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.