Wwii: A Milestone Or Pebble Regarding Women In The Workforce

1572 words - 7 pages

Most believe that World War II benefited women in the workforce. But did it really? World War II created war-related jobs and caused a large amount of men and voluntary enlistees. During World War II women played a part in the workforce in a way that was unpredicted in the U.S. history. The two pre existing factors of moral rights and society’s stereotypes collided with one another as the traditional female gender roles were diminished from war opportunities. Two arguments arise from this upset of social norms: a milestone for women’s experience and a lack of immediate and long-lasting change in gender roles after war. World War II served as a milestone for women in work. One aspect that ...view middle of the document...

For a young women, work was a temporary position before coming a wife and mother. As the war approached, the marriage and birth rate increased which caused working women to be stay at home mothers. Due to the stereotypes of that time, motherhood was the main priority for women, and they were not as likely to work. Working positions were desperate to be filled and women were lured into war related jobs due to propaganda. This left women who had older children that didn’t need as much attention and care to be the laborers. According to the book World War II: The Definitive Visual History written by Richard Holmes, Ann Kramer, Charles Messenger, and Robin Cross, Ann Kramer states that 60% of women who entered the workforce between 1941 and 1945 were over the age of 35 years old (Kramer 131). This idea is significant because this helps prove the idea that war contributed to the changing of the female roles.
The need to fill jobs led not only to diversity in age of female workers, but also a change in the types of jobs that women filled and the greater opportunities given. Once the attack on pearl harbor was undergone, the United States quickly became more committed to being involved in the war. This caused a larger desperation for war and non war related laborers. According to the article titled The Army Nurse Corps, written by Gordon Sullivan, seven months after the attack on pearl harbor 55 percent of employers were considering female workers as opposed to the previous 28% (Sullivan 56). Due to this, one can make the conclusion that female workers were taking up what were typically male jobs, (electrician, mechanic, etc.). It is safe to say that the employers loosened the gender stereotypes of that time.
Job opportunities given to women only lasted through the duration of World War II. Although women had many new jobs throughout the war, the number of women after the war in the workforce
greatly decreased. In the long run, these ideas prove that the workforce of women during World War II was merely a “pebble” in the development of female workforce.
Even though women took the jobs that mostly were meant for men, the traditional roles of females were not forgotten. Employers still accommodated for the female stereotypes that existed. In the book Major Problems in American Women History written by Mary Beth Norton explains how this thought is supported by Fifth Army Women’s Army Corps, also known as the WAC. Women involved through WAC, even though they were in placed in jobs that were typically unharmful, were still exposed to harsh conditions and danger (Norton 374). This mixture of women’s roles and the environments that men typically worked in questions whether or not women were truly fit for the jobs that they were placed in. Although women were trying to prove that women can do anything that men can do, there are still aspects that women can not do physically. This questions whether or not World War II truly and fully glorified women’s...

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