The Opposite Sex…


Male farm workers had not always been used to working with women. Men resented the way that women (and not even country women, but urban ones in most cases) were doing what they saw as ‘men’s work’. As Kramer writes, there was some inappropriate behaviour by men who sexually harassed girls, and in some cases even raped them. However, for some, gradually these barriers broke down, as women were learning from men the ‘tricks of the trade’ (such as spitting on their hands to prevent blisters and having the correct posture when removing weeds) and proving their competence on the land. By the end of the war, men and women were working side by side.

Nevertheless, men were not the only barrier to women settling into the community as often the local women were jealous of these young girls for a number of reasons:-

  • They resented the girls taking over their sons’/husbands’ jobs
  • Wives were jealous of the attention being cast upon these young girls
  • They felt threatened by the young, town girls

During the war, the Women’s Land Army was often referred to as the Cinderella Service. They did the hard work, but enjoyed none of the perks like women in the other services. Recounted in (Mant, 1994), some Land Girls went into an American NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) canteen, where they were turned away as they were not regarded as a proper force.