But when too few women took up war work, the British government began to take a more active role in women’s lives. Women’s conscription began in January 1942, involving only single women between the ages of twenty and twenty-one, but then gradually expanding, until January 1943, when women up to age forty could be conscripted for work. Women who were conscripted could choose between the women’s services, civil defense, and factory work. However, conscription was not as strict as the term suggests. Women with children under the age of fourteen were exempt, as well as many women running both small or large households. But still, the new legislation meant that the British government was eager to reinterpret gender roles and conscript women for war work.