By presenting women with the opportunity to use their voice, they were able to advance the development of Colonial and Post-War America. Without the help of women during the American Revolution, soldiers would have lacked prepared food, repaired and washed clothing, medical care, relevant information, and in some cases, additional manpower. After the War, most women could only influence politics by encouraging their male relatives.
But what is rarely mentioned is all the behind the scenes work women were responsible for while men were off fighting in the military. The war disrupted their ordinary lives, and the everyday roles men were employed in needed to be filled. Women throughout the United States assumed untraditional roles to so that life would continue, now being involved in politics, factories, businesses, commanding the household, and helping during
Thousands of women made careers out of being a nurse due to the Civil War and many volunteered their time to aid the wounded soldiers. Women also contributed their home skills by sewing and knitting items for both armies that were necessities. Also, the women who decided to stay behind with their families, unlike in the Revolutionary War were able to be the sole provider for their
The Civil War was a defining moment in the history of the United States. It is well known that many men served and died as soldiers, but women also played an important role in winning the war and supporting the men. Northern women as well as Southern women served our country as spies, nurses, and secret soldiers. As spies, some women went undercover to find new information to provide to the sergeants. As nurses, women would help to cure wounded soldiers and take care of them in the infirmaries located at the bases.
They started getting out of their home and some made their way to the battlefields. If not in the field they worked behind the scenes to support the military irrespective of their race or class. Life of American women during the war was totally different from the stereotypical view of women’s life in the family. The media started writing and broadcasting the bravery of American warriors in the war and urged people from all walks of life irrespective of class, race or gender to join the war effort. The mentality of American women to work for the nation, even if that was beyond their capability, redefined the role of women in a new and revolutionary viewpoint.
Nursing Among the most important roles played by women was nursing (Perica 5). Most of the women during this time of war acted as nurses. Although the women nurses were not much utilized in the early days of the war, their role as nurses became more acknowledged in 1777. Most of the women who acted as nurses were initially camp followers.
Yet, women were expected to set aside their personal beliefs to insure that America could still make further advancements without its men. However, women still complied because they knew the responsibility laid with them to keep the nation running. Still, much of propaganda had a purpose to motivate women to lend a helping hand in the war. As Susan Mathis said, “The patriotic appeal had two aspects… ‘do your part’... ‘a soldier may die if you don’t do your part’...”
Before WWI, women were restricted to traditionally feminine jobs. Their work was considered inferior and they were paid less than men. However, once WWI began, women were able to integrate themselves into a variety of different workforces. Since most men were off to serve in the military and navy, women that stayed behind replaced their positions in factories and other industries. Other women worked closely with the military as nurses or even soldiers.
In the book written by (Gavin, 1997) it was cited that “As women took over from their absent men in hundreds of new and challenging occupations, many of which had previously been considered inappropriate”. From the beginning of the World War 1, the German women were participating a great deal. They contributed to half a million-people working on the munitions manufacturing alone (Gavin, 1997). It also mentioned in the book that over in the U.S, the men in charge refused to let the women participate up until April 1917 (Gavin, 1997). The U.S government never formally authorize the enrolment of women, despite Army officials repeatedly asking for such personnel’s.
The Effect of Women on the Outcome of World War Two World War II effected women tremendously by taking them out of their comfort zones and chucking them into the work force and pushing them to do most of the work men normally would have been doing. The war also effected women by providing opportunities for them to serve in non-traditional roles; in fact, some of them enlisted into the military to serve the United States. The way the war effected women is that they had to take care of family in addition to performing work normally done by men. It was difficult to find people to watch after kids which made life during this time very difficult. After the end of World War II society in general was effected considering the baby boom.
Last but not least, women became nurses, spies, business women, and others also volunteered at war. Although men were the ones to take on the role of being nurses out in the battle field, women interfered and got involved. For one, a young lady named Louisa May Alcott a nurse stated that "my ward is divided into three rooms, in one room armed with a dressing tray and rollers, in another room books, and games, the third lullabies and consolation"(Alcott 47). Stipulating that she wasn't just put in one spot, but was in multiple areas helping out those who were wounded. In addition, an abolitionist like Sojourner Truth was a former slave that also helped out in the underground railroads, crossing and freeing people.
Women participated in the military services, got the education to work in skilled labour so that they did much better than before and received popular recognition step by step because of their own hard work. “You learn a lot from living in with a group of girls; we were all much enriched by the experience. Better people for it. You were not just yourself, you behaved, became party of something much bigger than yourself.” Sheila McClemans in Patsy Adam-Smith Australian Women at war said.
Women were well suited for providing nourishment and necessities for the army due to their skills obtained by their accustomed housework. “...the American army often recruited the many female camp followers to fill these jobs” (Brooks 2013, para. 17). They had slowly began to achieve recognition in society, especially war. It was then, that woman had begun to silently “protest” on having the same equal opportunity as men. During the war, women created a role for themselves to side amongst the male soldiers: a secret soldier.