Women: Before, During, After World War Ii

1861 WordsNov 7, 20108 Pages
On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise attack conducted by the Japanese Navy on the United State naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii resulted in America’s involvement in World War II. While the rest of the world was at war, America stayed neutral until the attack on Pearl Harbor which ironically was intended as a preventive action towards America’s involvement in the war. After the attack, America entered the war, a war that the Americans were not prepared for. America just has gotten out of the Great Depression in the 30s and was still recovering. The war brought about draft and new job opportunities for men and women. Nancy Potter, a teen during the time described the effects of the war, "I think for girls and women, and perhaps…show more content…
Women operated machinery, streetcars, buses, cranes, and tractors. They unloaded freight, built dirigibles, gliders, worked in lumber mills and steel mills, and made munitions” (Rosie the Riveter). In short, women dominated the workforce as female labor force grew by 6.5 million. In 1944, women composed of 35.4% of the civilian labor force and rose .7% in 1945. At the height of the war, there were 19,170,000 women in the workforce. (Hartmann 53-70) The millions of women who entered the workforce during the war were mostly married women. They broke away from the traditional image of housewives. Women were an essential part of the industry during the war; they took over the jobs of men. 10 months after Pearl Harbor, women started working in factories that manufactured gunpowder, parachutes, tanks, and supplies for the war. Even African American women gained job opportunities, but they were hired as a last resort by employers (Hartmann 60). From 1940-1945, the number of female workers increased by 50% from 12 million to 18 million (Rosie the Riveter). Women in the work force suffered from unfair wages and sexual harassment. Women were not allowed to compete for most jobs, and are often paid less even with the same work (Evans 217). When the war in Europe intensified, American manufacturers started to gear up for the manufacture of war materials. Manufactures created jobs for men but ignored women. It wasn’t after Pearl Harbor and America’s full involvement in the

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