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The Role of Women

The Great War was different from previous wars – it involved the whole country. By 1915 it was obvious that it would affect not only the troops engaged in action but also the daily lives of Scots on the Home Front. Industries at home had to provide for the many needs of the fighting forces. Factories adapted to produce armaments- tanks, aeroplanes, fire arms and munitions as well as uniforms. As more men were drafted into service, alternative labour was needed to fill their jobs on the Home Front and for the first time women were employed on a large scale in manufacturing industries.

The war changed women’s lives. Women played a major role in the war effort as willing volunteers to keep the country running by doing the jobs men did before they had to go to war. Women worked in factories, on the railways and bus services, and on the land. They also enlisted in the uniformed services and as nurses at home and in field hospitals.

Read background information about the impact of the Great War on Scotland.

Nursing Agricultural Work Industrial work

Image shows a drawing of a patient being stretchered from an ambulance (National Records of Scotland reference: BR LIB S/56/63 p.114)

Image shows part of a photograph of a woman sharpening a scythe (National Records of Scotland reference: HH31/27/51/3/44)

Image shows three women loading coal onto a lorry (National Records of Scotland reference: HH31/27/57)



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