A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46



1. We are making an inquiry to find what people are thinking about the Women’s Services (the W.A.A.F., A.T.S., W.R.N.S., etc.) From your knowledge of those Services, would you advise any relative or acquaintance to join, or advise them not to join?

W.A.A.F. A.T.S W.R.N.S. Others
Would advise joining 1 1 1 1
Would advise against joining 2 2 2 2
Don’t know 3 3 3 3

2. If you have an objection to one or more of these services, what is the objection?

3. Have you a relative or acquaintance who might be suitable for these Services?

Yes 1

No 2

Comments :

Age Group
M 1 AA 1 20 - 1 Investigator
W 2 A 2 25 - 2 Town
B 3 30 - 3 Street
C 4 35 - 4 Date
D 5 45 - 5
55 - 6

Name of Informant........................... No. of House in Street...............


Opinions of relations, friends and acquaintances about the Women’s Services





Proportion advising against joining the A.T.S. as compared with other services

Question 1. We are making an enquiry to find what people are thinking about the Women’s Services (The W.A.A.F., A.T.S., W.R.N.S., etc.) From your knowledge of these Services, would you advise any relative or acquaintance to join, or advise them not to join?

Analysis of Total Replies

Answers to Question I. W.A.A.F. A.T.S W.R.N.S. Others
1. Would advise joining 56% 52% 56% 53%
2. Would advise against joining 14% 19% 12% 12%
3.Don’t know 27% 26% 29% 33%
Would not influence either way 3% 3% 3% 3%
Not answered 21 23 22 41
Total interviews 546 546 546 546

This Table shows that although a proportion of people would advise girls against joining the A.T.S., the proportion, while significant, is not unduly large compared with the other Services.

It is certainly not so bad as the picture projected by the A.T.S. themselves when asked what they thought was the opinion of the general public.


Opinions of relations, friends and acquaintances about the Women’s Services

It has been suggested by an examination of the A.T.S. remarks that men, particularly men in the armed forces have a poor opinion of the A.T.S. No specific investigation of the Service men’s attitude was undertaken in this survey, but the following is an analysis of the above Table by sex.

Analysis of Replies by Sex

Answers to Question 1. W.A.A.F. A.T.S W.R.N.S. Others
Women Men Women Men Women Men Women Men
1. Would advise joining 58% 50% 53% 41% 57% 51% 55% 45%
2. Would advise against joining 14% 18% 16% 28% 11% 16% 11% 13%
3.Don’t know 26% 29% 25% 29% 29% 30% 31% 39%
4.Would not influence either way 3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3% 3%
Not answered 15 6 20 3 11 6 28 13
Total interviews 423 123 425 121 417 129 425 121

The difference between the proportion of men and women advising their girl or women relatives or friends against joining the A.T.S. (Women = 16%; Men = 28%) is statistically significant, and it can be said that the civilian man is rather more biased against the A.T.S. than the civilian woman. This prejudice, it will be seen, is not peculiar to the A.T.S. It is evidenced with every Service.

It was thought that a clearer picture would probably be obtained if the results were broken down by (a) those who were directly concerned in the matter, by virtue of having a daughter, or other relative, or acquaintance who was suitable for and could join a Service, and (b) those who were not so directly concerned, in other words, by reference to the replies to question 3 of the questionnaire.

The result of so analysing the data is given in the following Table. The surprising fact emerges that as far as the A.T.S. is concerned there is no difference between the two sets of persons.

Analysis of Replies by the answers, to Question 3 .

1. Have relative or acquaintance suitable for Services.

2. Have no relative or acquaintance suitable for Services.

Answers to Question 1 W.A.A.F. A.T.S W.R.N.S. Others
1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2
1. Would advise joining 57% 58% 52% 51% 52% 61% 50% 56%
2. Would advise against joining 13% 12% 18% 19% 14% 9% 13% 10%
3.Don’t know 26% 28% 26% 28% 14% 29% 33% 32%
Would not influence either way 4% 1% 4% 2% 4% 1% 4% 2%
Not answered 10 9 10 9 6 8 17 23
Total interviews 304 212 303 208 305 209 305 201
25 26 27

Objections to and appreciation of the Women’s Services

Question 2. I f you have Question 2. If you have any objection to one or more of these Services, what is the objection?

