'... I felt damned embarrassed when I walked into a pub ... one girl forestalled me saying, "You keep your money Corporal. This is on us", and with no more ado she … produced a roll of notes big enough to choke a cow. Many of the girls earned ten times my pay as a full Corporal ...Lyn Macdonald, 1914-18, Voices and Images of the Great War
After the introduction of conscription in March 1916, the government encouraged women to take the place of male employees who had been released from their normal occupations to serve at the front. Whereas in July 1914, 212,000 women worked in engineering and munitions, by 1918 the total was nearly a million.
The attractions were higher wages, better conditions and greater independence. Few would return to the poor wages and conditions of domestic service if they could possibly help it. The fact that some Home Front jobs were dangerous provided a further bond with men serving at the front. However, there were several spectacular accidents in the munitions factories, for example, and around 400 women died from overexposure to TNT whilst handling shells during the war.