In Scotland, before the outbreak of World War One, women's roles were primarily restricted to domestic work, the textile industry, agriculture, the clothing trade, food and drink, teaching and nursing.


The Great War impacted greatly on women’s employment prospects. As more and more men volunteered or subsequently were conscripted into the armed forces, women were called upon to fill their roles in factories, transportation services, the coal industry, fire services, law enforcement and in many other jobs traditionally carried out by the men. By far the biggest employer of women was the munitions industry.


Women also took up employment on the railways as porters and guards, on the tramways as conductors, in the rubber industry, banking and commerce.


Women were enlisted into Auxiliary Armies, so that the men could be released to fight on the front line. Women who joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps - which later became known as Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps - were largely employed on tasks such as cooking and catering, store keeping, clerical work, telephonists and administration, printing, motor vehicle maintenance, and became truck and ambulance drivers.


There was a significant rise in the voluntary movement with women enlisting as ward maids, ambulance drivers, volunteer nurses, making and supplying comforts for the troops, fundraising and entertainment.


The opportunity to work, particularly in occupations traditionally occupied by men was a liberating experience for many women. However, as men returned home from the war, jobs were required for ex-servicemen and women returned to their more traditional roles.

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