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The Role and Status of Women in the 1940s and 1950s

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The Role and Status of Women in the 1940s and 1950s

After the First World War women had gained a huge step towards having
equality with men. In 1918 married women over the age of 30 were given
the right to vote. During the war women had proved themselves as
capable as men, not only as nurses near the front lines working in
very dangerous positions but also back in Britain working to help the
war effort in jobs that before the war they could never have even had
a chance of getting.

However women were still a long way of having any vague equality with
men, and when the men returned from war things changed as men were
still considered far above women. Although it had got worse since the
end of the war it should be recognised that women's role in society
had been greatly improved since the days before the First World War.

During the Second World War many of the men were conscripted to go
away to war. This meant that their jobs now needed to be filled in
order for the country to work., women got jobs in all areas of
employment from working in manual labour to working in banks. They
also managed to prove that they could do the jobs just as well as men
and were able to work in jobs that had previously been for men only.

Gaining all these new jobs had been a huge leap towards women gaining
equality with men, however when the men returned from war most if the
women lost their war time jobs. This happened because of a number of
reasons. Firstly, public opinion in general believed that the soldiers
who had been fighting deserved to come back to jobs and not have to
struggle with unemployment. Also some bosses of small and large

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seemed to give equal opportunities for both girls and boys there were
infact more grammar schools for boys than there were for girls.

The Welfare State also introduced family allowances to try and deal
with poverty among families with a large numbers of children. It meant
that for each child a small payment was paid to the women to help keep
the child. This meant that the women now had some control over the
finances within the household and that the man could not just go out
and spend the money needed for the children.

I believe that in the 1940s and 50s women's role in society improved
greatly and that there were huge leaps made towards equality. However
there were still some major issues that still had not been resolved
and needed to be if there was going to get equality between men and

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