Essay on American Women and the World War II Factory Experience

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American Women and the World War II Factory Experience

After much consideration, I decided to write about American women on the home front during World War II. The work done by these brave women was astounding. In order to narrow the scope of my historical survey, I chose to focus particularly on the factory experience of these women, because the female factory worker challenged the existing societal belief of separate sex roles. In this sense, the female factory worker became a pioneer for the later expansion of women into careers that were largely considered “man’s work.”

My main interest has always been American history. I have been particularly interested in what has happened socially during periods of war. Former
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American propaganda and monetary incentives, along with following loved ones to the coast, were often the initial reasons of motivation for women to become employed in factory work.

After much research I began to notice that these factory women faced many challenges in their daily lives. First, there was the problem of finding adequate transportation to and from work. Once at work women often faced discrimination in the form of pay and from fellow workers. Perhaps married women faced the biggest strain. The primary duties of women were still considered to be that of wife and mother. For many married women a nine hour graveyard factory shift was added to the strain of finding child care and cooking meals within ration guidelines. Today these working women are prevalent in every aspect of society and for many of us such a woman may be our own very competent mother.

Despite the various social changes that I will discuss in my paper a social revolution did not occur. At the end of World War II many women were pleased, and eager, to return home. Many felt that the returning soldiers needed the jobs more then they did. As a result the young female war worker was very likely to become the commercialized housewife of the 1950s. It is important to remember the roles that these women played on the home front during World War II along with their challenge of typical sex roles of the period. THE

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