A Plan of the Investigation
The aim of this investigation is to research the question, “How did the involvement of women in World War II on the home front affect the role and position of women in society?”
The scope of the investigation has one main focus: women who remained in the United States and how they pushed the role of women in society forward. Within this topic, it is broken down into women who joined the labor force and women who remained in the household.
B Summary of Evidence
There were varying levels of involvement of women during World War II, but this investigation will be looking at women who remained in the United States of America. There are two subsections: women who joined the previously male-dominated business realm, and women who continued to work in the domestic sphere. At the beginning of WWII, it was evident that to win the war, weapons and aircraft would have to be produced; but because most men were overseas, women had to manufacture those goods (Weatherford 154). It was recorded later that of 1950s female workers, 22% entered the work force during the war (Goldin 8). Some manufacturers modified their factories to make them better for female workers, but most did not approve of women in the workplace. To discourage them, women were paid less for doing the same job as men (Weatherford 173). The average skilled female worker in 1944 made $23.44 less than the average man per week, earning just $31.21 (Hartmann). Fortunately, many women were not working for the pay, they were working for the war effort (Weatherford 180). Women wanted to decide whether or not they could start a career, so they came in droves to work (Weatherford 170). At most, there were 19,170,000 female workers (Hartmann). Some women even took petty, meaningless jobs because it set the stage for themselves and other women to join the work force in the future (Weatherford 117). After the war, between 47-85% of women (depending upon whether or not she was married) said they wanted to keep their jobs (Hartmann). Once women had jobs, they still were often given tasks that were indicative of traditional gender roles (Anderson 32). However, many of these working women left their position as homemaker to help the war effort. In 1940, 13.8% of white, married women were in the work force. Of these married women who kept working into the 1950s, 26% reported joining the work force during 1944-1950 (Goldin 1,8). Of these women, about 1/3 had children. Interestingly enough, most young children felt “neglected” by their mothers while the majority of teenagers felt proud. To make it easier for women with children to work, the Lanham Act was passed to provide childcare for working mothers (Anderson 65). While initially it was a good thing that mothers started working, it soon became a catalyst for discrimination. If a woman had to take a day off work, she was accused of helping the enemy (Weatherford 139). If a woman became pregnant, she could lose...