Women and the War Effort

"Text of Postscript" (BBC Broadcast of Prime Minister of Australia  speaking of important role of women in war effort), page 1
Great Britain Ministry of Information: Daily Press Notices and Bulletins, No. 6: May 4, 1941
"Text of Postscript" (BBC Broadcast of Prime Minister of Australia  speaking of important role of women in war effort), page 2
Great Britain Ministry of Information: Daily Press Notices and Bulletins, No. 06: May 4, 1941
"Text of Postscript" (BBC Broadcast of Prime Minister of Australia  speaking of important role of women in war effort), page 3
Great Britain Ministry of Information: Daily Press Notices and Bulletins, No. 06: May 4, 1941
“Women of Britain, Come Into the Factories”
This poster was used to help recruit British women into war work to bolster production for the war effort.
“Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) Girl”
Recruitment poster for the ATS.
“For a Healthy, Happy Job, Join the Women’s Land Army”
Recruitment poster for the Women’s Land Army.

Due to the majority of men either volunteering or being conscripted into the armed services, Britain desperately needed to replace them in the everyday work needed to keep the country running. Many of these roles, such as working on trains, buses, and barges, or as police officers, were now open to women who wanted to do their bit. This was especially true in the vital areas of munitions manufacturing and food production. This meant that the MOI needed to create a new propaganda campaign specifically aimed at women that promoted agricultural and industrial output as well as civil defense.

Most women who volunteered before the war went into the Women's Land Army (WLA) or civil defense. The WLA trained women from towns and cities in agricultural work. The main civil defense services were Air Raid Precautions (ARP), the fire service and Women's Voluntary Services (WVS), which included clerical work and later added pump crews, organizing evacuations, shelters, clothing exchanges, and mobile canteens.

In December of 1941, all unmarried women aged 20-30, (later expanded to 19-43) began to be conscripted for war work. They now had to work in a factory, on agriculture, or in the armed forces. Women’s branches of The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) and the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) were created. Women were not allowed to serve in battle, but still worked on important roles such as cooks, storekeepers, orderlies, drivers and postal workers and later became radar operators and anti-aircraft gun crew members as well. The importance of women during the War cannot be denied.