STC312683 The women-workers of the present- and future: a mechanic repairing a motor-car, from 'The Illustrated War News' (sepia photo) by English Photographer, (20th century); Private Collection; The Stapleton Collection; English,  it is possible that some works by this artist may be protected by third party rights in some territories

Women’s Roles during World War I

To commemorate the part women played in the ‘Great War’, we bring you images and footage from the Bridgeman archive.

Woman working in an arms factory, c.1916 (b/w photo) by Jacques Moreau, (b.1887); Archives Larousse, Paris
Woman working in an arms factory, c.1916 by Jacques Moreau, Archives Larousse, Paris

Women at their workplaces

Before the outbreak of WWI, the role of women mainly involved looking after their households and fulfilling domestic chores. With their husbands leaving for the front, many new job opportunities arose. Women started to work as military caregivers, nurses or took over positions in ammunition factories as munitions were needed in vast supplies for warfare. Life would never be the same again.

Photographers such as Jacques Moreau (b.1887) recorded women working as city street sweepers or dressed for duty as tram drivers and postal workers.

Left: Woman driving a tram in Toulouse during WWI, French Photographer / Bibliotheque Nationale / Archives Charmet Right: City street female sweeper, Paris, 1915, Jacques Moreau (b.1887) / Archives Larousse, Paris, France / Giraudon
Left: Woman driving a tram in Toulouse during WWI / Bibliotheque Nationale / Archives Charmet
Right: City street female sweeper, Paris, 1915, Jacques Moreau (b.1887) / Archives Larousse, Paris, France / Giraudon

Propaganda

In Great Britain alone, five million women were working by 1918. Many of them were recruited into industrial positions. Propaganda posters produced by organisations all over the world encouraged women to work hard during these dire times.

Left: Poster depicting women making munitions, English School / Private Collection / Peter Newark Military Pictures Right: Women are working day & night to win the War, English School / Private Collection / The Stapleton Collection
Left: Poster depicting women making munitions, English School / Private Collection / Peter Newark Military Pictures
Right: Women are working day & night to win the War, English School / Private Collection / The Stapleton Collection

Footage

Bridgeman also holds footage of women in World War I, including a montage on the production of WW1 weaponry and ammunition, female factory workers during the First World War and the inspection of the Woman Reserve Ambulance by Queen Mary and Princess Mary in 1918.

Left: Women in the factories of Germany during World War I / Right: Female factory workers of the Great War / Buff Film & Video Library
Left: Women in the factories of Germany during World War I /
Right: Female factory workers of the Great War / Buff Film & Video Library

Find out more

View all images and footage material of women’s roles during the ‘Great War’ on the Bridgeman website.

All images in this article are sourced from www.bridgemanimages.com. Contact the Bridgeman sales team (uksales@bridgemanimages.com) for more information regarding licensing, reproduction and copyright issues.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*