Women living in rural areas also assisted in farming while the men were away. They cared for livestock and harvested and grew food, while also maintaining the farm and the family financially.
In their free time, they also had to readjust their lifestyles. There were strict food rationing rules for each family. They had to make their own butter, bread and maple sugar. For example, only one cup of coffee was allowed for each member of the family a day and using margarine was illegal! Although this lifestyle was tedious and a struggle, it was necessary because the industrial-made and high quality food was saved and shipped to those in the military.
Women also had to constantly recycle materials, especially metals, so that any excess materials could be used to make war equipment, such as ships and tanks.
A ration book was given to each member of the family. Inside there are coupons to food that can be rationed.
Unlike WW1, women could now be part of the Canadian military. In the Second World War, women played vital roles in the navy, air force, and army. Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC), there were 21 000 women working as cooks, cleaners, and medical assistants. There were also other jobs available like working as mechanics and radar operators. The Royal Canadian Air Force had 17 000 women working by 1941. Although they were not allowed to be trained to fly fighter planes, they were still vulnerable to bomb raids and invasions. Instead, they worked as communication operators, photographers, weather observers and cooks.
The women working in the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS) started out in clerical and administrative jobs, but then started operating roles with coding and radar when the company expanded to 7000 women. 4500 also worked in medical services, providing aid to those who were wounded.
Women’s involvement in the war was historically significant for them and Canada because they showed that they could work just as well as men, despite their gender. In society, women are usually seen as the weaker and feebler sex, but they proved this statement wrong by showing that with hard work and determination, it doesn’t matter in the end. Without them, Canadian soldiers would not have the necessary war materials, the food and supplies and there would not have been an extra “helping hand” in the army. Their actions influenced the rights of women in jobs today and they should also be called heroes of World War II.
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