World War, Women’s Work and the Gender Division of Paid Labour

  • Richard K. Brown


The question of the scale and nature of the effects of war on society has long been debated by historians (Marwick, 1968, 1974; Calder, 1971). One issue which features prominently in most discussions of the question is how far wartime experiences can be regarded as having significant consequences for the position of women. In the Second World War the mobilisation of ‘womanpower’ was very thoroughgoing and extensive. This gives rise to the question of what effects women’s wartime employment had on subsequent patterns of paid work. Two main aspects of this question will be considered in this chapter. Did the employment of many women, especially married women, who had previously been economically inactive, whether through choice or constraint, have consequences for participation rates after the war? Did their employment in what were conventionally regarded as ‘men’s’ occupations lead to any longer-term changes in patterns of occupational segregation?


Married Woman Gender Division Occupational Segregation Oral History Interview Nuffield Foundation 
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Copyright information

© British Sociological Association 1992

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  • Richard K. Brown

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