Source and activity 7

Agreement relating to women's pay, 1918

Detail from a pay agreement by Edinburgh Typographical Society
Women's pay agreement document.
[NLS reference: Acc.4068/42]
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This document relates to female employees of the Edinburgh Typographical Society.

It set outs an agreement relating to women's pay during the First World War.

The document is reproduced here with the kind permission of Unite.

Women in industry

At the outbreak of war, women were already working in the printing industry but were generally employed in unskilled and lower paid roles.

As the war progressed, and the number of available male workers continued to diminish, women came to be employed in roles traditionally filled by men across industries in Scotland.

Pay and conditions

Women working in roles left vacant by enlisted men were not guaranteed the same wage, although this agreement confirms that women readers will be paid the same as the standard male minimum rate.

The employment of women in roles such as these was reversed after the war, as men returning from active service were re-employed.

Suggested activities

Look at this agreement about workers' pay and conditions which was drawn up shortly before the end of the war.

According to this document, why was the decision made to pay Women Readers at the same rate as men? 

Look at the fifth item. What does it suggest will happen to women workers when men return from Active Service? Where will the priority be given, in terms of jobs?


Themes in focus — Women in the Great War


Find out more about women in the First World War in NLS collections

Search our catalogue for details of books about women's role in the First World War.


View list of material relating to Mairi Chisholm (PDF: 56 KB; 2 pages) in the military and naval papers collections at NLS.


Explore our web feature 'Experiences of War' web feature based on diaries and first-hand accounts.


View official photographs of the First World War .


Learn about the women's suffrage movement in Scotland in our online learning resource.


Visit Scotland on Screen to find film clips relating to the First World War and women at work.

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