Once upon a time a woman’s place was in the home.
However World War One changed all of that as these photos from the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museum collection show.
Across the North East, women stepped up to fill the roles traditionally held by men.
From postwomen to fire fighters, as shown in this picture, a world of employment opportunities which had been shut off to women were suddenly a possibility.
Janette Bell, a volunteer at Discovery Museum who curated these images said: “It is well known that during World War One so many working-age men were called up that women had to be recruited to fill many roles in traditionally male environments for the duration of the conflict.”
During the war the majority of women living in Tyne and Wear headed to the munitions factories to ‘do their bit’ for the war effort.
And like their male equivalents before them, the female factory workers turned to football to let off steam.
This photograph shows an unknown team who competed for the coveted Munitionettes Cup in a regional league.
While most young women worked on the assembly lines, one woman, Rachel Parsons who lived from 1885 to 1956 stepped into a management role. The daughter of industrialist Charles Parsons and leading suffragette Rachel was one of the first women ever to study mechanical science at Cambridge.
When her brother left for war she took his place on the board of directors at the Parsons’ Marine Steam Turbine Company Works in Heaton, before leading calls for equal employment rights for women.
Of course the poorest women in society have never been shielded from the realities of work, as this photo of fishwives of a quayside show.
Thought to have been taken in the late 19th century when the fishing industry peaked, the woman, dressed in their long skirts and shawls lived a hard life.
“This was a tough way to earn a living – not for the timid – and at least some of these women must have been quite lively characters,” Janette said.
Pictured here is one of the most famous Tyneside fishwife, Dolly Peal who lived from 1782 to 1857.
The famous South Shields character was also a smuggler and a poet, and even stowed away on Navy ships with her husband.
A statue of her, representing the resilience of local women, stands on River Drive in South Shields.
Source : Chroniclelive