In keeping with the theme of Women and War this month (see June's Item of the month), Sonia has been researching the story behind the 'Munitionettes'...
The Caird Archive and Library holds a volume issued in 1916 by the Ministry of Munitions entitled Notes on the employment of women on munitions of war: with an appendix on training of munitions workers (Library ID PBN8315).
The volume presents photographic records as well as written descriptions of duties performed by women, aiming to demonstrate their suitability for performing these roles.
During the First World War women played a key role working in areas formerly reserved for men. Recruited to replace men who had gone to fight in the war, women initially worked as clerks, factory workers (in boot making or tinned food factories) or undertook light agricultural work. However, they were later employed in more diverse areas such as engineering, driving vehicles and working in shipyards. The best known wartime occupation of all for women was working in munitions factories. These women became known as ‘munitionettes’. Initially considered a quite unsuitable job for women, at the end of the war it was the occupation in which the largest number of women were employed.
Sonia (Library Assistant)