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  • Jarrow Cross C of E Primary School
‘Living and Learning’
Value in Everyone

Monday - Topic

In topic this week, we are going to be finding out information on the Role of Women during WW2.



Life for most women before the war was quite different than it is today. Typically, most women stayed at home and did not go out to work. Some younger women did go out to work but if they married, they had to give up their job. Women were paid less than men and they were generally only employed to
do ‘women’s jobs’, such as nursing.

Men and women’s roles were very stereotypical and even from a young age, boys and girls were brought up quite differently. Lessons in school taught girls how to cook, sew and look after the home while boys were taught woodwork and other practical skills to equip them for the workplace.

When the war started in September 1939, the role of women was set to change.


With men called up for active service, there was a great need for women to undertake the jobs that the men had previously done. Suddenly, women became more than just homemakers and were given the opportunity to become patriotic heroines. They would contribute significantly to the war effort in a variety of ways.

During the war, women were employed in a wide range of jobs. Some became munition factory workers (making weapons); others joined the armed forces (army, navy, and air force); many worked as Land Girls; some drove buses or trains; some worked on the canals; they worked as nurses or ambulance drivers; they built ships and worked in other engineering industries; they worked as searchlight operators and some became air raid wardens.

The Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) also employed women, who assisted with a wide range of duties.

At the start of the war, the government relied on women to volunteer for work.

However, by late 1941, it became necessary to introduce conscription (making
working compulsory).

Initially this only applied to single women between the ages of 20 and 30, but later in the war this was extended to women between the ages of 18 and 50.

In 1943, almost 90% of single women and 80% of married women were in employment.



After reading the information on The Role of Women, download the word document to answer the comprehension questions based on the information. You can either type your answers on the word document or write them in your book.


Remember to answer the questions in full sentences.