Voices of Women in the Great War and its Aftermath
13-14 April 2018
Black Country Living Museum
Although the Great War is often seen as a time of change, offering new opportunities for women and culminating in 1918 in the extension of the franchise to many, the conflict was not experienced in the same way by all. Class, region, age and marital status all shaped women’s lives during the war and after.
Working opportunities on the land, in munitions, clerical work, transport services and the armed forces gave young women in particular a chance to experience a modicum of freedom.
The majority of women were housewives in wartime, supporting and worrying about their loved ones in the armed forces and undertaking voluntary work. The war created new problems as women struggled to feed their families, care for children and make ends meet; struggles which often continued in the inter-war years.
This conference will explore the multiplicity of women’s voices during the war and in the years that followed. It will look at the mundane and the extraordinary, the domestic and working worlds, the political and private, in order critically to examine elements of continuity and change and to consider what was to become the legacy of the Great War for women.
This conference is supported by the Black Country Living Museum, and the AHRC-funded Voices of War and Peace: The Great War and its Legacy First World War Engagement Centre
Keynote speakers include:
- Dr Deborah Thom – Mary Macarthur and women’s trade unionism
- Dr Sian Roberts – Voices of peace and friendship: Quaker women, refugees, and the archival legacies of transnational relief
- Professor June Purvis on Christabel Pankhurst’s 1918 unsuccessful campaign to become an MP in Smethwick
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