Essay The Role of Women in Australian Society During World War II
991 Words4 Pages
During the World War II era, the outlook on the role of women in Australian society revolutionised. As a majority of men were at war, Australian women were encouraged to rise above and beyond their stereotypical ‘housewife’ status. They were required to take on the tasks that were once considered predominantly male roles, and also allowed the opportunity to join the armed services as well as enlist in the Women’s Land Army. Many women who doubted their abilities played their part by entering voluntary work. Women had the privilege of contributing in Australian society in many ways that they had never been able before. Thus, it is manifest that the role of women in Australian society had drastically changed.
Women proved their strengths to…show more content…
Women were involved in all land, sea and air services in support of military efforts. Only five per cent served overseas, most of which were nurses. Though not in combat, many nurses were in danger, some even lost their lives as they worked in or near combat areas. Betty Jeffrey was a member of the Australian Army Nursing Service when she was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Singapore. As a result of incarceration by the Japanese for three and a half years, Betty suffered from Beri Berii, tuberculosis and amoebic dysentery which she never fully recovered from. This exhibits the jeopardy that both women and men face during wartime. Other military services that women assisted in include: The Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), The Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS), The Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) and The Australian Army Medical Women’s Service (AAMWS). Women in these services had a range of duties, from highly approved - officers – to ordinary – drivers, typists, clerks and wireless operators. Australian women were substantially regarded and their roles in society changed immensely.
The Australian Women’s Land Army was established out of the necessity for farm workers. Women were recruited to farms where they would “look after animals, plough the fields, dig up potatoes, harvest the crops, and kill the rats.” The Australian Women’s Land Army was not considered a military
Examine an aspect of Australia's involvement in World War 2 by researching women's role in war.
It is a common belief that women in Australia did not contribute much to the war, and were left at home knitting socks for the men, fighting for their country. This however was not true. Instead, women were working in many different areas, helping to sustain their country's needs. As stated in the Labour Digest, "Never before have women experienced such opportunities for showing what they can do."
Many women contributed to many other aspects in the home front, as well as out in amidst the war. There were around 70000 women, who served in auxiliary services, 6000 of these serving overseas. Women also had more responsibility in the workforce, filling existing jobs traditionally for women as well as "men's'" jobs that had been vacated when the men all went to fight in the war.
Amidst these new responsibilities, women still had to keep up their family life, with a newfound public expectancy for women to produce more children, and be able to support them on their rations. They also had to maintain social dignity within the wartime, with debates over their apparel and their dating habits.
The three major women's organizations that formed when women were allowed to join the armed forces in 1941 were the Women's Auxiliary Australia Air Force (WAAAF), the Australian Women's Army Service (AWAF), and the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS). Women who joined these services aided the men by performing in areas involving transport, signals and communication, and clerical areas. This freed many men from these jobs, allowing them to contribute overseas instead. In 1942, another organization was formed and this was the Women's Land Army (AWLA). This organization transported the women to work in agricultural areas,