Saviours or Saboteurs: An Examination of Conditions and Attitudes Faced by Women Teaching in Rural Nova Scotia during World War II
Carole Richardson, Dr. Warnie Richardson.
By 1940, the Canadian Armed Forces began to experience a manpower shortage, and by mid 1941, the reserve pool of male civilian workers had been exhausted. In September of 1942, the government began actively to recruit young women for work in various industries. In the teaching ‘industry’, women with little or no formal teacher training had begun to fill positions from as early as 1939. As the war effort continued, many qualified male teachers left their positions in urban schools to join the armed forces as officers or to take up more lucrative positions within various war industries. In Nova Scotia, as the male teachers continued to vacate the higher paid and more prestigious urban teaching positions, replacements were drawn from the lower paying rural schools. As qualified staff, both male and female, was increasingly being attracted to the now vacant urban teaching posts, the rural schools became desperate for teachers. It was to these remote one-room school houses that the majority of unqualified and mainly female teachers came to teach during the war years. Interviews with two women who taught in rural Nova Scotia during World War II serve as the focus for this discussion of the role of female teachers during this time in Canada’s history. Reference will be made to research documenting a similar evolution in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Warnie Richardson (Canada)
Faculty of Education
(Virtual Presentation, English)