Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by: People's History Museum

 This resource reveals an aspect of women’s war work during the First World War and links with women's suffrage and trade union activities.


Curriculum Links

  • KS2 History – WW1 – A significant turning point in British history
  • KS3 History - WW1 – Events of WW1
  • KS4 History – Britain at War – Britain & WW1

Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of the role of women war workers and linked campaigns
  • Understanding of the scope of women’s war work in WW1
  • Skills to analyse the significance of women’s war work and how it intersects with wider events of 1914-1918 and post-war Britain

Discussion Ideas

  • Why do you think women chose to work as welders during the First World War?
  • What other types of work did women do in the First World War?
  • Would you have wanted to work as a welder? Why/why not?
  • Why were women welders paid less than male workers?
  • How do you think they felt about this?
  • Why do you think the Society of Women Welders chose to wear a badge rather than a different item of clothing?
  • Are there any similarities with the 'On War Service' badge worn by civilian men and women (see link below)?
  • Look at the Nevinson lithograph of women welders. What safety measures do you think are missing that there would be in a modern workplace?
  • Are there any jobs that you think women ‘can’t’ or ‘don’t’ do today?
  • How much has the pay gap situation changed during the past century? 

Activity Ideas

  • Research different types of work carried out by women during the First World War. Choose one job that you are most interested in and create a fact-sheet about it. Try to find out:

    - Roughly how many women did this job in WW1?
    - What did their job entail?
    - How much were they and their male colleagues paid?
    - Was the job part of a special wartime organisation?
    - How women felt about the job. (Look for original sources or accounts by the women themselves)
    - What have historians said about this role?
    - Do the women workers’ views differ from the historians' opinions?


  • Female war worker in the hot seat: Use your research in a question-answer activity. Starting with the teacher's example, different members of the class answer questions from the perspective of a female munitions worker in WW1.

    This activity could be varied to include male workers and their responses to women working alongside them, or other members of the community, for instance a soldier whose wife is working in a factory.


  • Debate: Using the links below to articles on the gender pay gap in the UK, compile evidence and conduct a debate on this topic.


  • Design a badge for one of the other women's services in WW1. Use the link to below as a starting point to research the various women's organisations. Then, compare your designs with the real badges/emblems used by these groups. How are they different/similar?