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:
1. 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)
3. Ambulance drivers of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY),
Calais, January, 1917. © IWM (Q 4673)
4. The first women police officers served during the First World War. GETTY images.
5. Brick workers pose with shovels and a wheeled skip for conveying clay for silica brickmaking,
South Wales, 1914. © IWM (Q 28439)
6. Group of sludge pit workers at a glass works,
Lancashire, 1918. © IWM (Q 28398)
7. Workers at the flour mills of Rank & Sons, Birkenhead, Lancashire. © IWM (Q 28281)
8. A mechanic works under a car while performing repairs to the vehicle. GETTY images.
9. Group of female workers employed at a brickworks,
South Wales. © IWM (Q 28451)
10. Carpenters at the Tarrant Hut Workshops,
3 miles from Calais, 26 June 1918. © IWM (Q 6767)
11. Trolleys laden with sacks of flour in the grounds of the mills of Rank and Sons, Birkenhead,
Cheshire, in September 1918. © IWM (Q 28278)
12. Below the furnaces removing the glass that has come from a broken pot, in a glass factory,
Lancashire, September, 1918. © IWM (Q 28297)
13. Shoveling plaster used to bed glass on surfacing tables,
Lancashire. © IWM (Q 28295)
14. Preparing to sand blast a design on to a granite gravestone at Stewart and Co.,
Aberdeen, October 1918.© IWM (Q 28376)
15. Rolling casks of beer across the floor at a brewery,
Cheshire, September 1918. © IWM (Q 28336)
16. Feeding the charcoal kilns used for purifying sugar at a refinery,
Scotland, © IWM (Q 28351)
17. Demonstrating a Jack Truck to lift 10 cwts, in the J. T. Hardaker Bowling Iron Works,
Bradford, November 1918. © IWM (Q 28527)
18. Chemist in the laboratory of a cement works,
Scotland, November 1918. © IWM (Q 28370)
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)
20. Packing a “government order for 1 million lamp bulbs” at a warehouse,
somewhere in Britain, 1917 © IWM (Q 28172)
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