A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46



What do women feel about the Control of Employment order for women in the 20-30 age groups?

Questions asked; “Do you know that in certain circumstances women may be directed, that is compelled, to do particular jobs? What do you think about this?”

A little less than half of the women answer with an unconditional “Yes”, approving compulsory direction.

Should women be directed into war work?
No. %
Yes 1234 46
Conditional yes 738 27
No 368 14
No opinion 343 13
Sample 2683 100

There are no group differences whatsoever on this question.

People argue in detail:

(Yes) “I think it is a good idea - all helps to win the war.” “It settles the question for hesitant people and also gets people who would otherwise avoid working”. “As a means of transferring people from luxury trades into more essential work”. “Women should do the same as men - be ready to go where they are told like men.” “Yes, in a way”. “Lots can do it, but don’t”.

(Conditional “Yes”) “Providing the woman will be suitable and happy in the job she is transferred to.” “Providing there are not ties and the individual circumstances are looked into.” “Age limits should be extended.” “If it is used with great care.”

(No) “Probably it involves a lot of pushing square pegs in round holes, thus involving trouble with a discontented woman who don’t do their best.” “Women’s place is in the home.” “Compulsion all wrong.” “Not women with children.”

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