World War ll: Gender Roles


World War ll marked the new era of the necessity of women in wartime efforts. In the beginning of the war, mainly the women already in the workforce accepted the positions of the males off fighting. That included the lower economic class and minorities. Mothers were slow to join the workforce for many reasons. Some husbands refused to allow their wives to work, simply because it went against tradition. Other mothers did not want to join because they were afraid, if left home alone, their children would rebel. Though toward the end of the war a large portion of women were working, even mothers.

Rosie the Riveter played a large part in women joining the workforce. Although Rosie was a fictional character, her confidence displayed in the propaganda boosted the morale of all women involved. Rosie gave women of that generation a voice and the initiative to take on the roles of the men. The United States government used posters of Rosie the Riveter to persuade women to join the workforce. This article played off of women’s emotions and it worked. With Rosie plastered on walls all over the country, there was no escaping her.

As the war continued, more women were needed to fill the spots of men and take on new jobs to help keep the country running. Women were military nurses, factory workers, secretaries and some became pilots. Women were more involved in World War ll than any war in the past. Some women even worked in the Armed Services. Over 400,000 women served. There were also the occupations of Government Girls and WAVES. Government Girls were young, mostly single, women who went to Washington D.C. to work in the capitol. Some were secretaries, while others sat as chairmen on different projects. WAVES stood for “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services”. This was a division of the Navy. Women made up almost three percent of the Navy in World War ll. WAVES was also the first place women were commissioned as officers.

Works Cited

Rockwell, Norman. Dartbeat: The D’s Daily Blog. Digital Image. Web. 01 March 2014.

Naval History and Heritage Command. “Women and the US Navy- WWll Era WAVES.” Web. 01 March 2014.

“Partners in Winning the War: American Women in World War ll.” National Women’s History Museum, 2007. Web. 01 March 2014.

United States. National Park Service. “Rosie the Riveter: Women Working During World War ll.” US Department of the Interior. Web. 01 March 2014.


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