CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Recruiting Women for the War Effort

History, Social Studies, Business Studies
2 to 3 lessons
To research military job opportunities available to women during the Second World War
Students role-play a scene between a recruiting officer and a female applicant during the Second World War.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Brainstorm with the students what takes place during a job interview. Students may have personal experience with job interviews: ask about their experiences. You could model an interview for the students, possibly as a teacher applying for a job at their school. After discussing interviews in general, introduce the abbreviations CWACs (Canadian Women's Army Corps), WDs (The Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division), and Wrens (The Royal Canadian Naval Women's Service).

Outline The Opportunity

Direct students to the topic Canadian Women in the Second World War on the CBC Digital Archives website. Students will review the clips "Queen asks Canadian women to help war effort," "The women who serve so that men may fly," "Canadian women serving overseas" and "Spitfires in the rhododendrons" to learn about women being recruited for Canada's Armed Forces, for the Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division, and to fly warplanes for the Air Transport Auxiliary. After their review, students will work in pairs to create a mock interview session, with one student role-playing the recruiting officer for one of the three organizations and the other role-playing the female applicant. The interviewer should pose a minimum of five questions and the applicant should pose a minimum of three questions during the second part of the interview.

Revisit and Reflect

Have volunteers perform their interviews for the class. Give students time to examine the Rosie the Riveter Trust website at www.rosietheriveter.org. Lead a discussion on the American experience versus the Canadian experience for women during the Second World War.


Write the following quotation on the board or chart paper:

"You must tell your children, putting modesty aside, that without us, without women, there would have been no spring in 1945."
--Rosie the Riveter Memorial in Richmond, California

Students can write a write a brief position paper defending or opposing the quotation.


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