Before 1914, 'women's work' – usually domestic service – was seen as inferior to 'men's work'. Women were expected to give up their jobs once they got married and revert to their 'natural' roles as wives and mothers.

The outbreak of the First World War changed all of that. As most of the able-bodied men were overseas fighting in the trenches, women took on traditional male roles in areas such as arms manufacture. Propaganda posters urged women to 'do their bit' for the war effort.

first world war women
Circa 1916: Recruitment posters urge British women to work in munitions factoriesGetty

Between 1914 and 1918, more than a million women were added to the workforce in Britain, at least 600,000 of these in the industry sector.

The wages these women received were double what they could have made in domestic service, though still less than what men earned.

The Women's Land Army was created during the First World War, recruiting women to work in agriculture, replacing men who had been called up to the military.

first world war women
Circa 1916: British recruitment posters urge women to join the Land ArmyGetty

At the end of the war, women lost their jobs to returning soldiers, and gender stereotypes prevailed again – until 1939 and the outbreak of another world war.

In this gallery, IBTimesUK looks at some of the vital roles women played on the home front during the Great War.

first world war women
Circa 1915: A woman munitions worker operates a machine that makes shell cases in an armaments factory during the First World WarGetty
first world war women
1 March 1916: A British women's fire brigade takes the saluteGetty
first world war women
June 1916: Members of the Women's Reserve Ambulance Corps pose during World War OneGetty
first world war women
Circa 1916: Women work in a French munitions factoryGetty
first world war women
circa 1916: Members of the Women's Police Service pose during World War OneGetty
delivery
16 August 1916: A woman drives a delivery van pulled by a pair of horsesGetty
first world war land girls
19 April 1917: Women work at Cross Farm in Shackleton, SurreyGetty
first world war women
4 May 1917: Women war workers pull a truckload of boxes on the Midland Railway in Somerton, SomersetGetty
women navvies
Circa 1917: Female labourers push loaded wheel barrows on a construction site in CoventryGetty
first world war women
22 May 1918: Women forestry workers have their lunch sitting on a pile of logsGetty
first world war women
11 June 1918: Women workers at the Gas Light and Coke Company at Bromley By Bow, London, serve tea on top of a gasometerGetty