Gender, Class, and Patriotism: Women's Paramilitary Units in First World War Britain

TitleGender, Class, and Patriotism: Women's Paramilitary Units in First World War Britain
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsRobert, Krisztina
JournalInternational History Review
Volume19
Issue1
Pagination52 - 65
Date Published03/1997
Abstract

Contrary to traditional interpretations of women's reasons for joining paramilitary units during World War I, which emphasize economic incentives and dismiss patriotic motives, evidence examined here indicates that patriotism was a strong motive, albeit one of several. Never paying as much as other jobs, the paramilitary units attracted members for a mix of reasons: for many working-class women these included working conditions much less severe than those of the factory and undreamed-of opportunities for travel and adventure, while for many middle- and upper-class women, many of whom became officers, service in the armed forces afforded an opportunity to fully utilize education and skills and to contribute to the war effort.

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