Changing ghettos : women clerical workers in Ottawa during the Second World War


Doherty, John




This thesis studies the changing work of women during the Second World War and examines their life outside of work in the Ottawa community. Nine women were interviewed to understand the transition experienced by women during the war. The experiences of these women are placed within the context of the political and social developments of the 1930's and 1940's. Through these women's lives we can examine the transition from domestic service to clerical work and the impact this had on women's lives. It was during the war that women emerged as the majority of clerical workers in Canada and accelerated a growing trend of women working in the paid labour force. While the trend towards women working had begun in the post World War I era, the national mobilization during the war was unprecedented in Canadian history and opened new job opportunities for women.

While the new job opportunities for women represented an improvement in wages and working conditions from domestic service, clerical work soon emerged as another job ghetto for women which did not allow women the opportunity for advancement. In these jobs women, especially married women, faced many barriers and the conditions at work and outside of work are explored.


Women clerks -- Ontario -- Ottawa
Women -- Social conditions
World War, 1939-1945 -- Women -- Ontario -- Ottawa




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Canadian Studies

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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