Women in paid employment were not a new phenomenon in 1914. They made up a substantial part of the industrial workforce even before the First World War, although they were mainly concentrated in textile manufacture. After 1915, when the need for shells intensified, women were brought into munitions manufacturing in large numbers. By 1918 almost a million women were employed in some aspect of munitions work.

Women in paid employment were not a new phenomenon in 1914. They made up a substantial part of the industrial workforce even before the First World War, although they were mainly concentrated in textile manufacture. After 1915, when the need for shells intensified, women were brought into munitions manufacturing in large numbers. By 1918 almost a million women were employed in some aspect of munitions work.

WAR WORK: "A female chemist in the laboratory of a cement works in Scotland, November 1918."  THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-1918 at the Imperial War Museum, London

WAR WORK: "A female chemist in the laboratory of a cement works in Scotland, November 1918." THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1914-1918 at the Imperial War Museum, London

Christabel Pankhurst (centre) and her mother Emmeline (left) founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in Manchester in 1903. It used militant campaigning to try to gain women the vote. Its members were known as suffragettes. During the war, Emmeline and Christabel led the WSPU in supporting the war effort. By contrast, Sylvia Pankhurst (right) opposed the war and in 1914 broke away from the WSPU.

Christabel Pankhurst (centre) and her mother Emmeline (left) founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in Manchester in 1903. It used militant campaigning to try to gain women the vote. Its members were known as suffragettes. During the war, Emmeline and Christabel led the WSPU in supporting the war effort. By contrast, Sylvia Pankhurst (right) opposed the war and in 1914 broke away from the WSPU.

An unidentified woman who worked at the Four Wheel Drive factory in Clintonville assembling trucks during World War I. She is wearing a special uniform for women workers (c.1918). #vintage #WW1 #homefront

An unidentified woman who worked at the Four Wheel Drive factory in Clintonville assembling trucks during World War I. She is wearing a special uniform for women workers (c.1918). #vintage #WW1 #homefront

Taken from "The Royal Air Force: An Illustrated History" by Michael Armitage [1995, Brockhampton Press].  "Fabric workers of the Women's Royal Air Force" circa 1918 these women are sewing fabric to cover the wings of W.W.1 aircraft. Treadle Machines.

Taken from "The Royal Air Force: An Illustrated History" by Michael Armitage [1995, Brockhampton Press]. "Fabric workers of the Women's Royal Air Force" circa 1918 these women are sewing fabric to cover the wings of W.W.1 aircraft. Treadle Machines.

English: Photo of the first air raid ever: a German Zeppelin bombarded the city of Antwerp [Belgium] in the night of 24 to 25 August 1914, at the beginning of the First World War. In the foreground the large cigar form of the challenged Zeppelin, in the background the burning city.

English: Photo of the first air raid ever: a German Zeppelin bombarded the city of Antwerp [Belgium] in the night of 24 to 25 August 1914, at the beginning of the First World War. In the foreground the large cigar form of the challenged Zeppelin, in the background the burning city.

Over ninety years ago during World War I, British and German soldiers put down their weapons, walked out into the desolation of No-Man’s Land and shook hands. This was the Christmas cease fire of 1914. In a moment unique to the First World War, troops were given a moment of respite from the horrors of the war when soldiers exchanged gifts, looked at each others’ family photographs and played friendly games of football with the enemy.

Over ninety years ago during World War I, British and German soldiers put down their weapons, walked out into the desolation of No-Man’s Land and shook hands. This was the Christmas cease fire of 1914. In a moment unique to the First World War, troops were given a moment of respite from the horrors of the war when soldiers exchanged gifts, looked at each others’ family photographs and played friendly games of football with the enemy.

Girls deliver heavy blocks of ice after male workers were conscripted [1918] 52 Powerful Photos Of Women Who Changed History Forever

Girls deliver heavy blocks of ice after male workers were conscripted [1918] 52 Powerful Photos Of Women Who Changed History Forever

Two women munition workers operate a shell case forming machine during the First World War at the New Gun Factory of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, London.  Lewis G P  © IWM (Q 27846)

Two women munition workers operate a shell case forming machine during the First World War at the New Gun Factory of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, London. Lewis G P © IWM (Q 27846)

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