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Women at War

Women at War. Francis Perkins--Sec. of Labor. During WWII an encouraging trend has been a break-down in prejudices against certain types of women workers. Married women . . . older women . . . and Negro women. Rosie the Riverter. A strong woman--she can work.

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Women at War

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  1. Women at War

  2. Francis Perkins--Sec. of Labor • During WWII an encouraging trend has been a break-down in prejudices against certain types of women workers. Married women . . . older women . . . and Negro women

  3. Rosie the Riverter

  4. A strong woman--she can work

  5. Convince women that they can work outside the home

  6. B-17 Nose

  7. Shipyard workers

  8. Age didn’t matter

  9. Factory workers

  10. Black women

  11. Women operated cranes & worked in mines and assembly lines • They made machine guns and airplanes • They were guards in factories • They ran hydraulic presses • Strato Equipment, which made and designed high-altitude suits, was 100% female

  12. By 1944 475,000 women in aircraft industry--45% of labor force • “They take orders easily, have the patience of Job and are more frank than men.” • In some jobs efficiency increased 100% with women workers

  13. Should women be paid the same as men? • During WWII 78% said absolutely! • But it didn’t happen • No one pushed for it even though it had public support--1963

  14. What was the work day like? • Six days a week--eight hours a day • A 48 hour work week was standard • The bus to work took another 2 hours a day

  15. 6 million women joined work force 2 million as clerical workers 3 million Red Cross Worked in every professional area as well as in every blue collar job that was traditionally seen as male only

  16. But still had to do all the housework • Most men refused to do housework • Cooking was from scratch • No automatic dishwashers • Clothing handwash & ring dry • Icebox rather than refrigerators • All this on Sunday and after working all day

  17. Concept of day care was decades away • Kaiser shipyards provided day care and carry out food for workers but it was rare • A pregnant woman had no right to work • Women’s magazines were silent on these issues--work was temporary

  18. A huge shortage of doctors and nurses in WWII • Only single women could join Army or Navy Nurse Corps • Black nurses--330 of 9,000--could not treat white soldiers • Armed Forces refused to use women doctors • Quota systems at most medical schools

  19. Harvard refused to admit women to medical school until 1945 • Army and Navy paid for education for men to be doctors • A woman had to pay her own way and then was refused if she tried to join • But the war did liberate many women in the health field--war made it a necessity

  20. Army nurses

  21. Women Journalists United Press had only one woman journalist in 1941 White House correspondents dinner was a stag affair Yet there were 74 accredited women journalists

  22. Therese Bonney

  23. Margarite Higgins

  24. Clare Booth Luce

  25. Toni Frissel

  26. Janet Flanner

  27. Marvin Breckinridge

  28. Mrs. Roosevelt and May Craig

  29. WAC • 45 killed in • line of duty

  30. WAF

  31. And go back • home when • he comes home

  32. The war is over--now what? Women did not want to go back to ironing Yet there was a campaign to force women to stop working--give her job to a vet Women’s Home Companion urged women to “Give Back the Jobs” In a Chicago radio plant all 80,000 women wanted To keep their jobs! Return to civilian economy forced women out 4 million lost jobs soon after VE Day

  33. Yet there was no going back to 1939 • Women stayed in the labor force • They moved strongly into clerical positions that had been mostly male • They moved in huge numbers into the federal and state governments • It would take decades before women made advancements in medicine, law and business but WWII changed the working landscape for good

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