in a range of ways on the workplace, and on post-war welfare and social protection across all combatant nations.

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