Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) archery, 1940 (c)
Photograph, World War Two, 1940 (c).
The high command had encouraged female participation in sport ever since the formation of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1917. However, for many years there were restrictions on which pursuits were available to women in the Army.
Many senior officers believed excessive physical activity would render women 'sexless' and 'sterile'. They therefore recommended sports which were considered 'suitable' for women, such as tennis, cricket, archery, badminton, hockey, netball and swimming.
Today, there are no such restrictions. Women in the British Army can choose to take part in all kinds of leisure pursuits, including those activities traditionally viewed as 'male sports', like rugby and boxing.
One of 67 photographs of Auxiliary Territorial Service personnel involved in sporting activities, 1939-1945.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, Out of Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection
Browse related themes