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How Changes in Patterns of Paid Employment for Women Took Place in Ireland in the 20th Century

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Women since birth were taught to be submissive and had the slave mentality. This demoralized the Irish people and had a major role to play in the British rule in Ireland. The first half of the twentieth century was dominated by world wars and internal conflict. This opened up opportunities for women both at home and overseas, mostly as nurses. New staff was required to meet the growing demand. Nurses entered the war at different stages. As the war progressed, women were organized into auxiliary uniformed services. Various organizations like Women’ s Legion, Women’ s Army Auxiliary Corps [WAAC], and the Women’ s Royal Naval Service [WRNS] enrolled and trained women not only for army work but also in various roles, including signaling, driving, cooking and general administration (Hill & Lynch, n.d. ).

Only 5.6% of women were in paid employment in 1926 and the position remained the same until 1960. The legislative measures targeted at the working wives made it mandatory in 1933 for women to resign their jobs as schoolteachers on marriage. The 1935 Employment Act extended the marriage bar to all civil service posts.

The woman’ s role was characterized as familial and domestic and these legislative measures eroded their position in public life. In 1922 the women were accorded total and complete rights as citizens under the Irish Free State but the Bill of 1927 proposed that they should be excluded from jury service. Woman’ s economic and political progress threatened traditional values. The Second World War again brought about changes and the women in Northern Ireland were the beneficiaries. Female insured workers in six counties rose with opportunities in the aircraft industry, rope and twine making.

Women could not work in engineering firms and also traveled to England in various professions. (Hill & Lynch, n.d. ). After the Second World War different avenues for women opened up for work and employment, especially the ones which were considered predominantly male-occupations. Women started taking up jobs in the war industry and the armed forces. The allied governments had to reconcile that women would no longer be confined to home. It had become important for women to be employed in the mainstream labor force.

The urgent need for women was felt and it became necessary to persuade them to relinquish the home in place of the workplace (Muldowney, 2006). Opportunities opened up in Britain also. Many women took up jobs to fulfill their ambitions or to develop themselves as they wished to.

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