During both world wars the women of Sheffield went to work in the steel industries to replace men drafted into the forces. These women started out young and inexperienced but by the end of each conflict were the equal of the men who returned from war to reclaim their jobs. The production of armaments required remarkable levels of endurance. Without the contribution of these many women victory would have been far from assured.
The sculpture was commissioned by Sheffield City Council and significantly funded by public subscription. It represents both the cameraderie that helped the women triumph over the exceptionally difficult task allotted to them and the pride they felt in achieving expertise in an industry that was traditionally the preserve of men. A welder and a riveter are portrayed to stand for the many roles filled.
The unveiling was attended by large numbers of women in old age who when young had risen to the challenge of this gruelling war work. The sculpture has become a popular focus of Sheffield’s pride in its women’s history.