Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Terry Copp

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The objective of this thesis is to examine aspects of the experience of women in Waterloo County during the Second World War. Waterloo County, with its strong industrial base and unique concentration of training centres for both the army and navy women’s corps, provides an ideal opportunity to study women’s experience of war and to relate it to the existing historiography, especially the dominant work, Ruth Roach Pierson’s They’re Still Women After All: The Second World War and Canadian Womanhood. The argument of this thesis is that evidence from Waterloo County suggests that Pierson has underestimated both qualitative and quantitative changes in the role and self-image of women during the war years. The view, advanced by Pierson, that women failed to build upon their war-time experience to achieve liberation in the post-war world is directly contradicted by employment data from Waterloo County and other evidence. This thesis suggests that much was accomplished and most of it was of lasting value.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season