The Mobilisation of Women in Wartime

29th January 2019

Commemorate the role of women in wartime with unique footage from IWM's collection

As International Women’s Day approaches, we take a look at the changing roles of women in the twentieth century as reflected in the IWM film collection. From the novelty of women wearing trousers to the idea that women can drive as well as men, our showreel highlights the social progression of women through the lens of war and conflict. 

If you need help sourcing archive footage for a project please contact the media licensing team

Showreel sequences

Section 1.  This clip shows various aspects of women’s war work, challenging prejudices. Mrs John Bull Prepared, 1918IWM 521

Section 2. The successful attempt by a Scottish postwoman to wear trousers. Worker and War-Front Magazine issue 12, 1944: UKY 812

Section 3. Short item produced by the Ministry of Food to convey information on rationing. Food Flash, 1942: COI 1089

Section 4. Looking at women’s work on the Great Western Railway. Women at War, 1945: BTF 405

Section 5. The benefits of civilians keeping fit during wartime, with an emphasis on ‘grace and poise’. Fitness for Service, 1941: UKY 267


Section 6.
 A recruitment film for the Women’s Royal Naval Service, showing how glamorous life can be. Best of Both Worlds, 1971: ADM 2636


Section 7.
A recruitment film for the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF), showing a variety of roles.  A Matter of Choice, 1965: COI 306