The role of women before World War 2 was that they were supposed to be ‘good housewives’, or if they had a career it should be either something like nursing, being a domestic servant or being a shop assistant.
During the war, many of men went away to fight, and those left behind had important jobs that kept the country running which they needed to keep.
This meant that women had to take up the jobs the men away fighting would have done. Women took jobs amongst other things as mechanics, engineers, builders, ambulance drivers and air-raid wardens. Many volunteered for the home guard and real army even though they did not have to, unlike their male counterparts. Perhaps most famously women worked as Land Girls in the Women’s Land Army, with over 80,000 women, thanks to publicity, volunteers then later conscription, leaving the cities and taking on the vital role of farmers in the countryside. (To find out more about the WLA you could read Land Girls by Angela Huth.
Women did want to work during the war because they wanted to do whatever they could to help win the war, and help bring home their husbands and sons safely. They also wanted to prove to the men that women are just as good as men for doing any sort of job and those women can and should be trusted.
This helped change the views of many men about women and the type of work they could do, as women showed that they could do the same jobs just as well as the men and their effort in the war was invaluable.
Women also adapted to the rationing of clothes by embracing the make-do-and-mend culture, for example a new dress could be sewn from old curtains or even cloth potato sacks, and instead of stockings or tights a black line could be drawn up the leg to create a fake seam so it appeared that she was wearing some, and therefore she would have more coupons to spend on other items of clothing.