Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Christian Analysis

     Women were acting within biblical boundaries. They were not in positions of authority over men. They worked hard to support their households; a virtue highly respected in the Bible (Proverbs 31). Their roles changed in the world as the war progressed and they were forever changed. They gained value and respect in the workforce that was reversed after the war, but not totally. It is not against the Bible for women to work jobs that men might otherwise have; think of Lydia the purple cloth dealer! Women were the supporting force behind the men who fought: that is the job that women have.


     Women played an extremely important role in the war by being a support to soldiers, families, and all of Canada. They supplied much needed manpower and they gave men the opportunity to fight overseas rather than fill non-combative roles. Therefore, the war was won quicker with them. Women's roles changed during WWII and were never the same again.


     Despite the fact that women were doing the same work the men did, they were paid much less than men. Daycare and tax breaks were provided for women during the war, but were pulled out afterward, making it very hard for widows to provide for their families after the war. In addition, women's position in society felt a decrease after the war as men returned from the war; as the men returned, they needed work, and the women were expected to vacate their jobs to make room for the men.


     Women were a much needed resource. In response to the great need governements came out with a series of propoganda messages:
This is Rosie: a mascot for all the women workers

This poster was meant to encourage the women working on the homefront

This is a governmnet-issued recruiting request poster urging women to join

 please follow the link to veiw a message meant to motivate women to work. It also shows example shots of women working in the factories and tells you why they needed the women workers.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

On the Homefront

     Women's roles were not always as dramatic as oversea service, most women that served, served on the homefront. Many felt they were needed at home, which was true.
     Men had vacated a lot of jobs as they left for battle, leaving empty gaps in the workforce. On top of raising families, women were called upon to work in machine and welding shops and manufacturing plants to provide equipment like weapons, vehicles, uniforms, ammunition, and other necessities. Crops still needed planting, plowing, and harvesting lest the food shortage grow; so those jobs were filled too.
     Young, single women found working easier, but mothers made things work with great determination. They kept jobs and a neat household while raising children all at once.
     Since the Canadian workforce felt a dramatic increase in the number of women, factories began to operate twelve hours a day, seven days a week. Over 1 million women were working by 1944.

Women worked in factories making many different types of war supplies;
this picture most likely shows a uniform factory
Women welding in a factory manufacturing weapons, vehicles, and other war supplies


Women in the Forces usually stayed behind front lines, but women working for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) worked behind enemy lines. They were parachuted into occupied France as spies. As saboteurs couriers, and radio operators, they provided vital information and advantages for the Allies.
SOE Agent, Vera Atkins (Romanian)

The Women's Divisions

     There were several women's divisions opened during the course of the war. The first opened to them was the Auxilary Corps. Women worked as clerks, vehicle drivers, messengers, and canteen workers. Despite the fact that they were replacing men on the job, they were only paid two thirds the amount than men.

 Women in the Auxilary Corps.

     In July, 1942, the Royal Canadian Air Force was opened to women in a division called the Candian Women's Auxilary Air Force (CWAAF). Women didn't fly in combat, but they were desperately needed as ground crews, which they willingly were. The Navy was also opened that month.

 A few women who served in the Air Force

     Finally, August 1945, the Army Corps. was opened. 21,000 women served in what they saw as the "real war". They were called WAACs (Women's Army Auxilary Corps.) Positions like cooks, nurses, non-combative pilots, mechanics, welders, and radar operators were all filled by women. Coastal defence and pilots for the Atlantic Ferry Command were important, they protected ships during the perilous Atlantic journey. It was a dangerous job; over 500 pilots died while on Ferry flight.

Women Mechanics
A Woman Nurse Near the Battlefront