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World War 2 and the Canadian Family

            The Second World War (WWII) was one of the most significant events in Canadian History. Although Canadian soil did not see battles, Canadian Families were profoundly affected, both during and after the war. The traditional role of women in the family was forever changed as a result of the war; returning men suffered the effects of the war both mentally, and physically; and children's lives were forever changed, as families struggled to rebuild. .
             To understand the effect of post World War 2 on women, we must first explore how the war impacted women even before D-Day. Although Civilian Canadians did not see the destruction that European civilians saw they were not totally immune. During 1939, forty percent of the male population between the ages of 18-45 had enlisted. Canada's entry into the War on September 10th , 1939 led to the mobilization of women on an unprecedented scale. Prior to 1939 600 000 women worked outside the traditional homemaker and housewife role. With husbands, father, and brothers enlisting the need for women to enter the work force quickly grew. By 1942 the labor forces were drained and women were actively recruited into the work force for the first time. Prime Mister Mackenzie King "established the National Selective Service in March of 1942 declaring the recruitment of women for reemployment the single most important goal of the Service. (National Film Board, n.d). Initially efforts were made to keep the family unit together and only childless housewives or women without children were hired. The need was so great that eventually married women with children were also recruited (Veteran Affairs Canada, 2013). By the end of the war 1.2 million women had entered the workforce (Veterans Affairs Canada, 2013). In addition to working outside the home mother's continued to maintain order in the home. With husbands and son's overseas many women drove trackers, plowed the fields and harvested hay while tending their gardens, raising chickens and putting down preserves in the fall (Veterans Affairs Canada, 2013).

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