A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46



Do women feel that the registration procedure is too curt and official, or that facilities should be available on registration day for discussing the possibilities of war work?

Questions asked: Have you any questions that you would like to have discussed when registered instead of waiting until the interview? Did you want to discuss propects of war work when you registered? (If yes). Were you able to?

19% of those who had not registered would prefer to ask a question at registration and not wait for the interview.

Would like to ask question:

No. %
Yes 169 19
No 656 75
Don’t know 53 6
Total 878 100

Working women and women not working differ slightly on this points. 10% of the working women and 19.4% of the women not working would like to discuss questions. No class or age differences appear.

Those who want to ask questions on registration day instance the following questions they would like to ask:-

No. %
Questions on exemption 74 44
Details of most essential work in the locality 36 21
Would like to state preferences 21 12
Possibilities of part-time work 19 11
Possibilities of keeping own job 13 8
How long before interview and call-up 6 4
169 100

Women who had already registered were asked the same question (whether they had wished to ask a question on registration day); only 9% said that they had wished to do so. That is less than half the number of those who had not registered. An explanation for this difference might be that a number, who before registration had wanted to ask a question, had felt satisfied with the situation during registration, and had at the time of the interview already forgotten their original wish.

Among the registered women also, a slightly greater number (10.7%) of working women compared with 7.5% of women not working expressed the wish to discuss a question at registration time.

The women who wanted to discuss problems were asked whether they were able to do so. About half said that they had an opportunity.

Were you able to discuss prospects of war work when you registered?

Working Not working Total
% % %
Yes 51 35 43
No 49 65 57
Total 100 100 100
Sample 55 54 109

Working women were better able to get the information they wanted; this may indicate that a certain number of women did not get answers because they did not dare to ask and that the women not working were more afraid of the Labour Exchange than those already working and used to the Exchange. Alternatively, experience of work may help in formulating questions clearly.

To what extent this “Taking courage” is dependent on the interviewing officer was not easy for us to estimate, as the figures broken down by area are extremely small. The following table must be taken for what it is worth.

Were you able to discuss war work on registration day?

Yes No.
No. No.
Scotland 11 12
North England 10 20
Midlands 9 10
Wales 2 4
South England 7 4
London 8 13
Total 47 63

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