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Women's Employment During World War II

Better Essays
Kevalee Snyder
Ms. Holloway
HL History P-2A
18 October 2016
Section 1: Identification and Evaluation of sources This investigation will explore the question: To what extent did women working factory jobs change feminine roles in society? The years from 1939 to 1945 will be the focus of this investigation, to allow for an analysis of women’s employment before and during the war.
The first source which will be evaluated in depth is a letter written by Mary Anderson in October of 1940. The origin if this source is a letter written by the director of the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. department of Labor, to Studebaker the commissioner of education. Its purpose was to convince John Ward Studebaker that women should be just as educated as men. It states
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Women's employment increased in America from under one percent in 1939 to over Forty-six percent in 1943, and ninety percent of single women between the ages 18-59 were engaged in some form of factory work over the course of the war (Striking Women). Women were urged to take masculine positions in the workplace, in order to free up able-bodied men for the line of duty. While women took many jobs over the course of the war the factory jobs were in the most demand. Factory workers were needed in order to build essential supplies for the war effort, such as bombs, heavy machinery, and auxiliary. The push for women showed a changing view of how capable women were sought after by companies. In 1943, more than 310,000 women worked in the U.S. aircraft industry, making up 65 percent of the industry’s total workforce compared to just 1 percent in the pre-war years (Striking Women). Women workers were recruited by the munitions industry, which was shown through the U.S. government’s “Rosie the Riveter” propaganda campaign. “Rosie the Riveter” became one of the most successful recruitment tools in American history (Striking Wome ). Prior to World War II, propaganda targeting women had only been asking them to buy war bonds, plant victory gardens, and ration foods (Women, Gender, and World War). “Rosie the Riveter” was the first time a government had released a propaganda campaign where women had a job and were independent. This showed a newfound respect for women and their skills. The changes in societal interpretation of women allowed them to become more than homemakers, and put more focus on what women could do rather than what they looked like. The push for women in factories during the years 1939 to 1945 showed that women could be trusted around dangerous materials, conveyed a sense of
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