In the Second World War 600,000 Canadian women stepped up to help the war effort. One of them was Elizabeth (Elsie) MacGill, the first female aeronautical engineer globally to graduate with a master’s and to practise as such became known as Queen of the Hurricanes. Elsie MacGill oversaw the WW 2 production of Canadian Hawker Hurricane fighter planes for the Allied Forces.
Other women lobbied the Canadian government to organise auxiliary military units which in turn, signed up 50,000 women to serve. Not only did women help maintain a pre-war standard of life in Canada, they also made valuable contributions in various Allied Auxillary Military units abroad. For instance, 4,480 Canadian nurses served next to WW 2 battlefields and many lost their lives in doing so. Other Canadians volunteered for the resistance such as Mona Parsons and others were selected for Allied intelligence units like Kathleen Moore.
In other countries women were responsible for various jobs. For instance, in the U.S. a completely Black American Women’s Army Corps unit was tasked with protecting military mail from being intercepted. In the Soviet Union over 2000 women were enlisted as snipers including the famous Lyudmila Pavlichenko.
Women continue to make contributions, sacrifices and generally to be instrumental cross-culturally in wars and in peace keeping around the globe. Those like Elsie MacGill who have feminist and independent mothers are more likely to lead fulfilling lives through challenging societal roles for women.
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