Labor Problems and the Employment of Women
Following an initial period of falling production and unemployment in the early months of the war, labor shortages began to appear in essential industries everywhere. Governments soon intervened to ensure an adequate labor supply: skilled workers who had been called to the colors were returned to their jobs and others were protected from conscription; workers in nonessential industries were encouraged, and sometimes compelled, to change their jobs; production techniques were simplified to allow greater use of unskilled labor; and efforts were made to recruit new sources of labor, especially from among the female population. The increased employment of women not only represented a substantial contribution to the war production effort, but also gave rise to a number of questions about the future status of women in society. The following selection, taken from a 1919 report by a British War Cabinet Committee created to investigate the war-time employment of women, raises, sometimes unwittingly, some of these issues.
KeywordsFemale Labour Unskilled Labor Labor Shortage Clerical Work Labor Problem
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