Women's War: Media Representations of Female Civil Labour during World War I

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Reisa Klein
Michèle Martin


This paper looks at the coverage of women’s civil labour during WWI in two magazines, Maclean’s in Canada and L’Illustration in France, supplemented with material from war museums and academic works. Our concern is media representations of the indispensible participation of these women, not as victims and passive entities in the conflict, but as individuals who have significantly contributed to the war effort. We contend that the magazines’ content did not reflect the magnitude of women’s civil labour during WWI and the importance they had not only in sustaining the war effort, maintaining a general level of production that would allow their countries to remain significantly involved in the war, but also in their contribution to the modernisation of society.

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