This week, on the 6th February, it was a 100 years since The Representation of the People Act which gave women over thirty and men over 21 the vote.
And whilst it didn't go very far, it did, however, allow a glimmer of hope to those brave women who had long been campaigning for Votes for Women.
And so I started to think about all those women who kept the country functioning during the long years of WW1, and this 1917 poem by war poet, Jessie Pope speaks eloquently about their public service contribution.
There's the girl who clips your ticket for the train,
And the girl who speeds the lift from floor to floor,
There's the girl who does a milk-round in the rain,
And the girl who calls for orders at your door.
Strong, sensible, and fit,
They're out to show their grit,
And tackle jobs with energy and knack.
No longer caged and penned up,
They're going to keep their end up
Till the khaki soldier boys come marching back.
There's the motor girl who drives a heavy van,
There's the butcher girl who brings your joint of meat,
There's the girl who cries 'All fares, please!' like a man,
And the girl who whistles taxis up the street.
Beneath each uniform
Beats a heart that's soft and warm,
Though of canny mother-wit they show no lack;
But a solemn statement this is,
They've no time for love and kisses
Till the khaki soldier-boys come marching back.
The Women's Work in the War Production 1914-1918
A female switchboard cleaner of the tramways department of the Corporation of Glasgow (now Glasgow City Council). Two such women were employed by the department, starting in November 1915. They worked forty-five hours per week and earned 25 shillings per week, including a bonus.
Women taking up the challenge of public service work during 1914-1918 allowed more men to go to war.
|© IWM (Q 110155)|
A female worker operating a slugging machine at the boot manufacture of J. Rawson and Sons Limited in Leicester.
|© IWM (Q 109965)|
Source IWM archive collection.