Essay on Australia and WW1
2. How did the role of women change in Australian society as a result of the Great War?
World War (1914 – 1918) brought many changes and new roles into society and our culture. The Great War gave women a chance to show a male dominated society and themselves that they could do more than just raise children, be mothers and look after the home.
Women were extremely important for keeping soldiers and other military personal with ammunition, first aid, and other various supplies. The women kept everything at home ready for whenever it might be needed.
They were generally employed on trains, buses, worked as nurses, making ammunition, supplying food from farms and they even worked as mechanics.
The “Women Worker” magazine interviewed some women in mid February 1919, a few months after the end of the Great War and around 65% of women noted that they would never go back to their old domestic service roles, regardless of their own situation.
At this point of time in Australia there was a short supply of fuel, so most things were done to save as much fuel as possible. Candles and lamps were used heavily as to save energy, also many homes still hadn’t had electricity installed.
Some of the most heavily relied upon jobs were stowed onto women, this was sometimes dangerous work too. Some of them worked in ammunition factories, and while there they always had a possibility of explosions and there was no protective equipment was available for them to wear. Working with sulphur in sulphur factories turned the women’s skin yellow, and they were called “canaries”.
During the Great War 1 out of 4.5 million Australians worked on war work, women firstly thought that their wages were “at first liveable and then lucrative” compared to their previous domestic unpaid, volunteer work. Although they earned more than they did previously, they still earned
no-where near the amount which they expected to get and really what they should have got....