This film is part of Free

Women's Work in Wartime

Who wears the trousers while the men are at war? The women of Britain, who pick up a surprisingly wide range of jobs

Documentary 1918 8 mins Silent


Women's work' takes on a new meaning in this diverting film showing the range of jobs taken by female workers in WWI, whether delivering post, driving lorries, hauling timber, or selling tickets on the trams. Some of the jobs are physically strenuous, and a few, such as climbing ladders to wash windows, required trousers instead of skirts. The film opens with women making cartridges, and closes in London with the Women's Land Army marching in uniform - just like their far-away men.

With men away fighting, women worked in a variety of civilian occupations as well as in munitions factories, directly supporting the war effort. During the war, women proved themselves capable of doing the same work as men, and many of them were reluctant to give up their roles once the soldiers returned. At the end of 1919, the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act was passed, making it illegal to bar someone from a job based on their gender.