Women as Colonial Administrators
During the early years of the Second World War, with the severe depletion of ‘manpower’, women were finally taken on in the administrative grades of the Colonial Office in London, although only on a temporary basis.1 The distinguished sociologist, Dr. Audrey Richards, became temporary principal in the Social Service department and six other women were placed as assistant principals in various departments. Then, as an ‘experiment’ in 1944, women were sent out to the colonies as temporary junior administrators with the Colonial Service. They went first to The Gambia, later to other West and East African countries, to Trinidad and Malaya. During wartime and the subsequent period of decolonisation, these women showed themselves capable of carrying out a wide range of administrative duties previously reserved for men.
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