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One of the really interesting aspects for me about the Second World War was its impact on gender. Because of the vast numbers of troops that left to fight, women were forced to adopt roles that previously had not been open to them in order to keep the country functioning. This had the effect of completely challenging gender roles and perceptions of gender, as women, who had previously mostly been identified as housewives or nurturing figures, suddenly had to work in factories and do very hard physical labour on farms. However, what is really interesting is the long-term impact of this, which was actually far worse for gender equality than we would have thought. When the soldiers returned from battle, women seemed to meekly and quietly retreat into their former roles to enable their menfolk to return to their jobs and become once again the breadwinners and the main providers so that they could receive affirmation in this role. In spite of the way that the war had profoundly disrupted gender roles and ideas about what men and women should and shouldn't do, the end of the war brought with it a return to the kind of gender stereotyping that the war had exploded.
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