During the war, women had the major worry of providing for their household's basic needs.
More than four thousand unemployed women found work in the textile and dress-making industries, supported by demand from the USA. The middle-classes, the wealthy and other aristocrats mostly devoted themselves to humanitarian aid. A large group of women also joined the Resistance.
Prostitution, monitored by the vice squad, rose sharply due to the presence of a large number of German administrators and soldiers passing through or stationed in Brussels.
In the occupied city children, and especially orphans, received particular attention. As the war drew out, special campaigns to feed and clothe them, such as that by the organisation Petits Abeilles, were set up. The success of these child welfare initiatives was such that in 1917 there was a significant decline in infant mortality.