As men left their factory jobs to go fight in World War II (WWII), women stepped into their jobs to produce the heavy machinery needed for war and at home to keep the country running. An excerpt from the book The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter spoke of a young machinist, Celia Saparsteen Yanish, and the transition that women had to make into their jobs doing “men’s work.” Before the war, this country was battling an unemployment problem brought on by the Great Depression. The start of WWII erased this problem, as increased production was needed to produce war supplies and goods necessary during a time of war. Because men were both working and fighting in the war, there were more jobs available than could be filled by men. As new employment opportunities became available, women filled those jobs, many of which mostly were manual labor jobs in factories. It was not an easy transition for women, as the perception of them created new problems for them like equal pay and the way they were treated at work by men they now had to work beside. Women entered the factories during WWII for the following reasons: the war created new jobs, men left their jobs to fight in the war, women were already in the workforce, women were eager to learn new skills, society began to accept women in the workplace, and employers saw women as an affordable labor source. There was a need for women to fill the jobs during WWII. Many men got drafted and left behind their jobs in factories and new ones were created to fill a demand for war material. Half of the jobs were filled by women who previously worked on the assembly lines. However more women were needed, so companies recruited women who were just graduating from high school. Eventually it became clear that married women with children were needed to work as well. Initially, women with children under fourteen were encouraged to stay home to care for their families. The government feared that a rise in working mothers would lead...
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Hartman, Susan M. The Homefront and Beyond: The American Women in the 1940 's. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982.
Walker, Joel. "National Archives ." 2011. National Archives of Atlanta. 5 July 2013 <http://www.archives.gov/atlanta/education/resources-by-state/wwii-women.html>.
Women’s Labor during WWII
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