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workingtheweb_5 - Investigation5 WomenatWar:Thechangingrole...

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45 Investigation 5 Women at War: The changing role of women in times of conFict ‘What did you do during the war mum?’ The roles played by women during times of conFict are vast and varied. In Australia’s wartime history women have been servicewomen, prisoners of war, nurses, doctors, entertainers, workers in munitions factories, technicians and peacekeepers – to mention but a few of the many ways in which women have directly participated in Australia’s war efforts. To the teacher In this investigation, students are presented with the opportunity to explore and describe the changing roles of women during times of conFict. The activities are varied and allow students to be creative, self-directed learners, while at the same time, focusing on change and continuity and identifying, using and analysing sources of historical information. The Internet is a vast repository of visual and written information and there is a special focus on visual literacy in this investigation. A plethora of rich images exist on these websites and each has its own story to tell. In this investigation, students will look at the roles of women in the medical corps and then engage in research about the variety of roles women undertake during times of conFict. Recommended levels Upper primary Lower secondary Middle secondary Upper secondary Background information Today there is little that women are prevented from doing in the defence of Australia and they participate in the majority of employment opportunities presented by the Australian Defence ±orce (AD±). This is quite different from earlier times. During the Boer War in 1899 nurses ²rst accompanied contingents as part of the NSW Army Medical Corps and by the end of World War I little had changed for women. They were still restricted to active participation in the defence of Australia through the Australian Army Nursing Service. Although nurses in World War I enjoyed the privileges of commissioned rank their ‘of²cer status’ was honorary and not of²cially recognised. Lieutenant Ahern, one of the Frst army nurses to serve an operational duty in Vietnam, 1967. AWM GIL/67/0483/VN Australian Women’s Army Service training in the handling of the Owen Gun, Queensland, 1944. AWM 062586
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46 Investigation 5 World War II, however, was the moment in history that changed women’s participation in the defence forces. It was during this war that the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF), the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS), the Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service (RAAFNS), the Australian Army Medical Women’s Service (AAMWS), the Royal Australian Navy Nursing Service (RANNS), the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) and the Australian Women’s Land Army (AWLA), a civilian service, were established. These organisations were ostensibly formed to release men for ±ghting duties, yet they were the catalyst which enabled women to have a fuller and more equal participation in the military by
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workingtheweb_5 - Investigation5 WomenatWar:Thechangingrole...

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