Women in WWII

Women in World War II

World War II lasted from September 1, 1939 – September 2, 1945. This war was a crucial and life-changing time in history that affected countries around the world. The war involved many countries and people, including women.Women at the time were seen as more equal to men than ever before.They had more opportunities and played a larger role during World War II.Women also had more job opportunities that played a huge role for them.Yet, the war played a positive impact on women and led to more independence.Women proved their stereotypes wrong and worked hard to show they are capable of doing things just like a man. World War II positively impacted women by giving them independence, job opportunities, and a taste of equality. In World War I, women did not have the same roles or rights as they did in World War II. Females before World War I were seen as the stereotype of an at home mother that would take care of children, cook, and clean the house. Women also did not have many rights as their spouses or husbands did. Males were usually in charge of a household, owned their own businesses, and were allowed to vote. Unlike men, women were negatively affected before World War II. Women were not being able to vote, own their own businesses, or hold a job. “Women were allowed to work in domestic service, textile and clothing trades” (The National WWI Museum and Memorial). These jobs were mostly occupied by women because they were not high-class jobs that men would do or would have an interest in doing.

First paragraph: Typical roles/rights of women pre-WWII, opportunities offered during WWII

 Towards the end of World War I, women were recruited into the war to take place of the men that died. Gender inequality was another issue that had a negative impact on women in World War I because there was no equality between the sexes. Men were seen as more powerful people and were meant to play a bigger role than women. However, Women did not have to be the stereotypical female that had to take care of the children or clean the house, instead women were given freedom. Specifically, women were given the freedom to decide on their own, because men were not around. Women were given a variety of jobs that they could do, particularly in the defense industry. Women were also given the option to fight in war. They had the opportunity to become independent and to work without a male being completely in charge.

Second body paragraph: WWII intro. Opportunities for women on the home front (working in factories, etc)

World War II was a turning point in history, especially for women. The war became so effective that American had to step in. There were many opportunities that women were given on the home front. As America was in the war, men were drafted to become soldiers and fight. Therefore, this allowed women to take over the jobs of men at the homefront in addition to managing the households. World War II saw increased employment opportunities for women on the homefront in war production, resistance movements and espionage operations, and the conventional military organizations of all the combatants (Axelrod). World War II led many women to take jobs in defense plants and factories around the country. “These jobs provided unprecedented circumstances to move into occupations previously thought of as exclusive to men, especially the aircraft industry, where a majority of workers were women by 1943” .

This suggests that the war gave women more freedom because the jobs that were given to women were what men would usually have. Women gained more employment opportunities that encouraged them to work. When men left, women “became proficient cooks and housekeepers, managed the finances, learned to fix the car, worked in a defense plant, and wrote letters to their soldier husbands that were consistently upbeat” (Stephen Ambrose). Working in factories gave women more opportunities to work. Rosie the Riveter was a huge factor during this time period. She was an important icon of a campaign focused to recruiting female workers for defense industries during World War II. American women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers during the war, as widespread male enlistment left gaping holes in the industrial labor force. “Between 1940 and 1945, the female percentage of the U.S. workforce increased from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent, and by 1945 nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home” ().

Third body paragraph: Opportunities for women in the army: nurses, spies, journalists

Women in World War II were also given many opportunities in the army. In other words, women participated in the war to take the place of the men that died. Women became nurses, spies, journalists, medical assistants, snipers, machine gunners, and photographers. The most common and needed job in the war was a nurse. In addition, the majority of women in the war worked as nurses. Elena Yakovleva, a sergeant major and nurse, states, “I and several more girls went to nursing school… we were sent not to the front, but to a hospital” (Alexievich 27). Yakovleva says that women were assigned as nurses and were sent into the war. Nurses had the ability to work in the war and treated the wounds of men or soldiers.

Fourth body paragraph: The impact of women’s opportunities after WWII. How did WWII redefine their roles?

World War II left many positive impacts on women; specifically, providing them more opportunities, jobs, and gender equality/ independence. World War II helped redefine women’s roles as a female. Independence led to a positive impact for women. The war made women feel more independent and confident. Because of the war, women did things on their own and were becoming self-reliant. The independence that the women were feeling inspired them to want to work more. According to Khan Academy, “Seventy-five percent of women reported that they wanted to continue working after World War II” (Khan Academy). Towards the end of World War II, women felt more equal to men. Women finally were given the chance to prove they were capable of doing what men could do.

A male sergeant once said, “Girls and boys —to the airplanes!” (Alexievich 29). This shows how women were being treated with more respect.from a general was very important because usually women would be separate from men while fighting in the war, but both genders were fighting together as one. This also shows that women were doing the same jobs as men, which shows that women were able to do more things. During the war, women were seen as soldiers and were not looked down upon because of their gender. Men were also treating women with more respect. Vera Danilovtseva, a sergeant and sniper said, “Girls felt equal to boys; we weren’t treated differently” (Alexievich 27). Women were being treated more equally to men in the army. Equality was formed during World War II and women showed men they were just as good as them.


World War II positively impacted women by giving them independence, job opportunities, and a taste of equality. World War II was a turning point in history because women were given more opportunities than ever before. In addition, women were allowed to work. These women would become nurses, medical assistants, snipers, etc. Independence and gender equality was a positive impact from World War II. Women became more independent and men treated women with respect. In addition, Eleanor Roosevelt impacted America because she asked her husband, the president, to give women more rights. Because of World War II, women felt more independent and equal to men.

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