Although the question was put in this way, a direct question dealing with the objections to the service or services as dealt with in Question 1, a great number of people stated no Objection, but offered an appreciation of individual services, or of all Services. The objections and comments under this heading have been analysed as follows:-

1. Objections to individual services 23.3 56.3%
2. Objections to all services 20.0
3. Comments on call-up 13.0%
4. Appreciation of Services 43.7%

The objections and appreciations are detailed as follows:-


Unspecified objections to A.T.S. 3 8.4%
Ought not use cosmetics so much 1
A.T.S. have bad reputation and a good deal to live down 21
Loose behaviour in A.T.S., A.T.S. are rough, untidy and common and only keen on getting to the men 16
Bad selection of girls; mixed types of girls; girls should be graded as it is not nice for well-brought up girls to mix with those who drink and swear 16 3.2%
There is insufficient supervision of girls and more provision should be made for the girls' leisure 21 4.3%
Not enough variety of work and no chance of using capacities 18 3.6%
Unspecified objections to W.A.A.Fs and loose behaviour in W.A.A.F.; W.A.A.Fs are a bad type 9 1.8%
Unspecified objection to W.R.N.S. 4 .8
Bad attitude of service men towards A.T.S. 4 .8
Miscellaneous 2 .4
115 23.3%

Miscellaneous objections were that the Officers and N.C.Os were unsuitable, that officers drink too much and that there was dislike of girls acting as batmen to male officers.


The services, particularly the A.T.S. have a brutalising effect on women 19 3.8%
Young girls should not be sent far away; girls who are used to staying at home should go into reserved occupations
Pay is too low; I cannot do without my daughter’s help; there should ample dependants’ allowances 14 2.8%
War work and munitions in factories or office is better for girls than the services 13 2.6%
Uniform tends to loss of individuality and femininity 12 2.4%
Unspecified objections to all services 11 2.2%
No woman should be called up until the men have gone; woman should be trained for civil jobs to release men for the armed forces 8 1.6%
Broken promises; services do not give women promised jobs; promotion is slow, unfair and shows too much class distinction 7 1.4%
We don’t want women to become masculine; I don’t want to find my girl in uniform when on leave 5 1.0%
The organisation of the services is bad 4 .8%
Miscellaneous 7 1.4%
100 20.0%

Miscellaneous: Statements were made that there is not enough work to do in the Services, that there was no privacy, that girls are too much herded, and that if all women refused to do war work and to join the services the war would soon be over.


Conscription should be introduced forthwith; women will be found sufficiently patriotic 24 5.0%
Long delay between registration and calling-up is unsettling for girls 9 1.8%
The publicity about services is insufficient; girls are ignorant of what service life is really like 8 1.6%
Trained assistants and professional people should not be called up while there are still suitable women unemployed. Women are more useful where they are. 7 1.4%
Should make more use of married women or older women; should give married women part time work: should take married women without ties, especially childless married women 5 1.0%
Women’s war work is badly managed 5 1.0%
Miscellaneous 6 1.2%
64 13.0%

Miscellaneous. Remarks included the statement that high wages for unskilled girls in Government Department, etc., are keeping women out of the Services- that local services should be introduced or extended so that girls could remain at home-that the calling up is unequal, is unfair and shows too much class distinction.


All services are excellent, well spoken of and seem contented 65 13.2%
The W.A.A.F. is an excellent service. are well spoken of and seem contented 25 5.1%
The A.T.S. is an excellent service, are well spoken of and seem contented 18 3.6%
The W.R.N.S. is an excellent service, are well spoken of and seem contented 16 3.2%
Services are a healthy life for girl and tend to broaden her outlook 17 3.4%
Girls should do their share the same as boys and should go where most needed 55 11.1%
One service is as good as another 12 2.4%
Miscellaneous 8 1.6%
216 =43.7%

Miscellaneous: The comments were; the tone of the Services is far better than that of the factory - the chances of promotion are better in the A.T.S. for the better girls since most girls in the A.T.S. appear to be of a lower standard. - and one person stated that she liked the idea of women batmen for male officers (to counter-balance the remark under “Objections to Individual Services.”)

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