How Did World War One Change The Role Of Women In Britain?


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The suffrage movement in Britain was put on hold by the outbreak of war in 1914. Many believe that the roles women played as a result of total war helped them gain support for their cause. Women gained the right to vote in Britain during the years following the war. Women were forced into jobs normally reserved only for men during World War One. Munitions manufacturing was critical to the war effort and they played the lead role here with most able bodied men being in the military. Women handling TNT explosives suffered very badly. They were called the canaries because the TNT poisoning turned their hair bright ginger and their skin yellow. Death by accident in munitions factories was also quite common. Yet these women pressed on bravely. After the war women and men largely resumed their traditional roles but a change had occurred and the forces of paternalism had been weakened.

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