The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has released an online collection of photographs showing the role of women in World War I and their impact on the Women’s Rights Movement of the early 20th century.
As stated in NARA’s Unwritten Records Blog:
At the outset of World War I in 1914 women were not allowed to serve in the military. They were not even allowed to vote nationwide. Prior to the U.S. entering the war, most women were relegated to domestic life as wives or servants. Some worked in textile manufacturing, retail, government, and education. Many wanted more and saw the war as an opportunity for women to prove their worth. The suffragist movement was in full swing as tensions with Germany escalated following the sinking of the passenger ship RMS Lusitania in 1915 and the interception of the Zimmerman Telegram in 1917. The United States entered the war in 1917, immediately drafting nearly 3 million men into military service and drawing unprecedented numbers of women into the workforce.
Women on the Home Front
As men were drafted into service in record numbers, women were called upon to fill their roles in factories. While their work was especially important in munitions factories, women played a vital role in industrial output building airplanes, cars, and ships.
The blog article is available at http://unwritten-record.blogs.archives.gov/2016/03/22/women-in-world-war-i-in-photographs/ while the photographs are from 165-WW, American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs, 1917-1918 at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/533461. Please note that this is a “work in progress,” meaning that the images are presently being digitized and placed online. The work is not yet complete.