Home Fronts: The Nation and Alabama
World War II created conditions that required women in Alabama and throughout the nation to take on a variety of new roles. The state and federal governments conducted numerous recruitment campaigns encouraging women to take jobs in the defense industries, enlist in the armed forces, or contribute their time to volunteer work. The women of the state responded by enlisting in the WACS, WAVES, or Nurse Corps; by taking jobs in airplane modification plants, shipyards, and ordnance depots; by working in offices or service industries; or by volunteering to learn first aid, work in war bond drives, or cooperate in blackout drills. Only a very small number joined the armed forces or the Nurse Corps; hence the basic decision Alabama women made involved some combination of volunteer activity, paid jobs in war industries, and unpaid work at home. The demands of wartime encouraged Alabama women to change their traditional role from one of wife, mother, and homemaker to that of war worker.
Nationwide the media image of women changed as an increasing number sought and accepted jobs in defense plants, offices, and service industries. The most highly publicized role for women was that of defense worker. As millions of men joined the armed forces, tremendous labor shortages occurred in the nation's defense industries. The federal government, industry, the media, and women's