chapter
Introduction
Pages 14

The authors of a report made to the Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) in 1934 were right - the industry predominantly employed m en and it continued to do so. At its peacetime height in 1946, only a fifth of the workforce was female. In terms of wom en’s employment as a whole, engineering accounted for only a minority of workers. In 1900 most women worked in either domestic service, textiles or garm ent making. Later they worked mainly in the white collar and service industries. No more than 3 per cent of all women in the major occupational groups worked in the engineering indus­ try.2 Numerically small, female employment was not insignificant however. After 1919, women and girls made up an increasing share of the workforce in the industry’s fastest growing and most productive sector - the ‘new’ industries of electrical goods, light engineering and vehicles.