Women at Work WW1

During World War One, more than a million women  went to work in factories, mines, laboratories and offices across the country. So what was it like? Conditions were often poor, the work arduous and they were often paid as little as half the wages of their male counterparts.

And, despite their contributions, the 1919 Restoration of Pre-War Practices Act effectively turned back the clock as many women were dismissed from their wartime roles. Here are 20 striking images of working women from 1914-1918:

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-19181. A group of  pit brow workers at a coal mine,
Lancashire in September 1918. © IWM (Q 28302)

2. Receiving biscuit tins for packing in an army biscuit factory,
Lancashire, September, 1918. © IWM (Q 28314)

FIRST AID NURSING YEOMANRY ON THE WESTERN FRONT, 1914-19183. Ambulance drivers of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY),
Calais, January, 1917. © IWM (Q 4673)

Police

4. The first women police officers served during the First World War. GETTY images.

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-19185. Brick workers pose with shovels and a wheeled skip for conveying clay for silica brickmaking,
South Wales, 1914. © IWM (Q 28439)

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-1918 6. Group of sludge pit workers at a glass works,
Lancashire, 1918. © IWM (Q 28398)

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-19187. Workers at the flour mills of Rank & Sons, Birkenhead, Lancashire. © IWM (Q 28281)

Mechanic

8. A mechanic works under a car while performing repairs to the vehicle. GETTY images.

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-19189. Group of female workers employed at a brickworks,
South Wales. © IWM (Q 28451)

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN ON THE WESTERN FRONT, 1914-1918  10. Carpenters at the Tarrant Hut Workshops,
3 miles from Calais, 26 June 1918. © IWM (Q 6767)

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-191811. Trolleys laden with sacks of flour in the grounds of the mills of Rank and Sons, Birkenhead,
Cheshire, in September 1918. © IWM (Q 28278)

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-191812. Below the furnaces removing the glass that has come from a broken pot, in a glass factory,
Lancashire, September, 1918. © IWM (Q 28297)

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-1918 13. Shoveling plaster used to bed glass on surfacing tables,
Lancashire. © IWM (Q 28295)

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-191814. Preparing to sand blast a design on to a granite gravestone at Stewart and Co.,
Aberdeen, October 1918.© IWM (Q 28376)

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-191815. Rolling casks of beer across the floor at a brewery,
Cheshire, September 1918. © IWM (Q 28336)

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-1918  16. Feeding the charcoal kilns used for purifying sugar at a refinery,
Scotland, © IWM (Q 28351)

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN 1914-191817. Demonstrating a Jack Truck to lift 10 cwts, in the J. T. Hardaker Bowling Iron Works,
Bradford, November 1918. © IWM (Q 28527)

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-191818. Chemist in the laboratory of a cement works,
Scotland, November 1918. © IWM (Q 28370)

Tyres © IWM (Q 28237)19. Posing with a stack of completed motor vehicle tyres in the rubber factory of
Charles Macintosh and Sons Ltd, Manchester, in September 1918. © IWM (Q 28237)

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-1918
20. Packing a “government order for 1 million lamp bulbs” at a warehouse,
somewhere in Britain, 1917  © IWM (Q 28172)

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