Surplus women

World War I compounded the gender imbalance. The deaths of nearly one million men during the war increased the gender gap by over a million; from 670,000 to 1,700,000. The number of unmarried women seeking economic means grew dramatically. In addition, demobilisation and economic decline following the war caused high unemployment. The war increased female employment; however, the return of demobilised men displaced many from the workforce, as did the closure of many of the wartime factories. Hence women who had worked during the war found themselves struggling to find jobs and those approaching working age were not offered the opportunity.

Further obstruction to economic means came about by the presence of a marriage bar in many occupations. Also, due to the extended life expectancy of women, the loss of pension income attached to deceased males also contributed to the surplus women issue. Florence White was instrumental in campaigning for pensions for women in order to alleviate this issue.