Before 1939, women were looked at as weak, incompetent and incapable of doing a man’s job. However, when World War II broke out, women were called to maintain the jobs that the men once occupied and t became evident that America’s best chance for success in World War II would have to include the efforts of American females. Women played a key role during World War II in the U.S. More than six million women took wartime jobs in factories, three million volunteered with the Red Cross, and over 200,000 served in the military. Through these jobs women were able to show society that they were capable of doing bigger and better things. Women also realized that they enjoyed this taste of freedom and wanted to continue this lifestyle even after the war. World War II sparked the women’s movement, as the major role they played and the contributions they made helped to change the way women were viewed by society and create new opportunities for them.
Before World War II, the role of a woman was to be a wife and mother. Most jobs were reserved for men and some states prohibited married women from even having certain jobs. There was extreme sexism that women didn’t even take note of. Woman and men were not seen as equals and a need for women’s rights went almost unnoticed until after World War II. The demand for women to participate in war efforts was so compelling that political leaders agreed that both genders would have to change their views of the stereotypical roles of men and women for at least the duration of this national emergency. Women were told they must contribute in lots of different ways. Between 1940 and 1945, the female percentage of the U.S. workforce increased from 27% to 37%. Women went from being discouraged from certain jobs to almost being forced to take certain jobs and in 1945 nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home.
Throughout World War II, the government had used multiple propaganda techniques to lure women into working, their most successful being, “Rosie the Riveter.” The munitions industry heavily recruited women workers, as shown in the “Rosie the Riveter” propaganda campaign. Partly based on a real-life munitions worker, but primarily a fictitious character, the tenacious Rosie became one of the most iconic images of working women in this time period. Instead of being seen as weak and inadequate, Rosie showed women as being tough and equal to men. She symbolized the woman worker and illustrated that she was a strong and capable woman, which is why so many women decided to follow her. In movies, newspapers, posters, photographs and articles, the Rosie the Riveter campaign stressed the need for women to enter the work force and take part in war efforts. After the war, Rosie was still used to promote the feminist movement in the 1980s. She still remains a symbol of women empowerment and stresses the idea that women deserve equal opportunities.
After the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on America...