Clare Wightman explores the key issue of gender in explaining the experience of men and women at work. She uses women's employment in the engineering industries between 1900 and 1950 to confront many of the contentious debates in women's history. She shows that the two World Wars did not produce radical changes for women at work. Throughout the book the author questions the leading role given to gender ideology in constructing the attitudes of employers, and suggests that it was only one factor among many which shaped women's experiences in the workplace. This is a major study with wide and challenging implications for the subject.
Women's employment, 1900-1950; the engineering industry, 1900-1950; World War I - munitions work and its impact, 1914-1919; women's employment between the wars; disputes - the significance of collective bargaining, 1919-1939; "a specialized line" - women and trade unions, 1919-1939; World War II - dilution, "an arrangement for men"?; would women stay? the effects of war work; post-war divisions of labour.