Women's Roles During World War I

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On June 28th, 1914 many women’s lives changed, and mainly not for the better. Their husbands, sons, brothers and fathers may have been called up for the army and they may not have ever seen them again. When we think of wars we think of men fighting, knee deep in mud in trenches and gunshots firing all round.We think of air raid sirens ringing out through towns. We do not think of women, whatever their role may be. The truth is women did play a substantial role in the war, behind the frontline.

When the war broke out, men had to leave their jobs and many occupations vital for everyday life were left vacant. At first women were not regarded as suitable for them. With the introduction of conscription however, it was obvious women needed to work
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It is hard to get an exact number as domestic workers were excluded from this list and many women worked domestic jobs due to the war. The employment of married women also rose, accounting for 40% of all women workers. As women were paid less than men, there was a worry that after the war, women would occupy these jobs instead of men. This did not happen however, women were either fired to make room for the returning soldiers or worked alongside them for even less pay.Before the war even ended some women refused to accept lower wages for the same work that men did for more money. The women employed on London buses and trams went on strike in 1918 to demand the same pay as men. The strike spread around London and South. Following these strikes, a committee was set up to publish a report. The report said that women could not do the same jobs because of their “lesser strength and special health problems”, despite the fact that women replaced men in many workplaces during the war and were effective. This did not sway public or government perception however, and while women that took over men's jobs got paid the same of them it was only for the duration of the war, and once the war was over men would return to their original…show more content…
The collector had to trudge over wet, boggy ground, often in bad weather conditions, to secure the moss," explained Fionnuala Walsh whose great-grandmother worked during World War 1.Dressings from Ireland ended up in hospitals in France, Italy, Egypt, Palestine and India.More than 2,000 workers, mainly women,were employed in the five national munitions factories that were set up in Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Galway during the war. More employment for women came through contracts that were awarded to Irish companies for the manufacturing of items as aeroplane cloth, uniforms and Foxford blankets.At the Lambkin Snuff and Tobacco Factory, on Merchant's Quay in Cork, business thrived during the war years as the mainly female staff worked on mixtures and tobacco from the war office was sent to various expeditionary forces. It is said that the women often put love notes inside the tobacco tins.Many more women opted for volunteer work. Thousands enrolled in the Irish Women's Association, preparing soldiers' "comforts", including cigarettes, knitted hats, gloves and socks, for parcels being sent to men who were in Prisoner of War camps in Germany.
Women in Ireland were also, very surprisingly, making bombs! Five national munitions factories across the country,in Dublin, Cork, Waterford
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