Women During World War II

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Women in America have faced gender suppression for centuries. From issues such as not being able to vote, to equal wage rights, feminists and suffragettes have fought for their place in society. During World War II, women began to shape the world around them by taking jobs in large numbers, as men had to leave their jobs to enlist. This was supported through one of America’s cultural icons, Rosie the Riveter, who represented a strong, working woman. However, once the men returned at war’s end, women were fired from their jobs. While women were praised for their work, they also changed the workplace itself, helping the United States transition out of an industrial economy. Harsh factories were given a feminine, personal touch, and the women began to break out of their dull housewife lives--until the war ended. Although World War II caused only a temporary rise in women’s employment, women changed company policies and took jobs normally reserved for men, challenging their own role as subservient housewives and permanently improving employment in the businesses that they worked.
While women made great changes during the war, women in factories were forced back into traditional roles when the war ended, negating statistical changes of their success in the workplace. In late 1941, 32.5% of women were employed. This jumped to 40% by 1944, but only 7 years later, in 1951, the number dropped down again to 34.5%. Despite their gains during the war years, women were unable to sustain

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