World War II as a Time of Opportunities for American Women Essay

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World War II as a Time of Opportunities for American Women

World War II was the catalyst that changed the opportunities available to women and eventually the way they were regarded as a viable workforce. Suddenly women throughout the United States were pushing themselves to their limits to support the war effort. Women were fulfilling jobs and responsibilities that many previously believed to be impossible for their gender. Opportunities were opened in steel plants, ammunition factories, and even the United States military. As the war progressed the number of male workers declined dramatically. Society had no choice but to turn to the mothers, sisters, and daughters of our nation for help. The results for each woman varied
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jobs like teaching, civil service. Men worked in manufacturing and dominated the professions. Women did clerical work, or worked on the lower scale in a factory, or worked as domestics in other people?s homes.? (Dr Strom and Wood, pg. 1) More married women were at work in the 1930?s than in the 1920?s but they held the lowest paying jobs.

Society at this time did not view women as equals and the pay they received reflected this attitude. ?In 1939 male teachers made an average salary of $1,953 while female teachers were paid a mere 1,394; male social workers averaged $1,718 while their female counterparts received a salary of $1,442. There was an expectation that women worked until they married then their husband would support the family.? (Chafe, pg. 63) This attitude was seen in the salaries women throughout America received prior to and during the early part of the war in small communities and the United States Government.

Even when faced with a shortage of man power most factories were reluctant to place women into physically demanding jobs and even more reluctant to pay them a salary equal to their male counterparts. Two businesses that employed such tactics were the Chemical Plant and the Arsenal built in Huntsville, Alabama in 1941. Originally known as Redstone Ordnance Plant it was renamed the Redstone Arsenal in February 1943. It produced items
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