World War II: Women's Roles

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World War II brought about a lot of change for women 's roles in the United states; however, after the war most of this positive change revolved back to how it was before the war.
With a lack of men to fill jobs women were needed to replace them. It became more socially accepted for a woman to be in a traditionally male job. Many women began work in factories, and other jobs that would not previously been likely to hire women. Between 1940 and 1945 six million women went to work for the first time. Before the war most women were housewives, with husbands who earned enough money to support them. Women’s relationship with work became more of a “patriotic sacrifice” for the good of the country, than for the good of women. At the time
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More than 59,000 nurses served during World War II, at home and overseas (Coster, “Women in World War II”). Nurses assisted overseas, in combat zones, and at home. Nurses received rankings of second lieutenant, first lieutenant, Captain, Major or Commander, each rank increasing the women’s pay grade. Unlike other professions women adopted during the war, nursing was one that was relatively safe, in terms of job security. Men did not want to be nurses, they would more likely become doctors, nursing was a job dominated by women, and considered feminine. As found in the American Journal of Nursing, “Nurses have a very special place in the military. They do not replace the men, nor are they replaceable. Military nursing is an incomparable patriotic service during a time of war. It is a career in both war and peace.” (137, “WAVES, WAAC’s, SPARS, and Nurses”). This proves the fact that all the other jobs women were encouraged to take on during the war, were never theirs to keep. Just because the nurses weren’t fighting like soldiers didn’t mean that they were safe, “Despite the Navy’s emphasis on safety for its women, there were dangers that even the navy acknowledged... ‘Gas masks and steel helmets [were] as much at home as powder puffs’” (Weatherford, …show more content…
The Women 's Auxiliary Army Corps was organized in 1942, this meant that women could assist in war efforts but were still not able to be technically a part of the army, only civilians assisting. “While people attempted to oppose the WAAC bill no one wanted to be accused of trying to harm the war effort” (Weatherford 29-31). This was a positive outcome of no one in congress wanting to be accused of harming the war effort, for even if they didn’t want women to assist or be apart of the army, they still realized that voting against the legislation could easily be viewed as an attempt to harm the United States chances in World War II. The creation of WAACs was followed by the creation of WAVES, Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service. In the Women 's Army Corps, “They work in hundreds of fields such as military intelligence, cryptography, parachute rigging, maintenance and supply” ("Women in the United States Army."). Similarly to Men of Color serving in the army, women of color who served as WACs were segregated from white women, and get even less credit for their work. Ultimately over 150,000 women served in the army during World War II. 1,074 women served with WASP, the Women 's Airforce Service Pilots (Keil, “Those Wonderful Women in Their Flying Machines”). These women served almost entirely

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