Mom's Army

WOMEN AT RUBERY OWEN, ENGINEERS 1945-1951

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The British government pursued an austerity policy between 1945 and 1951, but the national debate over rationing, consumption control and the planned economy was shaped by the attitudes of female workers and housewives themselves.

Articles in Goodwill, the company magazine of Rubery Owen - a West Midlands-based engineering group - show how local women contributed to this debate.

On 8 May 1945, the UK celebrated Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender. There would be no more want or waiting; the war in Europe was finally over. But the next morning, as empty bottles were being cleared away from city squares, the reality of what Britain faced began to sink in like a collective hangover. The war may have finished, but want and waiting were far from done with. Austerity was here to stay.

Britain faced financial ruin in 1945. The costs of war were colossal: huge overseas debts, a titanic balance of payment deficit and a frightening dollar shortage. How was the country to feed itself, let alone pay back its main creditor, the USA?

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Women World War 1

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