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Women’s role in World War ll. Anu, SalMa’Ma, Alex, Khue, Alicia, Azahar. Before WWII. Women in General: Women were primarily working at home and very few women did traditional men jobs. Only a quarter of women had paid jobs. Medium class: This class of women had household jobs.

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Women’s role in World War ll

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women s role in world war ll

Women’s role in World War ll

Anu, SalMa’Ma, Alex,

Khue, Alicia, Azahar

before wwii
Before WWII

Women in General:

  • Women were primarily working at home and very few women did traditional men jobs. Only a quarter of women had paid jobs.
  • Medium class: This class of women had household jobs.
  • Low class: this class of women had petty jobs-maids etc
  • Poor women: worked in factories(clothing factories etc), worked as prostitutes, seamstresses.
  • Received the leftover jobs that men in general didn’t want (Men>Women)
before wwii1
Before WWII

White Women:

  • Majority of them were housewives
  • Discrimination of minorities
before wwii2
Before WWII


  • There was severe unemployment for African Americans (men especially)
  • African Americans were underpaid
  • African Americans still witnessed discrimination
  • Japanese Americans had little forms of discriminations
  • If they were able to get a job, they would get the ones that nobody wanted (the leftovers of the leftovers of the leftovers)
  • In other words, “the struggle was real”
women during world war ll
Women During World War ll

Rosie the Riveter

during wwll
During WWll

Women in General:

  • Replaced the men that were serving in the war
  • Dramatic increase in female employment, increased by nearly 60%
  • Became one third of paid workers in 1945 compared to the one quarter of women who were working in the 1940
  • The women were more likely to be married and older than the women who were in the workforce in the past (1 in every 4 married women were working)
  • Jobs were still categorized by gender, Male/Female work
  • Some of the prejudice against working mothers eroded away
  • Most women worked in service-sector jobs, many worked for the government as female clerks, secretaries, and typists. They were called “government girls”
  • Around 350,000 women served in the U.S. Airforce
  • Rarely did women make over 50% of the wages men got for the same jobs
  • Usually it was only the single women that tried to get jobs because married women/mothers would be homemakers.
start of feminism
Start of Feminism

Rosie the Riveter:

- Propaganda campaign developed by the government to encourage women to go into the workforce

- 310,000 women worked in the aircraft industry, making up 65% of the workforce (compared to 1% before WWII)

- Encouraged Working women to upgrade their pay to get higher wages.

- Girls just graduating high school were recruited into the workforce.

- One of the most successful women campaigns.

- Start of Feminism

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt:

- Encouraged General George Marshall to introduce Women branch in the military

- 350,000 women joined the U.S. Armed Forces

- 1944, encouraged by Eleanor Roosevelt, black women were welcomed into the military

during wwii
During WWII

White Women:

  • They were given permission to fly airplanes
  • “Cultural Division of Labor by Sex”

-Placed lower to middle classed white women at home

-Middle classed white women usually went to college, got married, then became stay at home mothers.

  • Even though women in general had limited job opportunities, white women specifically were given better job opportunities than minority women.
  • These jobs include teaching, nursing, sales, retail, and clerical work
  • White women who worked usually worked until marriage.
during wwii1
During WWII


  • WWII did not significantly improve employment for domestic working African Americans
  • Jobs were categorized by race, black women were given more “menial” tasks, and were paid at a lower rate than white women.
  • African American women were likely to find employment in railroads, canneries, and military supply facilities that paid half of other jobs given to white women in shipyards
  • Some Asian women were allowed to fly planes unlike any Japanese Americans (because of Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour)
  • Japanese Americans (including the women) were put into internment camps
  • Japanese American Women were widely discriminated against because of the attack on Pearl Harbor
  • Eventually, in 1944, women in New York broke the color barrier. They became telephone operators.
  • Higher paid jobs usually did not go to minorities, especially to women.
  • Service to the country was widely unrecognized
after wwll
After WWll

Women in General:

  • Women were more accepted into the workforce due to the massive drain of working men.
  • In America, there was a baby boom. The birth rate dramatically increased.
  • Families had money pressure to reach their wanted income, thus more married women were in the labor force than any other time in American history.
  • The divorce rate skyrocketed as well
after wwii
After WWII

White Women:

  • Many families wanted extra money and that meant they needed a wife’s earning to be able to have the lifestyle they wanted.
  • Middle-class women felt that they needed to stay home because they were taught, women stay home and clean while men go out to work.
  • They didn’t want to have certain jobs because it was clear that home and work life needed to be separate.
after wwll1
After WWll


  • Japanese Americans got 38 million dollars in total to pay for their losses
  • A large debate ensued of if Japanese Americans (Women

and Men) would be allowed to go home

  • American History (volume 2) -Alan Brinkleyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese-American_life_before_World_War_II
  • http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/WWII-meant-opportunity-for-many-women-oppression-2501118.php
  • http://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/industry/16.htm
  • http://www.history.com/topics/#ratchet-american-women-in-world-war-ii
  • http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/wwiibayarea/womenatwar.htm
  • http://www.nps.gov/pwro/collection/website/rosie.htm
  • http://tdl.org/txlor-dspace/bitstream/handle/2249.3/150/07_wartm_chng_wom_min.htm?sequence=94
  • http://www.history.com/topics/rosie-the-riveter
  • http://history.howstuffworks.com/historical-figures/rosie-riveter.htm