From Factory to Frontline

the changing face of women in the armed forces

From Factory to Frontline

Women are not secondary. Women are not supporting. Women are integral.

This International Women's Day let's challenge perceptions of women's roles in the armed forces. 

Throughout history women have been a vital part of our armed forces, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. Though their roles have changed over time, their contribution has remained crucial. We've collected stories of the incredible and varied forces work undertaken by women. Help us to celebrate their efforts by reading and sharing. Let's make some noise for our Sisters in Arms.

I'll see what an ordinary English girl, without credentials or money can accomplish.
Dorothy Lawrence posed as 'Private Denis Smith' and headed for the front line in WW1

Women in WW1: She is Revolutionary

How times change: She is Evolving

WW2: She is Unstoppable

Despite their pioneering contribution, at the end of WW1 the Women’s uniformed services were disbanded as men returned home from the front line. But the ambitions and perceptions of women were changed forever. 

WW1 proved that women could do the jobs of men, and do it just as well.

At the outbreak of WW2 society was ready and keen to accept the service of women in the forces. Women were immediately conscripted, with the choice of working in industry or joining one of the auxiliary services.

Breaking Code, Breaking Boundaries

June worked at top secret Bletchley Park alongside top mathematical code-breaking minds of WW2. She contributed to the interception and interpretation of German code, work of the uttermost secrecy and importance in the British war effort. 

New Opportunities: She is Ambitious

Women were officially recognised as part of the armed forces in 1949.

Since then, thanks to their strength, determination and resiliance, women have broken down the barriers to a wealth of roles and opportunites that were previously only thought to be the work of men.

On the Frontline: She is Fearless

Since 2016, women have been allowed to serve in close combat roles in the Army, with women being expected to meet the same fitness levels as men. The perception of women in the armed forces will continue to progress and develop as they prove again and again how vital their contribution is to keeping us safe.