Working Women During World War Ii

1806 words 8 pages
Women made up 49.83% of the nation’s 132 million jobs in June of 2009; for the first time in American history, “Women are on the verge of outnumbering men in the workforce for the first time, a historic reversal caused by long-term changes in women's roles and massive job losses for men during this recession” (Cauchon). Just as the current recession has impacted the way that women exist in the workforce, so too did past national events influence women’s roles in the workplace. In the early twentieth century, it was rare for women to work outside of the home; World War II, with its incredibly high draft rate, left a labor gap in the United States that made it necessary for women to enter the workforce in record numbers. Although many …show more content…

In spite of their dedication and loses of their fleet, they were demobilized in 1944 (DuBois and Dumenil 547-48).
Racism was another form of discrimination that many women faced during this time; it most greatly affected African American and Japanese American women during World War II. Initially the integration of black women into the military was denied all together. When they were accepted into the military, African American women lived in segregated units and were placed in degrading, unskilled positions, especially compared to men and white women in the military. When they were allowed to serve as nurses in 1944 they could only care for their own race or prisoners of war. They were often criticized by white women working in the defense industry who refused to work alongside them. In defense, African American women protested this discrimination. They filed numerous complaints with the Fair Employment Practice Commission. In spite of their protesting efforts, they had little success due to the great demand in keeping war production. Even though African American women endured severe racism throughout the war, they decreased their role in domestic services such as working as housekeepers and nanny’s for middle class white women, where they worked for very low wages and were easily exploited. At the same time, their increased participation in industrial work granted them higher pay and


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