Rising to the Challenge – Women in a World at War

23 September 2018 | Liz Robertson

On Friday 28th September, join St Helen’s Church, High Street, Worcester for a screening of three short films reflecting on the role of women in the First World War.

Prior to 1914, the role of women was typically confined to homemaking and raising children.  The suffragette movement was growing in strength and numbers, but it was the outbreak of war on 4th August 1914 and the 4 years of bloodshed that followed, that dramatically changed the lives of thousands of women.  The huge numbers of men serving in the armed forces meant there was a desperate shortage of manpower in many jobs that had once been the sole domain of male employees.  With the ever-growing casualty lists, women rose to the challenge of covering jobs where, in many instances, the previous employee would never return.

During the war and beyond, women worked in a variety of areas proving that they could do the job as well as any man.  Most people today are aware of women working as nurses or ‘munitionettes’ during WW1 but the range of jobs taken up by women extended far wider including farming, railways, the civil service and in shops and post offices.  Women doctors and surgeons such as Louisa Garrett Anderson, Flora Murray and Elsie Inglis were able to set up military hospitals overseas and use their skills to treat thousands of casualties.  The first ever woman police constable, Mrs Edith Smith, with the powers of arrest was sworn in during December 1915 in Grantham Lincolnshire.

To commemorate the role of women during WW1, Imperial War Museums have released three short films detailing how the war changed the lives of thousands of women:

“Deeds not Words: The Suffragette Surgeons of WW1”

“Nurses in WW1”

“The War Women of England: Land Workers”

The films will be screened between 12-2pm on Friday 28th September, at St Helen’s Church, High Street, Worcester.

St Helen’s has a long and fascinating history as one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in the city and following the films volunteer guides will be available to show visitors around this beautiful church.

Admission is free. Refreshments will be available for a donation.

For further information please contact: stella@allsaintsworcester.org.uk and see the events listing here

Part of the First World War Centenary Partnership’s WomensWork100 programme: find out more