April 22, 2012
Leaving behind the domestic duties of the mid 20th century housewife, American women seized the opportunity to expand their worlds and joined the workforce of the nation. Traditionally, women were restricted to household obligations and discouraged from working outside the home (Bucher 367). However, after the Great Depression, the shadow of financial instability hovered over every home in the country. Women became the foundation of the classic American family and the spirit of the United States was finally able to regain strength and solidity. World War II spurred the homemakers to explore options for employment in areas that had previously been dominated by males only. The role of women throughout World War II re-defined the female standard in American society as a result of the vacancies in civil employment on the domestic front and newly legislated non-combat positions for the war effort.
Since men were compelled to leave their family and enlist in military service, women were naturally recruited to work in place of their male counterparts. Without hesitation, the “women worked as journalists, factory workers, drivers, farmers, mail delivery personnel, garbage collectors, builders, and mechanics, thus freeing up men to go to the front lines” (“War at Home: World War II”). This role reversal created a heightened sense of value and patriotism; women finally gained their presence in the public sphere (Bucher 370). This transition was not easy for the average female because of sexism and gender discrimination. To offer protection and support, organizations were formed to guide the women in the new trials and challenges of the work place. The “War radically changed the economic outlook for American women by introducing them to new fields and altering the ideology that prohibited American women from working” (Bucher 372). This change rattled the mindset of the country and...