Investigating the reality -- what women did and were paid

Look at the photographs below of women at work in the WAAAF.

  1. What Air Force type jobs or occupations are women not doing?
  2. Compare the jobs actually being done with the image in the advertisements. Do you think the advertisements are fair?
  3. Compare the rates of pay for women with equivalent males in the RAAF. Describe the difference. Why do you think this difference existed?
  4. A common advertisement of the day called on women to join the services to do 'a real job - a man's job'. Do you think women in the services did men's jobs?

WAAAF occupations

Occupation Number of WAAAFs
Group 1
Draughtswoman, laboratory technician, Link trainer instructress, meteorological assistant, X-ray technician
Group 2
Armourer, cinema operator, dental mechanic, fabric worker, flight mechanic, flight rigger, hygiene inspector, instrument repairer, painter, photographer, radar operator, telegraphist, wireless assistant

Group 3
Accounting machine operator, caterer, clerk general, clerk pay, clerk stores, cypher assistant, dental orderly, driver motor transport, equipment assistant, fabric worker's assistant, hairdresser, meteorological charter, nursing orderly, postal assistant, recorder, tailoress
Group 4
Canteen stewardess, clerk, clerk librarian, clerk medical assistant, clerk signals, clerk stores assistant, radio telephony operator, service policewoman, sick quarter attendant, telephone operator, teleprinter operator, tracer under officer disciplinary
Group 5
Aircrafthand, anti-gas instructress, armament assistant, cook's assistant, drill instructress, gardener, office orderly, postal orderly, stewardess, storeshand, trainee

WAAAF and RAAF officers (equivalent rank) daily rates of pay (in shillings/pence)

WAAAF officer Pay RAAF officer Pay
Asst. Section Officer 12/4 Pilot Officer 18/6
Section Officer 13/6 Flying Officer 20/-
Flight Officer 17/- Flight Lieutenant 25/-
Squadron Officer 19/6 Squadron Leader 32/6
Wing Officer 22/- Wing Commander 38/-
Group Officer 24/6 Group Captain 47/6

WAAAF and RAAF other ranks (equivalent rank) daily rates of pay (shillings/pence) for different occupation groups

WAAAF occupation Pay RAAF occupation Pay
Group 1 6/8 Group 1 12/-
Group 2 6/8 Group 2 10/6
Group 3 6/- Group 3 9/-
Group 4 5/- Group 4 7/6
Group 5 4/4 Group 5 6/6