A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46



Do women feel that in general the exchanges do take notice of special qualifications and place them in the war jobs to which they are best fitted?

Questions asked: Do you consider you have any special qualifications? Were you offered work in which you could use these special qualifications? Did you express preferences for any special work? Were your preferences considered?

Do you consider you have special qualifications?

Yes No Total
No. No. No.
Housewives 51 52 103
Factory 14 34 48
Clerical 19 4 23
Distributive 17 13 30
Managerial or professional 9 6 15
Domestic Service 14 17 31
Independent 10 20 30
Full-time voluntary work (C.D., W.V.S., Y.M.C.A) 4 - 4
Total 138 146 284
49% 51% 100%

Among the clericals are the greatest number who think that they have special qualifications which could be used in the war effort. Also more than half of the distributive, and the managerial and professional groups think so. Two-thirds of the factory workers think they have no special qualifications, but half of the housewives imagine they have. Very often these qualifications refer back to their occupation before marriage.

Only 22 out of the 138 who consider that they have special qualifications had their qualifications considered. This figure is so small that neither occupational nor area break-downs were possible.

How this fact was accepted, resentfully or otherwise, is not possible for us to judge. It is certain that a number of women, especially housewives, who said they had special qualifications, had in mind knowledge and aptitudes they had before marriage, and did not themselves take their statement very seriously. It was different with clericals, as many were afraid of being sent back to a factory, which they had often only just escaped, and disliked.

Asked whether they had a preference for any special war work, 92 (33%) said that they had such preferences, and out of these 66 (72%) were of the opinion that their preferences were considered.

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