Preserving Dartmoor's Past. Looking after its future.
By 1914, campaigns to improve the status of women in British society had improved their legal position. They were able to divorce and keep their property. Many women were actively employed in factories and business. The typewriter and telephone had opened up numerous opportunities for females to earn their own wages.
However, despite the efforts of the Women’s Social and Political Union and the National Union for Women’s Sufferage Societies, women were no nearer the vote. The vote was, in the eyes of many women, the crucial acknowledgement of legal equality with men.
It is argued that the contribution of women to the war effort was pivotal in in disproving previously held views that women would not be able to use the vote properly because they were weak, emotionally unstable and more suited to bringing up children or looking after their families, than bothering their heads with politics.
It must be remembered that gender is but one of the ways that people can make distinctions between people. Not all women had a similar experience of life. Class, income, education, urban or rural dwelling had crucial impacts upon people’s lives. More commonly, especially for women who were wives and mothers, war work and domestic chores were not either/or – they did both.