World War ll Military Women During World War II, some 350,000 women served in the U.S. Armed Forces, both at home and abroad. At the urging of Eleanor Roosevelt and women's groups, and impressed by the British use of women in service, General George Marshall supported the idea of introducing a women's service branch into the Army. In May 1942, Congress instituted the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps, later upgraded to the Women's Army Corps, which had full military status. Its members, known as WACs, worked in more than 200 non-combatant jobs stateside and in every theater of the war. By 1945, there were more than 100,000 WACs and 6,000 female officers.
Throughout the past few decades, women in the workforce have gained equality. Many professions have seen an increase in the number of women in the workforce while other professions have not seen as much progress. Gender biased jobs have changed as well; jobs that were once known as women’s jobs now have more men working in the field and jobs that were once known as men’s jobs now have a rising number of women workers. The workforce has seen women make a lot of progress; however women still have a ways to go. Women have made a large amount of progress in higher paying jobs with high prestige.
There was a massive disruption of the industries in which women were mostly employed, such as dress-making and textiles. This, in the end, was actually a benefit. As war work became available, such as munitions factories, many of those women could now work in a higher paid job as well as do their part in the war effort. Women in the domestic services even left their jobs in order to work for higher paid jobs2. The first world war gave women more opportunity in the workplace as more occupations were open to them and the war also
Women went back to working at home and jobs were taken over by men again. They say that World War One did very little to change the position of women in Britain. The truth is that World War One did change the lives of women but the extent was limited and their role in society was never the same as it had been before 1914. It is important to remember that if it wasn’t for their protest and demonstration before, women’s rights wouldn’t have been on the agenda of the government and change would have taken much longer. With so many young men enlisted in the army, the role women played was crucial, not only to the war
Rapid progress in female employment was strongly evident- many took up careers in professions and in some cases women earned the same pay as men. Things were looking hopeful for German women, years of male and female dispute had almost concluded. Female developments abruptly reversed by 1933- Hitler held traditional views regarding the female role which he believed raised them to an imperative position in society. Women had vital role in producing the genetically pure Aryan race which would grow to be supreme Nazis. Hitler realised he needed to increase the birth rate to fundamentally strengthen the Third Reich; with a larger population would come more strength, superiority and pre-eminence.
Using my own research i will discover whether the World War One had a positive effect on the role of women. After the immediate rise in female unemployment at the beginning of the war due to the ‘middle-classes wish to economise’ (first world war, accessed 07/01/09), the only option to replace the volunteers gone to front was to employ women in the jobs they had left behind. This was supported by all the major feminist groups, who suddenly ‘became avid patriots and organisers of the women in support of the war effort’ (war and gender, accessed 22/01/09). Overall women’s employment increased from ‘three million in 1914 to five million in 1918’ (Murphy, p373, 2000). For many of the women the war was ‘a genuinely liberating experience’ (first world war, accessed 07/01/09), and made the women feel useful as citizens.
Employment statistics from 1914 to 1918 shows a large number of women who worked to replace men’s occupation in different areas. For example, in the metal industry, around two thousand hundred women obtained jobs in place of the male
Is feminism still relevant in the modern world? In the early 20th century the suffragettes played a huge part in gaining votes for women. World War One also played a large part the feminist movement as women who had previously been deemed incapable of much more than looking after children and husbands were now required to help in other areas such as the work force as part of the war effort. After World War One women were not content to revert back to their pre-war status. World War Two required women in the munitions factories and as land girls which due to the shortage of men gave, women a definite place in the working environment, and the argument of women being incapable was now of no consequence.
Karen Anderson’s Wartime Women: “Sex Roles, Family Relations and the Status of Women during World War II” reexamines the various roles women occupied in wartime America. Anderson argues that though some historians they attribute women’s postwar employment changes simply to economics. Anderson implies that the 1940’s period played a more prominent role in developments, helping to accelerate the economic changes that would come after WWII. Moreover, though such studies exist in abundance today, in 1981 few historians explored the effects of living in a society with severe sex ratios. Anderson points out that despite continuing occupational sex segregation, a lack of appropriate child care, and the lingering negative attitudes regarding female employment, women persisted in gaining employment and opening doors for themselves and later generations.
However, sociologists would not all agree that this is the primary reason for the trends. Feminists would argue that changes in the position of women, for example improvements in their economic situation have had a large impact. Now, 70% of women are in paid work, compared to 49% in 1965. Subsequently, women are less likely to be financially dependent on their husbands and thus freer to end an unhappy marriage. Feminists also argue that women work triple-shifts within households, leading to conflict and leading to more divorces.