Before the turn of the century, women had virtually no rights and a very minimal role in society. Despite the protests of the suffragettes, women did not have the right to vote and were still subject to unhappy marriages and limited types of employment. However, the women’s movement took off in the early 1900s. This movement was sparked by women’s participation in WWI, by the changing society of the 20’s, and by the public movement of the person’s case.
The women’s movement initially started with the role that women played in WWI. For example, working in factories for war production allowed women to become more involved, while having full time jobs for the first time. Women were also encouraged to become on site nurses overseas in the war zones. These nurses were called “bluebirds”. This was often encouraged at a young age since the average age for the bluebirds was 24 years old. (www.historylearningsite.co.uk) being nurses in the war zones gave women a chance to really become involved in the war but there were also downsides. The work was very mentally taxing on the women, and a total of 46 women lost lives, mostly because of the proximity of the hospitals to the front lines. (The Canadian challenge, pg.23) Women also had to “hold down the fort” at home. Many women had to manage family farms, businesses and households while the men were away at war. In many ways this made women more self-sufficient and proved that they could manage just as well as men. Even after the war ended in 1918 and their husbands returned home, many women continued working (if only part time) throughout the 20s.
The women’s movement also rooted itself in society during the changing times of the post war “boom years”. For example, women began branching out more and started pursuing different sports and careers that previously would not have been considered acceptable for women. Few women were actually able to become lawyers and doctors because it was difficult to even be...
Bibliography: Quinlan, Don – Baldwin, Doug – Mahoney, Rick and Reed, kevin. The Canadian Challenge Don Mills: Oxford, 2008
Tierney, Ruth. Petticoat Warfare. Belleville: Mika, 1984
Adams, Simon. World War I New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2001
Munroe, Susan. “The Persons Case: A Milestone in the History of Canadian Women” http://canadaonline.about.com/cs/women/a/personscase.htm
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