World War Two and Its Impact on the Role of American Women in Society

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World War Two and Its Impact on the Role of American Women in Society

World War II is an event that has marked history like no other. Originating from a European struggle, war broke out in 1939 and continued for six years. From the years 1939 through 1945 more than half the earth's surface was battling in war. American society was greatly affected. People of every age, race and class were deeply affected. Women's place in society took a leap forward like it never had before. As an effect of the second world war women's traditional roles in society were drastically altered.

The 1940's brought innovative opportunities along with hardships to American society. After the Depression it looked as though there was no hope for the
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Robert L. Daniel, author of, American Women in the Twentieth Century, explains that women were being recruited to work in various jobs (122). Single women, ones that did not hold responsibilities to a husband or family were employed first and women that had families were taken only as a last resort (Daniel 123). Daniel further explains, "The nation's need permitted an expansion of women's economic role without it being perceived as a feminist threat" (123). What women could offer was now found as valuable and useful. The public opinion of women made a drastic turn around from their previous attitudes. The government and the media no longer looked down upon women for entering the work force, but gave much encouragement (Chafe, 134). In magazines such as "Lifetime" there were even advertisements promoting women to work.

Daniel points out:

The war marked a watershed in the history of women at work, and temporarily at least, caused a greater change in women's economic status than half a century of feminist rhetoric and agitation had been able to achieve. (125)

Work that was once thought of as improper for a woman to carry out was now viewed as patriotic (Daniel 125). At the beginning of the war there was a great demand for office jobs, such as secretaries, typists, and office machine operators. As many as 2,200,000 women were working office jobs (Daniel 124). The demand for more women in
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