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History

Women and work

Women and work in the inter-war period

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  • Women were better educated as a result of the Education Acts of 1902 and 1918. There were more job opportunities for women in the 1920's and 1930's due to better education. Many women found work as clerks, teachers and nurses.
  • Industries changed. Many women found work in the new light industries e.g. making electrical goods.
  • The Sex Disqualification Act of 1919 made it easier for women to go to university and enter the professions. Middle class women benefited from increased job opportunities.
  • The Marriage Bar prevented many women from staying at work after marriage. The civil service did not allow women to work after marriage.
  • Working conditions in the home remained very hard. Cleaning, washing and cooking took up a great deal of time. New electrical appliances such as washing machines and vacuum cleaners slightly improved the working conditions of housewives in the 1930s.
  • By the 1930s about one third of women in Britain worked outside the home. One tenth of married women worked.

Watch

Woman working in a factory during World War One.

Class Clips

Video clip - how the wars brought women into the workplace

Watch

Women at work during World War One.

Class Clips

Clip - how women kept Britain going during the wars

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