‘Masculine Duties and Feminine Powers’: Gender and Recruiting Efforts During World War I

  • Dalea BeanEmail author


This chapter continues the interrogation of the construction of gendered ideals during World War I by addressing the key role women were expected to undertake in recruitment of men for military service. The production of a wartime masculinity, was only possible through the concurrent creation of active civic womanhood. Women emerged as prominent speakers and writers on the topic of recruitment and were a major feature of the recruitment strategies in World War I. This chapter also analyses the gendered rhetoric that became a very real part of the movement to motivate men to enlist. For instance, ‘feminisation’ of men by women was a strategy used to encourage men to fight; one which proved successful for the recruitment movement.


Masculine Duty Movement Recruitment Jamaica Times Recruitment Meetings soldiersSoldiers 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Altink, Henrice. 2011. Destined for a Life of Service: Defining African-Jamaican Womanhood, 1865–1938. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Enloe, Cynthia. 1990. WomenandChildren: Making Feminist Sense of the Persian Gulf Crisis. The Village Voice 25.Google Scholar
  3. Goldthree, Reena. 2011. Shifting Loyalties: World War I and the Conflicted Politics of Patriotism in the British Caribbean. PhD dissertation, Duke University.Google Scholar
  4. Goldthree, Reena. 2016. ‘A Greater Enterprise than the Panama Canal’: Migrant Labor and Military Recruitment in the World War I-Era Circum-Caribbean. Labour: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas 13 (3/4), 57–82.Google Scholar
  5. Grayzel, Susan R. 1999. Women’s Identities at War: Gender, Motherhood, and Politics in Britain and France During the First World War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  6. 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
  7. Howe, Glenford. 2002. Race, War and Nationalism: A Social History of West Indians in the First World War. Kingston: Ian Randle; Oxford: James Currey.Google Scholar
  8. Lucas, Sir Charles (ed.). 1923. The Empire at War, vol. II. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Mayer, Tamar (ed.). 2012. Gender Ironies of Nationalism: Sexing the Nation. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Noakes, Lucy. 2006. Women in the British Army: War and the Gentle Sex, 1907–1948. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Smith, Richard. 2004. Jamaica Volunteers in the First World War: Race, Masculinity and the Development of National Consciousness. Manchester: University of Manchester Press.Google Scholar
  12. 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
  13. Strachan, Hew. 1998. The Battle of the Somme and British Strategy. Journal of Strategic Studies 21 (1): 79–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Streets, Heather. 2004. Martial Races: The Military, Race and Masculinity in British Imperial Culture, 1857–1914. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Yuval-Davis, Nira. 1997. Gender and Nation. London: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the West IndiesKingstonJamaica

Personalised recommendations