The trials and tribulations which women tolerated throughout World War II are evident through Peggy Terry, a woman who worked in a munitions factory during the war, who said;
“The war gave a lot of people jobs. It led them to expect more than they had before. People’s expectations, financially (and) spiritually were raised. There was such a beautiful dream. We were going to reach the end of the rainbow…”
The experiences and metamorphosis which Australian women endured throughout World War II was the catalyst for the revolutionary changes which were to come. Through examining the effects of World War II on Australian women and their changing roles and rights in society, there will be a ...view middle of the document...
They were considered to be “economically and legally subordinate in marriage, discriminated against and exploited in the work place, and denied access to reproductive and sexual freedom.” [The Good Citizen, 1998] Women were also seen as the guardians of morality, pure and innocent, in turn passing these traits onto future generations. Marriage and divorce laws favoured men in terms of custody of children and rights to property. It was these sorts of inequalities that had driven many women to take part in the first wave of feminism.
With a vast number of men directly involved in the war, it was the first time women were actively recruited to do what men stereotypically did. Though many women continued dealing with the consequences of war, many chose to enlist in military service, farming, factory work and intense labour. They went from being nurturers and housewives into strong, autonomous women running and guarding Australia without the aid of men. As a nurse’s aide for the Red Cross during the war, Dellie Hahne explains how women’s attitude towards work transformed.
“I think a lot of women said, screw that noise. ‘Cause they had a taste of freedom, they had a taste of making their own money, a taste of spending their own money, making their own decisions. I think the beginning of the women’s movement had its seeds right there in World War II,”
With this, the government created many initiatives to employ women into all types of vocations in order to keep Australia the successful country it is.
World War II saw the development of numerous government campaigns for women to assist during this time of need. Until 1942, the only organisations available to women were various nursing agencies, including the Australian Army Medical Women’s Service (AAMWS), but as more men departed the country to assist in the war, the Australian government realised that in order to further develop the country, women needed to support the war effort, thus a number of auxiliary services were created. In particular, the Women’s Land Army attracted many females as they jumped at the opportunity to contribute to the war, as they too realised the future of Australia was in their hands. The Women’s Land Army consisted of intense farm work, to combat rising...