European History Dbq Essay
Women were clearly already involved and motivated to work, either out of desire or necessity.Post-war pushback from men generally, and male politician’s specifically, that claimed women needed to return home, was obviously rooted in a bias that insisted women act only within their roles as wife and mother.During the war, British men who were on the front also indicated their anxiety about the perceived shift in women’s interest in typically male-dominated work; for instance, Private G. Wilby writes to his fiance: “don’t develop into one of those ‘things’ that are doing men’s work...don’t spoil yourself by carrying on with a man’s work.” Hearkening back to the elevated image of Queen Victoria as an angel in the home, Private Wilby’s letter represents a broad societal expectation that women be untarnished by “men’s” work or concerns.
Instead she makes them appear to be interested only in “silk stockings” and “good times.” That said, Bedford’s poem, in concert with the Countess’ praise of women labourers, does paint a portrait of women on the cusp of a demand for political self-determination.WWI, however, brought issue of women’s rights to the forefront; while the country battled on the frontlines, women battled at home to build credibility and to empower one another to demand professional and political equity.No longer were they willing to bend to the common biases against them, as depicted by several documents related in this paper.The resistance to women’s political rights was rooted, therefore, in a misogynist bias against women’s participation outside the home and men’s inherent right to be in charge.Bias against women in the workforce was often based on misperceptions, or a fabricated idea about what a woman “shouldn’t” be.The caption below states: “Men and women protect one another in the hour of death.With the addition of the woman’s vote, they would be able to protect one another in life as well.” This comment directly relates to the incident of the sinking of a British hospital ship in 1915, in which British nurses died to give up spots on lifeboats to injured British soldiers. Some of my girls were killed outright, many were wounded.. .[but] our regiment alone captured two thousand prisoners.” Botchkareva-Yashka’s account boldly calls the men’s troops “cowards” while comparing them with the sacrificial and daring actions of the women’s regiment.The heroism and sacrifice displayed and subsequently evoked by this image brazenly confronts the naive assumption that men were the only people dying at war; women also were brave and dedicated to the service of their country. The document indicates that she is confident in her voice as a woman, and considers it equal, if not paramount to that of a man.Likewise , in her memoir, Maria Botchkareva-Yashka of Russia recalls that when the troops were ordered to advance it was the “[women who] decided to advance in order to shame the men, having arrived at the conclusion that they would not let us perish in No Man’s Land. Clearly, many women at this time were tired of being deemed domestic, inferior non-persons.Private Wilby pleads with his fiancee that she remain the “same loveable little woman that I left behind” with the same “womanly little ways and nature.” Within the context of time period this type of language — “little woman” and “womanly little ways” — may have been common.However, it strongly indicates a belief that men considered women to be a kind of sweet “thing,” like a baby or a fine object. In a more political document, Paul von Hindenburg, Chief of the German General Staff, writes of women’s agitation for rights.