Propaganda: Shaping the Gender Role of British Women In World War One


Rachel Brown

Faculty Mentor(s)

Christopher Schedler (English)


This presentation will address how propaganda altered the gender role of women in Great Britain during World War One (WWI). Often overlooked for their contributions, the women who worked to directly support the war effort on both the home and war fronts were inspired by propaganda that helped to define the role of women in wartime. Not only is WWI often overlooked within the study of war literature, but also the roles and perspectives of women during that time is under researched within the realm of literary study. This presentation analyzes several propaganda posters targeted at women during WWI, and utilizes a gender theory approach to highlight how propaganda both defined and constrained the gendered expectations of women. By examining the propaganda of the time, this presentation reveals that women were crucial to the war effort, and by serving their country through war work, the gendered role of women was altered forever. The larger implication of this study is illuminating the impact that propaganda had then and now on the structuring of gender roles, as well as the need for new research on the diverse literature of WWI, including the work of Evadne Price and Mary Borden, wherein female authors and characters are the focus.

Keywords: Propaganda, Women, World War One


3 thoughts on “Propaganda: Shaping the Gender Role of British Women In World War One”

  1. Christopher Schedler

    Hi Rachel,
    You discuss how the propaganda distributed during WWI made a call-out to women to enlist in the war effort. Did any of your research sources provide evidence that the propaganda contributed directly to the enlistment of women in war work on the home front and/or the war front?
    Dr. Schedler

    1. Hello Dr. Sadler,

      Well none of my sources give any direct number to enlistment from propaganda, propaganda was one of the main driving force of enlistment during the war. Many of these companies printed their same propaganda posters and several languages and countries, as the message and drive to enlist was someone universal.

  2. Excellent work, Rachel! This is such a fascinating topic. I was especially intrigued by the way that the religious iconography portrayed women as martyrs for their contribution to the cause.

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