The Home-Front War: World War II and American Society

By Kenneth Paul O'Brien; Lynn Hudson Parsons | Go to book overview

7
Women Defense Workers in World War II: Views on Gender Equality in Indiana

Nancy Felice Gabin

The significance of World War II for American women remains a central question in analyses of the female experience in this century. Scholars have evaluated the short- and long-term impact of the war, debating the extent of change and continuity in social, political, and economic terms. There is much grist for the mill. Nearly half of the 11 million women employed in the United States in 1940 worked in low-paid, low-status clerical, sales, and service jobs. The 20 percent who worked in manufacturing were concentrated in a few low- paid industries such as textiles and garments. World War II substantially improved the economic prospects of women as the demand for labor to meet the nation's wartime needs exceeded the available supply of male labor and opened occupations formerly closed to them. Of the 18 million women employed in 1944, 36 percent held clerical, sales, and service jobs, while the proportion employed in manufacturing had increased in relative terms to 34 percent. The entrance of over 3 million women into manufacturing represented a striking 140 percent increase over the figure for 1940, but the 460 percent increase in the number of women employed in male-dominated basic industries that converted to war production was even more dramatic. The war also offered many women upward occupational mobility. Although 49 percent of the women employed in defense industries in March 1944 had not worked before the war, 27 percent of those so employed, attracted by higher wages, better working conditions, and the opportunity to learn new skills, had shifted from other occupations. 1

Many of the changes associated with World War II were only temporary, but their impact on the attitudes and behavior of women and men, unionists and employers, and policymakers and politicians has been hotly contested. The extent to which women for the first time took male-defined jobs in basic industries and challenged assumptions about the "naturalness" of the gender division of labor has been a principal concern in the debate over the impact of the war. The scholarship on this issue generally divides between those who view the influx of women into the nation's factories as a historical "watershed" because it validated their labor force participation--especially that of married, middle-class women--and those who regard the circumstances of the war as

-107-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Home-Front War: World War II and American Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 214

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.