Lum­ber­jills

Canada's History - - TRADING POST -

Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, thou­sands of women took up jobs in tra­di­tion­ally male sec­tors, in­clud­ing the forestry in­dus­try. Nick­named “lum­ber­jills,” they be­came part of the pro­pa­ganda ef­fort to pro­mote women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the wartime econ­omy. A 1943 Na­tional Film Board crew doc­u­mented the work of lum­ber­jills in the Queen Char­lotte Is­lands (now known as Haida Gwaii). Women were pho­tographed ar­rang­ing log booms, di­rect­ing cranes laden with sawn lum­ber, and hold­ing clip­boards to record key pro­duc­tion de­tails re­lat­ing to the tim­ber har­vest. Photo cap­tions de­scribed them as work­ing “along­side pro­fes­sional lum­ber­men as time­keep­ers, su­per­vi­sors, and mill work­ers; oth­ers ride the booms, han­dling the tim­ber like vet­er­ans.” The ex­act num­ber of wartime lum­ber­jills in Canada isn’t known, but in Bri­tian nearly five thou­sand

women served in the Women’s Land Army.

A “lum­ber­jill” uses a pike pole to han­dle spruce logs, Queen Char­lotte Is­lands, Bri­tish Columbia, 1943.

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