Friday, May 13, 2011

Canada and the First World War—Changes in Women's Role

Women used to be considered as far less capable and inferior to men, but this totally changed after the first world war. During the war, about 2000 Canadian women went overseas and became nurses. They treated wounded soldiers and a lot of times had to protect these soldiers from rats and insects. Their work was also dangerous as they often needed to treat soldiers near the front and hospitals were sometimes the targets of attack. They proved to be capable as they bravely helped to save the lives of thousands of soldiers.

At home, women also proved their ability, but by a different means. Since at the time workers were predominantly male and a lot of men volunteered to go to war, there were not enough workers left in the country. As a result, over 30000 women were hired by munition factories and they were able to carry out tasks that were usually done by men. This made them more confident and disproved the beliefs that women could not do anything important.

Furthermore, in 1917 the War Times Elections Act was passed, which granted many Canadian women the right to vote.  This gave them a lot more power and allowed them to have a voice in politics.

Overall, in the first world war women proved themselves to be just as capable as men and were no longer seen as people who wore dresses that couldn't complete difficult tasks.  After the war, women became more confident, more powerful, and more equal to men.