Wednesday, April 13, 2011

13 April 1957 “Working Women of the War Years”

 vicotryjobposter Continuing on with my week of 1940’s life, I thought we could discuss the working women of the war. I have an interesting article from a 1943 American magazine to share with you. But, before we read that I thought I would share some history on Women working in the war and how conscription for women had begun to happen in England and Europe by this time.

warwomenThough, as of the writing of this article (1943) American women had no conscription (that is were not legally inducted into war work) their English sisters had been.

In December 1941, the National Service Act (no 2) made the conscription of women legal. At first, only single women aged 20-30 were called up, but by mid-1943, almost 90 per cent of single women and 80 per cent of married women were employed in essential work for the war effort.

Women in England during WWI were not conscripted but many volunteered. When WWII arrived, the country was seen to need the women and so, rather than rely on volunteer alone, began the conscription in 1941. Women worked in everything from munitions factories (very dangerous as these were targets for German bombers) to the Land Girls who took the place of farmers and farm hands. Many Land Girls were city gals that had never milked a cow or planted a seed in their life.

I have put a BBC modern drama called Land Girls on Apron TV. I have not watched it, but it is based on these women. Let me know if you liked it and if I should break my ‘modern tv’ rule to watch it. It can be found HERE on my channel. 

Here is an excerpt from the U.S. war film about work for the war. We were still only expected to work in a voluntary manner and with that knowledge we can now move onto the article.


I found this article interesting because many women and mothers today are working women. In fact it is more expected for a woman to return to work after having a child than she is expected to stay home. With modern TV and computer and other entertainment and media devices, we find we have less ‘time’ to do many things women had to do. Many women today say they were able to do it because they were home all day, yet the women of the war had to keep the family going, make meals, raise children and do work. They, however, knew it was for the period of the war and many happily returned home when the war ended. Of course many continued to work and began the movement towards more women in the work force.

What I find interesting here, is the division of labor of the working woman. Here we see a lady who has her teenage daughter in charge of menu planning and marketing. I wonder of today’s working mothers how much they are simply put upon without help from their children. And honestly it isn’t the children’s fault, for if they were never taught or expected to help, then why should they? Are there scores of teens and tweens texting and playing on the computer in a messy room while mother runs frazzled from work to try and get a meal on for the family? I suppose this might be true. And these untaught children and teens, how will they cope when they, in their turn, will be expected to be working mothers, many of them single mothers?  Why is it we are less organized about our lives when we have been two working parent households since the 1980’s?

I am sure many of the ladies who read my blog, however, are probably the exception to this rule. But, do you think, on the whole, that many working mother’s today are simply run ragged partly due to not even conceiving of the idea that their children can and should be part of the household work force? That in so doing they are preparing to be adults who would benefit from knowing how to cook and clean, organize a home and work, balance a checkbook, the importance of saving and thrift?

Why, do you suppose, we have moved away from organization and learned and shared home labor when we need it all the more in the modern working world?

Here is the article enjoy and share your thoughts. (simply click on each image to read it.)


warmotherarticle3 warmotherarticle4 warmotherarticle5 warmotherarticle2

 Search The Apron Revolution