Free Women in World War II Essay Sample
One of the primary causes of the Second World War was the increase of dictators in European nations. America was hesitant to engage in WWII due to the neutrality clauses it had signed. Nevertheless, the country became fully involved in the war following the Japan attack on Pearl Harbor. The war resulted in adverse effects in all the participating countries as over fifty-five million people were killed during the war that lasted for six years. Nevertheless, the war was transformative in the United States, particularly for the women. This paper discusses the impact of WWII on women in America which included employment, better pay, and greater freedom of expression.
Before the war, many women in the country were stay at home moms. During the war, the majority of the men went to participate in the war leaving their jobs vacant. Numerous campaigns were carried out to encourage the women to take up the jobs. The original plan was for the women to serve in the positions until the men returned from the war when they were expected to give the jobs back to the men (Douglas 47). The women performance in the jobs equaled the performance of the men. The women were particularly needed in the military industry to produce the equipment that was used in the war. Furthermore, many women had gained additional skills when they took jobs that they were not familiar with initially (Dobie and Lang 52). Thus, after the war, they had skills that could allow them to stay in employment as some of the skills were not necessarily linked to the production of military equipment and supplies. During this time, the production of equipment and supplies was at an all-time high. The manufacturers were very happy with the women, and so were the women. After the war, many women were unwilling to give up their position. Nevertheless, when the war ended, the majority of the women were compelled to give up their positions for the men since the military industry that had employed many women no longer required many supplies and the men wanted their jobs back.
WWII was transformative in that it allowed women a greater sense of freedom. For instance, the women were now permitted to wear pants. Thus, the women became confident and proud. The newspapers served the role of encouraging women to take up roles that were traditionally perceived as male-oriented occupations (Dobie and Lang 78). Women that were previously quiet were now pleasantly loud as they could express themselves. As they worked in the factories, they wore overalls and trousers due to the nature of the occupations. Thus, after the war, they were now accustomed to wearing pants which was a shift from their traditional wear of skirts. This transformed the fashion industry in the country. Many clothing restrictions were removed as previous fashion clothes including nylon stockings came back to fashion (Roosevelt, et al. 63). All the women in America embraced the nylon dress. Women now wore high-heeled shoes and shoes that had straps around the ankles. The fashion industry which was mainly driven by women items contributed positively to the economy.
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Moreover, since the women took male-oriented occupations, they now received better pay. Previously, the employers paid the women lower salaries as compared to their male counterparts for similar tasks. Better pay meant that the women had enough money to purchase items they wanted. Before the Second World War, the marriage bar was still in place. This bar prevented married women from being employed and receiving wages (Douglas 23). Nonetheless, after WWII, it was common to see married women in better-paying occupations. However, many women were still being paid lower wages as compared to the men. As a result, many women began fighting for equal pay. Women in the civil service and the teaching profession were amongst the first to receive better pay (Dobie and Lang 78). The increase in womens pay only applied to occupations where both women and men were employed. Nevertheless, numerous women in the civil service were employed in occupations such as secretaries and cleaners that only employed women. These women were not eligible for the increase in pay. Consequently, the women increased their membership in unions that fought for their issues. Approximately 1.6 million women representing twenty-four percent of the women workforce were unionized (Dobie and Lang 54).
WWII had a transformative impact on the women in America. The war saw numerous women stop staying at home and obtain jobs at the factories. Since many men were sent to participate in the war, they left their jobs vacant. The women took up the vacant positions left by the men. During this period, they learned new skills and gained confidence. Thus, after the war, they were not willing to stop working, and many employers were happy with their performance. Also, after the war, the women fought for better pay. Even though the process was hectic, many women in various occupations received pay rises. Nevertheless, on most occasions, the salary increment still did not match the money given to the men. The fashion industry was revitalized as women were allowed to wear pants. Although many women gave up their jobs for the men after the second world war, the war marked the beginning of an era where women knew they could work and exhibit similar performance as the men.