Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hardships During WWI

If you haven't, please read the introduction first

Continuation of the Russian story from the previous post…

“One thing that really shocked the Ivanov family was that Mrs. Ivanov got a hard job in her husband’s working place. When men had been dismissed because of the World War I, almost all women had to change their daily role as wives or as mothers. Therefore, same thing happened to Mrs. Ivanov. She had to do a job to earn money because of missing her sons.

At the beginning, Mrs. Ivanov dreamed of getting a job ever since she arrived in Canada. When Mr. Ivanov retired when he was 55 due to his terrible health conditions, she was willing to take a job in my father’s work place. Mr. Ivanov’s work place was converted into artillery manufacturing company during World War I. Mrs. Ivanov also thought, if she did not get it immediately, some one else would get it. For that reason, at the beginning, she got along with her new job, as a machine operator. As she did it, she understood the hardship of that occupation. She worked with chemicals that used for explosives. She was paid the minimum wage, fifteen cents, and that was worse than what her husband used to earn. This was very common at the time - women at her work place were treated badly because many men did not recognize women’s rights and freedoms. They had different attitudes toward women. They had to work with heavy machines. Women also had to make artillery for the war in the Home Front. They had to load and unload heavy equipment to and from the cargo trains.

For Mrs Ivanov, she didn’t have any safety awareness at her factory, while she was working with chemicals and other hazards. One day, her hair was colored in yellow and it smelled like gunpowder. On the other hand, many women, including Mrs. Ivanov, fought to gain their rights in elections. They argued that the Canadian government must give them the right to vote in elections. Women justified their reasons stating that they had worked hard in factories to make weapons and other artillery gears. Because of the demands of women, Canadian Government gave that opportunity for women who had relationships with Canadian troops. Even though, women got the right to vote in elections, their working conditions didn’t changed. As WW I progressed, women had to work under toughest conditions yet!”

Next: ups and downs through The Roaring Twenties

- Daivd

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