‘Eve in Khaki: Women Working with the British Military 1915-1918’, Women and Work Culture in Britain (ed.) K. Cowman & L. Jackson, (London: Ashgate 2005)
This book Chapter was commissioned by the book’s editors following its presentation as a Conference Paper at the ‘Women and Work Culture 1850-1950’ Conference held at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2002. The Chapter expands the notion of women’s work to include women’s military labour, an area of work often ignored by historians and sociologists examining women’s work patterns in Britain in the 20th century.
The Chapter is based on archival research initially carried out for 'Women in the British Army' (2006), but shifts its focus away from a historical overview of women’s role within the British army towards a more sociological approach, drawing on work on women’s labour patterns in the twentieth century to argue that women’s labour with the British military in the First World War can be understood as a form of paid labour alongside other areas of women’s work. Drawing on archival material which includes diaries and letters alongside discussion of official state policy towards the employment of women within the military, the Chapter highlights the extent to which the State was careful to try and demarcate some aspects of military work as feminine, thus both maintaining the distinction between men’s and women’s labour and ensuring that servicewomen were paid less than their male counterparts. The Chapter concludes that the preservation of this distinction was largely successful, enabling the reconstitution of traditional gender relations when the war ended.