In 1918 and 1919, when the ‘khaki boys’ came marching home, the market was flooded with men wanting their pre-war jobs back again. By autumn 1919 three-quarters of a million of those [temporarily liberated] women had been handed their cards. It was back to the kitchen sink for bus conductors, insurance clerks, landgirls and electricians alike. Voices were now raised against the ‘limpets’, ‘bloodsuckers’ and ‘bread snatchers’ who tried helplessly to hang on to their jobs. […] If they worked at all, women were supposed to be employed in low-status jobs, or be supported by men. Married women workers were reviled for taking men’s jobs while they should be ‘kept’ by their husbands, but single women also bore the brunt of much abuse. They had no dependants, therefore their earnings could only be for ‘pin money’, selfish indulgences, rose-coloured carpets even. These were the ‘superfluous’ women. It was inconceivable that such women could have financial needs, desires for independence, ambitions, goals, or imperatives outside the home.
Virginia Nicholson, Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men after the First World War (extract from ‘Business Girls’, p. 109, Penguin, 2008)
[As I’m intending to read a number of First World War–related literature over the coming months, and as I’m reading three such books in succession at the moment, I thought I might perhaps turn it into a bit of a reading series — with its own tag, possibly “Goodbye to All That” or something as obvious — and post as much about the books as I can: quotes, impressions, opinions. I’d also appreciate any WWI reading recommendations, too: fiction or non–fiction.]