Ahead of International Women’s Day, Firing Line Museum Assistant Hannah Searle is our guest blogger and tells us why she thinks International Women’s Day is so important.
“With 2018 being a hundred years since some women first gained the vote in the UK, this International Women’s Day is a particularly good opportunity to remember the historical journey towards equality that women have been on. The last few centuries have seen massive changes in women’s roles socially and politically, as women have largely moved away from existing primarily in the domestic sphere, and have simultaneously gained a voice in politics that nineteenth century women could only dream of.
Along with this, the last two-hundred years have seen massive changes in women’s roles in the military. Initially, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, women would have accompanied their husbands to war to provide them with domestic services. Yet as warfare changed, so did this, and so we see women acting as military nurses in the nineteenth century. Women played a particularly significant role in the First World War, volunteering on the front line as ambulance drivers and medics, resulting in many being awarded the same medals as the soldiers; the vote was gained for women over 35 at the end of the war in 1918. This committed work continued throughout the Second World War, when even Princess Elizabeth served as a mechanic in the ATS! Finally, today women can serve in most of the armed forces as soldiers, serving alongside the men.
On International Women’s Day 2018, Thursday 8th March, Firing Line museum will remember the journey that females in the military have been on. There will be various activities happening in the museum throughout the day, including talks on World War One Nurses, and presentations on the changing role of women in the military compared to society. The museum will play host to female personnel serving with today’s armed forces, as well as to various re-enactors of women associated with the military throughout history. Come along to celebrate key moments in women’s history, and the influential figures who drove them”.