My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Sunday—Yesterday was a quiet day devoted mostly to reading all the things which had accumulated, from reports to magazine articles. This morning I am going to Philadelphia for a bond rally for "Women At War Week."

Since my return I have had a number of letters asking me if I would give our women some idea of what type of war work women are doing in Great Britain. That would require almost a book and I hope eventually to do it on the radio in detailed form, but I think I can divide the work the women are doing over there roughly into five categories.

One:—work within the military forces. This is highly varied and takes in a great many fields. Two:—factory work, work in offices, work in essential industries where men have been used, but where women are replacing them during this war period, since the industry is necessary although not actually connected with the war effort. Three:—in civilian defense protective services, such as firefighting, air raid wardens, emergency canteen workers, ambulance drivers, police women.

Four:—in what is known in Great Britain as the Women's Voluntary Services, and here as civilian mobilization. In this category every other type of service in a community is done by volunteer workers. It is the equivalent of our community services. Fifth:—but far from being the least important, is the work of women in the agricultural field. In Great Britain there are hardly any men left on the farms except fairly old ones. Women and girls, who formerly had been typists, beauty parlor operators, shop assistants, domestic servants, are now doing farm work and loving it.

There is a great appeal to the young people who are still kept in schools and colleges, to use their holidays also in work in the rural areas. If these vacations can be made to coincide with piecework on the farms, they can be trained during the university year to do really useful work. Universities and colleges are being realistic in their courses and are falling in with the needs of the government in as many fields as possible.

In addition, in Great Britain, courses for all types of government work, as well as industrial work, are set up throughout the country. Candidates must take these courses before they are eligible to take a position. The government prescribes the pay and working conditions, which means in many cases a great improvement on what might have been in the old days.



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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 23, 1942

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.