Do you agree with the view that, in terms of employment opportunities, women did not gain ‘any significant advantage from their wartime experience’ (Source 16, lines 36-37)?

Source 16 is in agreement with the statement that in terms of employment opportunities, women did not gain ‘any significant advantage from wartime experience’. This is shown by the definition given by Lloyd George in this source which says ‘the workers of today are the mothers of tomorrow’. He also mentions that women’s ‘independence was short-lived’ and how those women should ‘return to their domestic responsibilities’. This shows that Lloyd George thought that wartime work for women was only temporary and how the government did not want women to work as they were using policies to make women return back to their original work which was within the home. From my own knowledge, this can be referred to dilution which was when it was made sure that women were not as skilled as men in order to prevent the women to overtake men’s work. As well as this, a statistic which shows evidence in support of Lloyd George’s statement is that once the First World War had come to an end, within 2 weeks 100,000 women had come out of their work and returned back to their domestic responsibilities. This shows that even though women worked during wartime, once the war ended they had returned to their domestic roles which may have been because those women had become encouraged by the government’s policies to do so.

Next is source 18 which is in disagreement with the statement made. This source shows a new law introduced allowing there to be equality amongst the sexes. ‘A person should not be disqualified by sex or marriage’ which is in comparison with source 17 which states about legal professions being opened after 1919 for example Christabel Pankhurst ‘who had studied law but had not been allowed to practise it except in her own defence’. This shows that equality had come into place after 1919 which was when the Sex Disqualification Act had been introduced declaring that people were not to be discriminated against due to their sex and due to this act coming into place it allowed women like Christabel Pankhurst to study law which she would not have been able to do before this law being introduced. From my own knowledge, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson is an example of a woman who had opened a school known as the London School of Medicine for Women. By opening this school, Elizabeth was able to show to other people that women had the capability to meet the medical needs of other women and it was not a profession which only men would have been successful in. Elizabeth was also trying to get rid of the separate roles that there were at the time for women so by opening this school she was able to prove that women were skilled enough of doing the same jobs which male doctors did and consequently women should be been given this opportunity on equal terms as men.

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Changes in attitude were a significant factor in helping to bring in changes in terms of employment opportunities for women which had been cause by the First World War. The war allowed there to be equality amongst the two sexes. The reason for this was because the war was able to give women the opportunities that they required in order to enter employments which therefore led to changes in attitude in regards to employment opportunities for women. However, the changes which there had been it attitude enabled there to be changes made. In terms of source 17, it states that ‘in the 1920s, there were a number of significant firsts…veterinary surgeon…solicitor…barrister’. These examples show that women were only able to achieve these because of the changes which had been made in attitudes which had therefore resulted in opportunities for women in employment and the changes in attitude would not have been made if the war had not broken out. The changes in attitude allowed there to be a wider range of professions which women could have looked up to due to other women having achieved these professions therefore people’s attitudes were changing in terms of employment opportunities for women.

In conclusion, I think that in terms of employment opportunities, women did gain a significant advantage from their war time experience therefore I disagree with the statement. The reason for this is because of the war causing there to be changes in attitude and resulting on more employment opportunities for women as well as the new laws being introduced by the government. If the government did not introduce the Sex Disqualification Act, it would have meant that women would not have had the employment opportunities which they had after this act had been brought into place. Due to the First World War, there were changes in attitude therefore allowing opportunities for women to gain employment in different professions in equal terms as men so therefore due to the changes which had been made during the war in attitudes, it led to new laws to be brought in, in order to encourage women to find jobs rather than returning to their domestic responsibilities after the war had ended. Also, examples of women such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Christabel Pankhurst would not have been able to achieve what they had if the war did not break out as it was because of the war that caused changes in attitude which therefore resulted in changes to be made in employment opportunities in employment. So, I think that it was because of women’s wartime experiences that led them to have the advantage to gain more opportunities in employment.


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