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The home front

“The long years of struggle for the Enfranchisement of Women… had done much to educate women … had shown them new possibilities in themselves, and had inspired them with confidence in each other” Dr Flora Murray, 1919

The Endell Street Military Hospital in Covent Garden was the first to be staffed entirely by women. Opened in 1915 by Dr Flora Murray and Dr Louise Garrett Anderson, who had founded the Women's Hospital Corps and successfully run two military hospitals in France over the winter of 1914, the Endell Street Hospital proudly adopted the WSPU motto ‘Deeds Not Words'. Women were also becoming more visible as medical professionals on the streets. By 1916 the London County Council Ambulance Corps was staffed entirely by women.

Suffrage campaigners were involved in fundraising to help injured service personnel at home and abroad. Patriotic appeals were made invoking the name of women such as British nurse Edith Cavell, who had been executed in 1915 for helping Allied soldiers escape occupied Belgium. The British Women's Hospital Fund, founded by the Actresses' Franchise League, received donations from women's organisations across the world and raised £150,000, three times the amount they originally wanted, to set up the Star and Garter home in Richmond.

Over a million additional women entered into paid employment over the course of the war. Women workers in a number of different industries, including transport, munitions, and manufacturing were encouraged by suffrage campaigners to make their voices heard, and many went on strike to agitate for equal pay for equal work, as well as for better and safer working conditions.