Women's Roles During World War II Essay

Total Length: 425 words ( 1 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 3

World War 2 Women

World War 2 offered unprecedented opportunities for American women to take up jobs that were previously reserved for men, especially in the defense industry. Before 1940, women were only allowed to work in traditionally female professions like typing or sewing, and they were expected to leave when they gave birth or got married (Anderson). However, World War 2 changed all this and women were allowed to enter into the labor force. Women were mainly taking up the positions that were left vacant by the departing soldiers. World War 2 resulted in many women taking jobs in factories and defense plants across the country.

Due to these jobs, the women had unprecedented opportunities to move into occupations that were exclusively reserved for men. For instance, in the aircraft industry, a majority of workers was women by 1943. There were approximately 350,000 women who joined the military during World War 2. The women worked as nurses, repaired airplanes, drove trucks, and performed clerical work in order to free up the men for combat (Craven et al.). Some of the women also flew planes from the factories to military bases, transported cargo and they participated in strafing and target simulations.

There were challenges during World War 2 that women faced especially mothers. Mothers now had dual roles as workers and mothers. In order to address this dual role, Eleanor Roosevelt urged her husband to approve the first US government childcare facility under the community facilities act of 1942 (Yellin). There were seven centers that were built serving about 105,000 children. She also encouraged industry leaders to build model childcare facilities to be used by their workers. However, all these efforts did not meet the full childcare needs of working mothers.

In conclusion, the advent of World War 2 offered American women the opportunity to join the labor market and take up different roles without being discriminated based on their gender. Women taking up male-dominated roles and performing as well as their male counterparts demonstrated that women were as capable as men. Women taking up these roles resulted in the implementation of childcare act that offered childcare facilities to be used by working mothers.

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Anderson, Karen. Wartime Women: Sex Roles Family Relations and the Status of Women During World War Ii. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1981. Print.

Craven, Wesley F, et al. The Army Air Forces in World War Ii. Volume 7. Services around the World: OFFICE OF AIR FORCE HISTORY WASHINGTONDC, 1983. Print.

Yellin, Emily. Our Mothers\' War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War Ii. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 2004. Print.

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