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Women In Front - A Public Art Exhibition of Women's Work in WW1 Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th September 2017, 11am-4pm

Women In Front - public art exhibition commemorates the contribution of women to the war effort at home and at the front in the First World War. As the war progressed with mounting casualties and the introduction of conscription, over 1 million women were employed for the first time in occupations previously reserved for men. Over 1.6 million women worked in domestic service were now given the opportunity to move into better-paid employment.

In March 1917, the Women’s War Work Subcommittee was formed to collect materials covering the contribution of women to the war effort for a National War Museum. The subcommittee commissioned photographers Horace Nicholls, George Parnham Lewis, and Olive Edlis (covering France) to record the work undertaken by women, this culminated in an exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1918, attracting 82,000 visitors.

100 years later, Women In Front through the artworks on display, tells the stories of women’s lives before the war, their war work, and what happened to them afterwards. Nicky Scott-Francis explores the working lives of munitionettes, whilst Jill Rock concentrates on their achievements in the Women’s Football League, with Jolanta Jagiello covering the employment of female police constables to control their rowdy out-of-work behaviour. Sara Scott focuses on postal workers and Monica Wheeler on bus conductors, one of the few professions still open to women after the war, improving the working conditions of women.
Elizabeta Chojak-Mysko and Louse Kosinska tell the stories of women who had to disguise themselves as men to achieve their ambitions, whether as doctors to run a hospital for wounded soldiers or to take their pastime of flying to turn themselves into combat pilots.

The exhibition funded by Southwark Council Neighbourhood Fund is in the Chapel, Ladywell Cemetery (Ladywell Road, SE13 7HY) on Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th September 2017, 11am-4pm, as part of National Cemeteries Week under the auspices of the National Federation of Cemetery Friends.

Guided walk on Sunday 10th September 2pm-3.30pm linking with the theme of the exhibition.  Meet at the Ladywell Chapel