World War I Farmerettes
World War I created a shortage of agricultural workers as men left farm work for the military. In response, the UK established the Woman’s Land Army in 1915. When the US entered World War I in 1917, a similar organization called the Woman’s Land Army of America was formed by a consortium of women’s groups.
Between 1917 and 1919 more than 20,000 “farmerettes” joined the Women’s Land Army of America. Most had no agricultural experience, but thanks to negotiations by the Land Army organization they were paid as much as male workers. Although some that doubted women were suited to heavy farm work and some were scandalized by the pants farmerettes wore, female farm workers were vital to the American war effort.
A similar, larger program was created by the US government during World War II and simply called the Women’s Land Army.