Activity 3b: The Changing Role of Women in the Workforce

A shortage of men during World War II led to women taking up a number of non-traditional roles in the workforce, such as factory workers.

In this activity, students create a photo story of images and key terms showing the changing role of women in the workforce from 1900 to 1970. Students analyse images of women during World War II and produce a creative response. 

Resources Required

Handouts

e Resources 

  • Picture Australia
  • National Film and Sound Archive
  • images – The Le@rning Federation digital content
    • A typing pool (1950), Education Services Australia Ltd and National Archives of Australia – R2407
    • A female apprentice in the metal trades (1967), Education Services Australia Ltd and National Archives of Australia – R2905
    • Munitions factory worker (1940), Education Services Australia Ltd and National Archives of Australia – R2601
    • Wartime engineering production (1940s), Education Services Australia Ltd and Museum of New Zealand – R2509
    • Women working in a munitions factory (1943), Education Services Australia Ltd and The History Trust of South Australia – R4563
    • Women electroplating army canteen bottles (1940s), Education Services Australia Ltd and The National Museum of New Zealand – R5124
  • video clips – The Le@rning Federation digital content
    • from the television documentary For Love or Money (1983):
      • Clip 2: Equal pay paradox, Education Services Australia Ltd (3 min 6 sec) – R7339
      • Clip 3: A very efficient secretary, Education Services Australia Ltd (2 min 45 sec) – R7340
    • While there is still time, Part 1 of 11 (1943), Education Services Australia Ltd and National Film and Sound Archive – R6054

Other

  • Microsoft Word 

Task 1

Students watch the video clips and brainstorm key terms used to describe the typical roles of men and women in the workplace.

Students create a photo story showing the changing role of women from 1900 to 1970, using the key terms from the brainstorm, the Handout: Typical Roles of Men and Women in Australia Before World War II (19391945), and the e Resources.

Students explore possible reasons why men and women were paid differently.

Task 2

Using one of the websites provided, students cut and paste an image of a woman from World War II into an Microsoft Word document. They type answers to the following questions around the image. Students should be encouraged to select fonts that highlight key concepts within their answers, for example, they might choose an industrial font if the woman was a metal worker.

Alternatively, the teacher can print the photos and students can complete the activity by pasting them on the card and writing the words around the photo. 

Students answer the following questions:

  • What is the woman doing in this image?
  • How and why did women’s roles change during the war?
  • What probably happened to this woman’s role after the war ended?


Activity 3a | Activity 3b | Activity 3c | Activity 3d

People Power Introduction |  3. Equal Pay for Women 

Overview of Activities:  Focus Question 3 | Teacher Information