Women in the Shadow War: Gender, Class and MI5 in the Second World War

Rosemary Toy, Christopher Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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During the Second World War, the women employed in Britain's secret Security Service (MI5) far outnumbered their male colleagues. Their numbers grew rapidly over the course of the war and by 1941 stood at over 800. Despite the vast influx of female labour into the agency, attitudes towards the role of women in intelligence, be it as wartime workers or as secret agents, demonstrated remarkable continuity with those of the interwar period. Similarly, internal attitudes regarding those traits which produced the best agents and intelligence officers, highly informed by understandings of both masculinity and social status, demonstrated considerable resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688-706
Number of pages19
JournalWomen's History Review
Issue number5
Early online date6 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Women’s History Review on 06/07/2017, available
online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09612025.2017.1345714

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