chapter  6
1 Pages

SURVIVAL STRATEGIES: WOMEN’S DUAL ROLES IN POST-WAR BRITAIN

No longer ‘slave workers’

As the EVW population settled down in Britain, and the first months of unfamiliarity with the work to which they had been allocated stretched into boredom and hardship, dissatisfaction with their conditions of employment began to manifest itself. As I have argued earlier, many of the Balts who left their countries in 1944 were from middle class families, often well-educated, many with professional qualifications and with previous experience of non-manual forms of employment. And yet all these people were allocated to manual employment, separated from their partners and other family members and forced to remain in the positions to which they were allocated for a period of up to two years. Over time, a degree of liberalisation was introduced by, even forced on, the Government because of evident dissatisfaction among groups of workers. As the rates of marriage within the European Voluntary Worker (EVW) population in the UK increased, for example, women petitioned to move to be closer to their husbands, other women left their employment without permission (Marta was in this group).