How Did Women Contribute To World War 1
By: Jeff M. Lerio
Mrs. C. Lenz-Fabian
A Canadian woman plays an important role and contributions on the home front during the war years. They supported our country’s war efforts not only in traditional roles, but also in unprecedented new ways. Women in this era are said to be the toughest one, they endure all pains and suffering just to be heard and express their thoughts. During World War 1, women roll up their sleeves and took a wide variety of civilian job that once is filled by men. Canada’s contributions during the war years would have been very different if it were not for the vital roles women played on the home front. All of this effort, pains and sufferings of the women in this time are not in vain for they are the ones who made it possible of what present woman is enjoying right now. As war waged on, Canadian women were recruited into the fighting corps for the first time in history. Over forty-five thousand women joined the newly created Women’s Army Corps (CWAC); the Auxiliary force of the RCAF( Women’s Division); and the Royal Canadian Naval Service (Wrens). Another 4518 women served in the medical corps. The idea behind the creation of women’s auxiliaries was for women to “back the attack” or free up men to take on the more difficult task. Known as “Jill Canucks”, these women were not permitted to fight but were often close to the front lines and under enemy fire while performing duties. Home life is very difficult during the World War 1. Many women worked tirelessly in the home, often combining their domestic labors with war related volunteer work with women’s organizations. During the World War 1 there was a rationing because it is it hard to obtain sugar, butter, eggs and other scarce food items that were needed to help feed the men fighting in the overseas. Goods such as rubber, gas, metal and nylon were also difficult to come by because they were needed for the war effort. Women did their part by donating old cookware and other household items to recycling scrap metal drives and encouraging others to “Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without.” They made their own clothes (sometimes even using an old parachute to make a wedding dress) and planted Victory Gardens to supply much-needed fruits and vegetables to their families and communities. Women provided crucial support at home as the wives, mothers and sweethearts of the men who had gone to fight. Women also contributed to the war effort by giving blood and buying war bonds. Many women joined war relief clubs which were formed to improve the morale of the troops overseas. These clubs packaged canvas "ditty bags" with items such as chocolate, sewing kits, and razor blades. To save fabric and buttons for uniforms, the government forbade many 'extras' on manufactured clothing, such as cuffs on pants, any hem in excess of two inches, double-breasted jackets, flap pockets, and more than nine buttons on a dress. Women did many jobs that are easily overlooked because of the soldiers’ heroism, when really women were equally as important. Back at home, women took up many of the jobs that the men had to leave at half the wage to keep the country in a good financial standing They risked their health and life by working in ammunition factories without any means of protection against the very harsh chemicals, providing the soldiers with their ammunition. Something that few people hear of is that some women actually served in the war and gave their lives on the battlefield just like any other soldier was prepared to do. If men were forced to serve and do these jobs, Canada would not have been able to afford war, the weapons would not have been as good quality, and there would have been fewer soldiers. Many women joined war relief clubs which were formed to improve the morale of the troops overseas. These clubs packaged canvas "ditty bags" with items such as chocolate, sewing kits,...
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