‘Doing Their Little Bit’: Women’s Organisation of Jamaican World War I Efforts

  • Dalea BeanEmail author


This chapter will focus on the concept of the twentieth-century Jamaican woman and the response of Jamaican women to World War I. It briefly examines the various forces that impacted women’s roles and status on the eve of war and highlights the mobilisation of women for an international war effort for the first time in Jamaican history. Though women were not eligible for service as soldiers, they were widely encouraged to ‘do their little bit’ in seeing to the Empire’s victory. Eventually, this ‘bit’ became a widespread local movement to produce war supplies and catapulted women in the limelight in ways which would determine new boundaries of citizenship.


  1. Bryan, Patrick. 1990. Philanthropy and Social Welfare in Jamaica: An Historical Survey. Mona: ISER.Google Scholar
  2. Carlyle, Thomas. 1853. Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question. London: T Bosworth.Google Scholar
  3. Colley, Linda. 1992. Britons: Forging the Nation 1797–1837. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Colón, Alice, and Rhoda Reddock. 2004. The Changing Status of Women in the Contemporary Caribbean. In UNESCO General History of the Caribbean Volume V: The Caribbean in the Twentieth Century, ed. Bridget Brereton, 465–505. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  5. DeLisser, Herbert George. 1917. Jamaica and the Great War. Kingston: Printed for the Author by the Gleaner Company.Google Scholar
  6. Duncan, Natanya. 2008. The “Efficient Womanhood” of the Universal Negro Improvement Association: 1919–1930. PhD dissertation, University of Florida.Google Scholar
  7. Eisner, Gisela. 1961. Jamaica 1830–1930: A Study in Economic Growth. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Gullace, Nicoletta. 2002. The Blood of Our Sons: Men, Women and the Renegotiation of British Citizenship During the Great War. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hall, Douglas. 1989. In Miserable Slavery: Thomas Thistlewood in Jamaica, 1750–86. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  10. Handbook of Jamaica. 1914. Kingston: Jamaica Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  11. hooks, bell. 2004. Understanding Patriarchy.
  12. Lobdell, Richard. 1988. Women in the Jamaican Labour Force, 1881–1921. Social and Economic Studies 37: 203–240.Google Scholar
  13. Phillips-Lewis, Kathleen. 1994. British European Stereotypes and the Position of Women in the Caribbean: An Historical Overview. In Crossroads to Empire: the Europe-Caribbean Connection, 1492–1992, ed. Alan Cobley, 64–77. Cave Hill, Barbados: Department of History U.W.I.Google Scholar
  14. Rosenberg, Leah. 2010. The New Woman and “the Dusky Strand”: The Place of Feminism and Women’s Literature in Early Jamaican Nationalism. Feminist Review 95: 45–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Shepherd, Verene. 1996. Emancipation Through Servitude: Aspects of the Condition of Indian Women in Jamaica. In Caribbean Freedom: Economy and Society from Emancipation to the Present, ed. Hilary Beckles and Verene Shepherd, 245–258. Kingston: Ian Randle.Google Scholar
  16. Shepherd, Verene. 2007a. “My Feet Is (sic) My Only Carriage”: Gender and Labour Mobility in the Post Slavery Caribbean. In I Want to Disturb My Neighbour: Lectures on Slavery, Emancipation & Post-Colonial Jamaica, ed. Verene Shepherd, 157–170. Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Shepherd, Verene. 2007b. The Ranking Game: Discourses of Belonging in Jamaican History. In I Want to Disturb My Neighbour: Lectures on Slavery, Emancipation & Post-Colonial Jamaica, ed. Verene Shepherd, 212–246. Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers.Google Scholar
  18. Smith, Richard. 2014. Propaganda, Imperial Subjecthood, and National Identity in Jamaica During the First World War. In World War I and Propaganda, ed. Troy R.E. Paddock, 89–112. Boston: Brill.Google Scholar
  19. Vassell, Linette. 1993. Voices of Women in Jamaica 1898–1939. Mona and Kingston: Department of History, University of the West Indies.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the West IndiesKingstonJamaica

Personalised recommendations