The Changing Role of Women

malloryrobertson
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History (Society) Mind Map on The Changing Role of Women, created by malloryrobertson on 03/19/2014.

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malloryrobertson
Created by malloryrobertson over 5 years ago
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The Changing Role of Women
1 Before the war it was widely believed that a woman's place was in the home. New laws, better education and new technology opened up more opportunities for women, however it was clear that only by winning the vote would women's lives significantly improve.
1.1 The Suffragette and Suffragist campaigns were in full swing before the outbreak of the war. When war was declared both organisations suspended their campaigns. The Suffragettes demanded the "right to serve".
1.2 The biggest increase in female employment was in engineering. Over 30,000 Scottish women were employed in munitions in places such as Glasgow, Clydebank and Gretna.
1.3 Women were needed to fill the gaps in the home front especially after conscription was introduced. Industries which had previously excluded women now welcomed them. Women worked in Transport, farming, munitions, on the docks and in the police. Man women also served on the Western Front as nurses and ambulance drivers and often faced grave danger.
2 DILUTION
2.1 Trade unons were worried about dilution - the practice of using unskilled workers to do skilled jobs.
2.1.1 When men returned from war, employers might try to reduce their wages or even worse employ female workers instead.
2.2 THE DILUTION SCHEME - broke a job down into stages and women would be trained to do a stage each. This reduced concerns that women in the workplace would undermine skilled male workers.
3 The 1915 Rent Strikes
3.1 The 1915 rent strikes were significant as they showed how ordinary women can organise themselves and challenge authority in order to improve their lives. Demand for housing increased dramatically during the war. Workers searching for accommodation took whatever they could get. Unscrupulous landlords raised rents some by 20%.
3.2 Tactics
3.2.1 Helen Cruwfurd, Mary Barbour, Agnes Dollan and Jessie Stephens formed the Glasgow Women's Housing Association to fight the rent rises and evictions. They received support from trade unions and the ILP. Women tried to prevent evictions by crowding on the stairs and "Bombing" Sheriff officers with bags of flour.
3.3 Reactions to the Strikes
3.3.1 The Government was anxious about any disruption to the vital munitions industry of which Glasgow and the Clyde were part of. The women argued they were not disrupting the war effort. They argued fair rents would prevent profiteering and exploiting of munitions workers. In addition it would prevent evictions of local workers for non payment of unfair rents.
3.4 The landlords threatened evictions, fines and imprisonment. The women began a rent strike in 1915 and 25,000 tenants in Glasgow joined in. Rent strikes spread to Aberdeen and Dundee. A mass demonstration took place in George Square on the 17th November and thousands of men and women marches to Glagsgow's Sheriff court. Male workers in iengineering and munitions joined the strike. Employers were increasingly worried about the effect on wartime production.
3.5 The solution
3.5.1 The Rent Restriction Act froze rents at the 1914 levels unless improvements were made to the property. This resolved the rent strikes and prevented any disruption to wartime production. Some argue that the rent strikes politicized women and gave them a political role campaigning for change. Others would say that women were simply defending their domestic environment - poor housing was one of the biggest issues facing working class families.
4 The 1918 Representation of the People Act
4.1 the !918 Act gave the vote to women over 30 who were householders, wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of £5 or university graduates. It was middle/upper class women who really benefited. Men over 21 (over 19 if they served in the army) were also given the vote. Women now made up 40% of the electorate.

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