PART 2. Documentary covering changes in women's lives and status between l890 and 1930.
Reel 2 continued. Check Copyright for material used in this documentary.
Reel 2."Cleaning was traditionally a woman's chore" states the narrator and we see various shots of women at work cleaning shop windows, railway engines (good C/U of two women cleaning wheels of a steam train), railway carriages etc. "...but as more and more men enlisted, women found themselves taking over more responsible positions. Various shots of women at work including guards on trains and ticket inspectors - good shot of woman checking tickets of lots of military personnel - some of this footage is Ministry of Information material. Tram approaches the camera, two women conductresses had been taken on by the Glasgow Municipal Tramways. This experiment had been successful. We see a woman conductress go to the back and front of the tram to change the overhead electric arm. Woman conductress seen on a London bus - a male passenger pays his fare and takes a ticket. Punch cartoon - a woman conductress on a "women's suffrage bus" helps Mr Asquith aboard saying, "Come along sir, better late than never."
Two high angle shots of women on a factory production line making gas masks. Women aviation workers help to prepare aircraft for flights - good shots. Narrator talks of the new emancipation of women. Over a shot of woman performing a repetitive factory job the narrator states: "...some girls might have argued whether they felt liberated or enslaved."
High angle shot of a demonstration demanding votes for women in 1916 led by Sylvia Pankhurst. The procession was also demonstrating against women receiving less wages than men for the same job. Various shots of the demonstration. Mrs Pankhurst (Sylvia's mother) had become a fervent nationalist and is shown making a speech on the government's foreign policy to a large crowd in Trafalgar Square.
Food shortages. Image of women queuing to buy food at a vegetable stall. Ministry of Information film called "A New Version" is shown. Intertitle reads "Come into the Garden, Maud..." M/S of woman wearing a large hat and tea dress looking out of a lounge room window. Her husband is working hard in the garden, he beckons to her to join him after wiping his brow. She turns away. "I'm sick of this old war. I wish there was something decent to do." She goes into the garden looking bored and fed up. "Well, you've spoilt the lawn it took us all that time to make" says she. The husband replies "Shouldn't we be a bit ashamed of our lawn, dear, if we knew that people were starving for want of the food we might have grown?" Image of the husband and wife dissolves into an image of a mother and her two hungry dishevelled children. The children both cry. The woman shrugs and walks off. "That Evening." The wife helps her husband in the garden. "And the moral is that one is happier doing useful work than loafing around in drawing rooms."
Footage of girls of the land army marching through a city street on a recruitment drive. They hold large banners asking for volunteers. "Come Girls, Sign On - Land Women's fair recruiting sergeant addressing London business girls." A land army volunteer stands on platform making a speech. Narrator states that there were still thousands of women who believed that loafing around in drawing rooms was the only proper activity for a lady. Special films were made in an attempt to change this attitude.
M/S of a lady of leisure lazing on a sofa in a drawing room setting. Another woman comes in and looks at the curtains. "Time hangs heavily on their hands." reads the intertitle. [I think the film may have been called "Women's Land Army" made by Broadwest Films.] One of the women opens a letter which is sitting on the table, it is from her "affectionate brother Harry" who writes of how much the men at war think of the women at home who are doing something for the war effort. "..if you two have not already joined something, do so at once..." he urges. "They decide to join the women who are helping so much." M/S of a group of women lined up. L/S of land army girls working in a field. Various shots of women doing agricultural work, gathering fruit, feeding animals, etc: taking on jobs "that before the war would have been considered degrading even perhaps impossible for a woman to handle." After a shot of two women herding cattle an intertitle reads: "Women are no longer Afraid of Cows." Good shots of a female fire fighting team, they line up in front of the fire station then we see shots of them in training. Ministry of Information footage of the women's Police Service (ironically including many ex-suffragettes)
Pathe Gazette item: "A lady teacher instructs convalescent Tommies the art of Motor Car driving." Various shots of the woman showing the men how to start a car. A woman in uniform is handed something and the men all gathered around her give three cheers and wave their hats and arms in the air.
Intertitle bears a message from D. Lloyd George. "The Prime Minister's Message to the Women of this Film: "The Women of Britain have shown that they can share the hardships of the War...All recognise that a share in the hardship means a share in the triumph."
Over shots of men in the trenches voiceover speaks of the scandal of the number of men fighting for the country who were not able to vote. Revision of the franchise to allow fighting men to vote also led to women being able to vote. C/U of section of the "Representation of the People Act of 1918." Lists the voting rules for women of thirty years and above. M/S of group of men in uniform celebrating the signing of the Armistice by dancing around in a circle holding hands and dancing with each other. High angle shot of crowds of people in Trafalgar Square (?)
Footage of people surrounding a polling booth in Plymouth. Women were allowed to stand for parliament from 1919. M/S of candidates drawing up to the polling booth including Lady Nancy Astor. Footage of Lady Astor at a hospital talking to the babies. Voiceover of one of her speeches. Montage of shots of Lady Astor speaking to various groups of people. On soundtrack she speaks of how Winston Churchill had told her that she had given a remarkable performance when she entered Parliament and how they had hoped to "freeze her out".
Pathe Gazette item: "Our 8 Lady M.P.'s Photographed together for first time at the House of Commons." 1924 - panning shot of the eight women. Margaret (Maggie) Bondfield became the first women Cabinet Minister in 1929 (this shot probably from G1614).
Topical Budget footage of the interior of a dance hall. Cameraman and special light are seen in silhouette in foreground of the picture. M/S of the band on the balcony. Shots of the couples dancing. Narrator speaks of the "gay twenties when women were on a much more equal footing with men."
1924 - an infant welfare centre is shown, women push prams and lead children up steps into the centre. Shot of a woman doctor examining a baby. The centres were set up to educate women on how to bring up healthy children. Camera pans across group of babies. Narrator speaks of changes since Victorian times when subjects such as sex were taboo and "Family Planning" did not exist.
Still photograph of Marie Stopes - pioneer of birth control. C/U of a leaflet advertising "The Mothers' Clinic - the first Birth Control Clinic in the British Empire." Still image of front of a Mothers' Clinic. Panning shot of group of girls sitting at desks getting an education at the Mothers' Clinic.
Sport - various shots of female tennis players. Victorian women could not show their legs - contrast with Suzanne Lenglen one of the post war heroines of post war emancipated women. Montage of shots showing sporting women: cricket players, rowers, shot putters, athletes etc. Women at work: a typist. The new independent woman of the 20s is seen smoking cigarettes, mixing paint, painting a wall, and relaxing with a cup of tea after their hard work. 1928 - all women over 21 were given the right to vote. L/S of group of women M.P.s (?) outside the Houses of Parliament. Film ends with the narrator stating: "Even today, discrimination against women continues."
Credits. Historical Advisor - Arthur Marwick, Professor of History, the Open University. Film Research - Lisa Pontecorvo. Written and Produced by Richard Dunn. The Producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of: Pathe Film Library, National Film Archive, Imperial War Museum, Visnews, Movietone Film Library, Normans Film Service, Scottish Film Council, BBC Sound Archive, The Suffragette Fellowship, The Fawcett Society, Slade Film Department, University College, London, University of Sussex, British Universities Film Council.
The song "Your King & Country Need You" was reproduced from the film "Oh What a Lovely War" by permission of Paramount Records.
Produced and Distributed by EMI Special Films Unit.
London © 1970.
Note: 16mm mute neg and track neg exist for reels 1 & 2. Also section exists (not checked).