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Women in the Great War (Paperback)

WWI Social History Home Front in WWI Women of History

By Stephen Wynn, Tanya Wynn
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 144
ISBN: 9781473834149
Published: 5th June 2017

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The First World War was fought on two fronts. In a military sense it was fought on the battlefields throughout Europe, the Gallipoli peninsular and other such theatres of war, but on the Home Front it was the arduous efforts of women that kept the country running.

Before the war women in the workplace were employed in such jobs as domestic service, clerical work, shop assistants, teachers or as barmaids. These jobs were nearly all undertaken by single women, as once they were married their job swiftly became that a of a wife, mother and home maker. The outbreak of the war changed all of that. Suddenly, women were catapulted into a whole new sphere of work that had previously been the sole domain of men. Women began to work in munitions factories, as nurses in military hospitals, bus drivers, mechanics, taxi drivers, as well as running homes and looking after children, all whilst worrying about their men folk who were away fighting a war in some foreign clime, not knowing if they were ever going to see them again.

With the work came a wage, which provided women with financial freedom for the first time, as well as an element of independence and social integration, which they would have possibly never otherwise experienced. Women were not paid the same wages as men for doing the same work, but what they did earn was much more than they had ever earned before.

This was also a time of the suffrage movement, who wanted more out of life for women. Accordingly, some of these women were reluctant to stop working, with some of these being sacked so that returning soldiers could have their pre-war jobs back. Whilst, tens of thousands of women were left widowed, many with young children to bring up. Despite all of this, one thing was for sure, for lots of women there was no going back to how things had been before the war. There was only going to be one way, and that was forward.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was an AMAZING book about the roles of women in the Great War. It showed the shift from homemaker pre-war to how women began to work in munitions factories, as nurses in military hospitals, bus drivers, mechanics, taxi drivers, as well as running homes and looking after children, all while worrying about their husbands who were away fighting a war, and not knowing if they were ever going to see them again.

It was fantastic in showing how with money earned from working, women were provided with financial freedom, independence and social integration, which they would have never otherwise obtained.

This book also illustrated the time of the suffrage movement. It highlighted how these newly working women were reluctant to give up their independence. Women were being fired so that returning soldiers could have their prewar jobs back, even though they had held down the fort during the war. Tens of thousands of women were left widowed, many with young children to bring up, and employers wanted to return to the male-dominated workplace.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to know more about the women's suffrage movement in the first world war, or anyone that believes history remain relevant today.

NetGalley, reviewed by Janet Waltz

About Stephen Wynn

Stephen Wynn is a retired Police officer who served with Essex Police for thirty years. His first book, Two Sons in a War Zone: Afghanistan: The True Story of a Fathers Conflict, was published in 2010. It is his personal account of his sons’ first tours in Afghanistan. Both of his grandparents served in and survived the First World War.


About Tanya Wynn

Stephen and Tanya Wynn are a husband and wife team who are collaborating for the first time with this title. They have been married for twelve years and outside of writing enjoy the simplicities of life. They spend most mornings walking their four German Shepherd dogs at a time when most normal people are still sound asleep. Tanya has always taken a keen interest in the previous titles Stephen has written, so much so that the title for this book was her idea.

Perfect Partner

The Black Country in the Great War (Paperback)

This is not a book about the Great War; it is about life during the war. Changes in people's lives: their work, home, food, entertainment and news. I used original research material including newspapers, to paint a picture of life in the Black Country. Manufacturing was vital; we were well-equipped to supply the engines of war. The region had motor manufacturers who made aero engines, tanks, guns, munitions and much more. Towards the end of the war the Black Country became one huge munitions works! Some of the greatest changes were societal, women's role changed massively. Wider social change…

By Michael Pearson

Click here to buy both titles for £20.38
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