Through a close reading of the article, the history of World War II had a deeper impact on the social construction of gender. Various scholars have converged and written twelve new and recent articles, which pinpoint the experiences of women and girls in wartime Canada, as well as the World War I. Majority of the articles, contain familiar questions about women and war, for instance, the changing dimension of women’s roles in several chapters. The collection introduces readers to innovative and unique approaches to gender and conflict. Gender-based stereotypes emerged due to discriminatory government policies that permitted marginal accomplishments during the war. However, different scholars have written many articles to map out the process of historical change. In this paper, the focus is to make a case that reframes the history of women in wartime Canada by extending the time beyond World War II and explore the articles written by women in and out of Canadian military service.
The impact of World War I had a transformative effect on women’s work and roles. The war profoundly changed the role of women and girls in their families, communities, and workplaces. To expound this, Glassford and Shaw pulled together interdisciplinary articles, which all weave a common theme “Sisterhood of Suffering and Service.” During wartime, women had distinct roles, for example, they were supposed to hold household duties such as cooking, looking after children, and cleaning. Many women did not work and those who worked did feminine types of jobs, which were paid much lesser as compared to men. Moreover, World War II had an impact on the social construction of gender. Women in wartime Canada were not supposed to fire guns or fight on the ground with men. Instead, they offered healthcare services to men to allow them to keep fighting. Women who were overseas during the war helped to nurse the men back to health after an injury.
Even though there were dramatic changes in women’s lives, traditional gender norms were not significantly challenged. Women’s new and exceptional roles operated within the confines of acceptable femininity. However, Margot I. Duley states in her article “Newfoundland Women's Patriotic Association, women's and girls' experiences of war” that the role of women were both paradoxical and profound. Diaries, memoirs, and literary works reveal that transformation may have happened on a more personal level, even within the boundaries of gender norms. On this account, there are several examples, which support Margot I. Duley’s claim. To begin with, women who undertook household tasks such as providing food and healthcare services earned the respect of men; on the contrary, they could not merit to be respected by men. In the same parallel, women had a hand-on experience during the war could work hours straight, that is, morning, noon, and night, paining planes loading guns with gunpowder and bombs with tint. They were not directly involved in the war, but they had a bigger part to help during the war.
The account continued for women's participation in armed service and military organizations. Women who never packed guns and bombs in planes for combat worked in previously man run factories, building supplies that could be sent to use in the battle. As mentioned by Terry Wilde in her article, “explore the adherence to domesticity and maternalism from the perspective of University women”, without the presence of women, there would have not been enough supplies and many soldiers would be injured on the battlefield. At the same time, the poignant stories contained in Terry Bishop Stirling’s chapter on Newfound nurses demonstrate that even though women were not fighting, they were a big part of men’s health and wellness to allow them to keep fighting.
Besides, during the war, men were off at war. Most men who held big jobs were off at war fighting for their countries. For this reason, there were no men at home countries who could fill the job. Women were the only people available to fill the jobs during the absence of most men. New accounts for women in wartime Canada sport-light women who were called to perform a myriad of volunteer activities. Usually, such unpaid roles were not perceived using the social construction of gender lens; they helped to raise women's self-esteem. After some time, the transformation took on different dimensions across class, race, age, marital status, and religion. Women replaced men in the workforce and society. Kori Street, for example, reveals the contrast between middle- and working-class women who took up wartime paid labor. During the wartime, things were changing slowly in that some companies were moving in times to serve perhaps to encourage women by suggesting that they could balance their traditional expectations with the new demands of the war economy.
In conclusion, the history of women in wartime Canada had an impact on women beyond World War II. For the former, war work was a temporary patriotic duty. For the later, the war provided many opportunities for women to support their families though they feared to lose their opportunities at the end of the war. However, the various scholar is writing articles, which highlights women competence and the right to better treatment at the job. The social construction of gender is at all times focused on betterment and increasing the presence of women in the job market.
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