The single was released in Australia both in a 7" and 12" format with the non-LP B-sides "Don't Take Yur Lurex To The Laundromat" and "Do The Hook". The international version of the single contained "BBBBBBBBBBBBBBoogie" from the Guilty Until Proven Insane album.
Iron Maiden's cover of the song was the band's third single and their last recorded work to feature guitarist Dennis Stratton. It was released on 27 October 1980 in order to promote the second British leg of their Iron Maiden Tour. The song was also included on the Australian edition of their second album Killers, as it was originally a number eight hit in Australia for Skyhooks in 1978. In 1990, the 12" version was reissued on CD and 12" vinyl as part of The First Ten Years box set, in which it was combined with their following single, "Twilight Zone".
The idea to cover the song was suggested by the band's publishing company, Zomba, who set them up with studio time at Battery Studios with AC/DC producer Tony Platt. Although sceptical at first about recording a song that was so different from the band's style, bassist Steve Harris conceded when Platt was hired, surmising that "as he worked with AC/DC and that, I thought, 'Oh, you know, fine. He's not gonna pull us in any commercial direction.'" After trying to create their own "heavy" version of the song, to Harris' dismay he found out that Platt, with help from Stratton, had been tampering with the song's mix as he had been briefed by Zomba to "Try and get a hit single." As a result, Platt was dismissed and Harris remixed the track himself.
Although the intended mix was restored, the band have routinely mentioned their dislike of the single, with Harris vowing "never, ever, ever to allow anyone outside to fuck around with our music again." As a result, its only appearance on CD is as part of The First Ten Years series and a rare 1995 2CD issue of Killers, meaning that the song does not appear remastered. However its B-Side, "Invasion" appears remastered on the Best of the 'B' Sides compilation.
In spite of this, "Women in Uniform" would also be the basis of the band's first music-video, directed by Doug Smith and filmed at the Rainbow Theatre. Considered an unusual project for a band to undertake in the years preceding MTV, the filming would mark Dennis Stratton's last contribution for the band.
The single cover features an image of Margaret Thatcher with a Sterling submachine gun, preparing to attack the group's mascot, Eddie. According to the band, the cover was a joke which was meant to ask whether her motive was through jealousy or revenge (following the infamous "Sanctuary" artwork that featured Eddie killing Thatcher), which managed to cause further controversy as, according to the Liverpool Daily Post, a group of "screaming, chanting, banner-carrying feminists" led a demonstration during Iron Maiden's show at Leeds University on 22 November.
The German 12" release featured a live version of "Drifter" (from the "Sanctuary" single) instead of "Invasion" and had a different cover, a cropped version of the band's debut album artwork.