Images of Women, At Work, At War


The following thumbnail table contains a collection, mostly of photographs, that reveal the remarkable range of roles that women played during the Great War, not only as victim or passive observer, but also, increasingly as the war continued, as nurse, active laborer, and political activist. This category includes several images of children, caught in the cauldron of war. Boys were as vulnerable as girls, of course, to the terrible depradations of rout, pillage, wounding, and starvation, but the images belong here as marked by the part the young girl's body plays in the visual record of the war. With these photographs, compare the cartoons that were drawn in response to the German "rape" of Belgium. And note what all observers took to be the cutting irony of showing women at work amid the sheer hard glint of burgeoning military industrialism.

Women workers trucking clay for brickmaking

Horace Nicholls, Coke heavers at a London gasworks, First World War

Chilwell Shell-Filling Factory, July 1917

La Belle France: French Munitions Factory

Louis Raemaekers, Shell-Making

Kate Goodyear, of Grand Falls, Newfoundland, in her nursing uniform

Horace Nichols, Girl Guide, First World War

Members of Womens Auxilary Army Corps, in a cemetery at Abbeville, 1918

Cecil Beaton, Eileen Dunne, Blitz Victim, 1940

Young girl, post-war famine in Russia

Young girl, famine in Russia