Women at War 1914-1918
The vision of the First World War today is of men waved off to war, of haunting photographs of trenches and shattered landscapes. But with fathers, husbands and sons conscripted to the forces, and the resulting labour shortages, between 1914 and 1918 an estimated two million women replaced men in employment. The Home Front became a new kind of battleground, with more than 250,000 women joining the Women’s Land Army and Women’s Forage Corps.
The First World War bestowed two valuable legacies on women: for a time, it opened up a wider range of occupations to female workers; and it hastened the collapse of traditional women’s employment, particularly domestic service. Here we see how the ‘war to end all wars’ changed a woman’s role in society forever, and shaped the future of Britain.