Women Hoeing at Arlesey House, 1917 [Z49/495]
Monday 20th March 1916: As the war has progressed women have entered many areas of employment for which before the war it was assumed they were not fitted. There are now women working on the railways, on the trams, in the postal service, carrying out bread and milk rounds, and employed in munitions factories. Despite these successes farmers continue to be prejudiced against the idea of employing women on the farm. It is apparent from the number of appeals received by the rural tribunals from farmers seeking exemption for their workers that the only way to meet the demand for labour will be by employing more women.
To achieve this, the Agricultural Education Committee of the County Council have introduced a scheme for the instruction and employment of women in light farm work. Each student will be sent to an approved farm for at least eight weeks. During the first four weeks she will be paid 10 shillings a week, subject to satisfactory service. During the second four weeks the farm will pay her 15 shillings a week. At the end of this training period the students will be free to make their own arrangements for the future. This scheme and its rates for pay will not apply to either hay-time or harvest, and hours of work must be approved by the Committee. Where possible, arrangements will be made for two or more women to work together on the same farm.
Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 17th March 1916; Bedfordshire Times, 24th March 1916