How did Canadian women contribute in the Second World War?
When Canada entered World War Two on September 10 1939, many of its male citizens joined the armed forces to fight the Nazis. But, with many men gone and a need to boost production, women had to fill this fill void and play an active role in the war effort. Here are some ways in which they made a vital contribution:
- At home, women enforced rationing, reduced waste and collected items which could be recycled for the war effort, e.g. metal, rubber and glass.
- Around 373,000 women worked in the manufacturing industry, of which 261,000 were employed in the production of munitions, especially aircraft and in gun plants.
- Women volunteered as nurses for the Red Cross or in the military canteens.
- Women also joined the armed forces, like the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, primarily as stenographers and secretaries, and the Canadian Women's Army Corps where they decoded messages.
- Women also organised home defense programs in case of invasion. Here, they wore a uniform, performed military drills and learned how to handle a weapon.