Women drilling at Alexander Stephen & Son's Linthouse Shipyard, c 1916.
During the First World War, industries engaged on vital war contracts were faced with labour shortages as young men left to join the armed forces. Like other firms, shipbuilders such as Stephen recruited young women to do some of the work that had previously been reserved for skilled men.
The recruitment of women and unskilled men to perform tasks previously reserved for trained engineers and others caused friction with the trades unions, and Clydeside munitions industries were plagued by strikes. However, by the end of 1916 there were nearly 19,000 women employed in the munitions industries on Clydeside. Two years later, at the end of the war in 1918, the number had risen to more than 28,000 and represented more than half of all those engaged in the production of munitions in the area.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow University Archive Services
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