Thispaper aims at addressing the roles of men and mainly women of theUnited States during the onset of World War II to enhance the victoryof the Allies. In the 1940s, both men and women served in themilitary, government, participated in the workforce and worked asvolunteers in the war in their communities. The women were mainlyencompassed with the responsibilities of the government and expandingthe industries in order to acquire the needs of the war. Moreover,the participation of the women in the war has shaped the way genderroles are assigned I currently since before the World War II theywere confined to motherhood and wifedom.
Womenin the military
Duringthe World War II men were mainly involved in the fighting of Axis.The women participated in the military through non-combatresponsibilities. Although the combat was dedicated to men, women didcrucial, although temporary, supportive roles within the military.Approximately 350000 women from America worked in the military abroadand also at home, during the World War II , volunteered for Women’sArmy Corps WACs), The Coast Guard Women’s Reserve(SPARS), Women Airforce Serve Pilots(WAVES), Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, NavyWomen’s Reserve (WAVEs), , the Army And The Navy Nurses Corps(Mimi, 2).
Inthe year 1942, women were in the first time permitted to workalongside the navy, us army and the coast guard and the marines.Before the Pearl Harbor, women could not be permitted to offer theirservices in military in jobs on non-nursing.
Toget involved in the military when men went to fight and leavingbehind some of their jobs, women were able to come in place toreplace them in jobs such as gunnery instructing, radio operation andrepair, flight instructing, mechanics among other scientific andtechnical areas hence enabling men to go and fight. Women also tookpart as civil aviators where they were employed in the contract basis(Mimi, 3).
In1943, Women Air force Service Pilots (WASP) was formed and itsmandate was to deliver and repair planes, instruct cadet pilots,train troops in anti air crafting gunnery running simulated bombing,testing new planes, break the new engines and transport governmentofficials. They bestowed with only veteran status though legislationin the Congress in the year 1977. As a result in the World War II,approximately 1830 women worked as WASPs doing crucial and dangerousmissions where 38 women were recorded to have died.
Inthe course of the war, women participated through nursing as awartime activity also. Over 200,000 women took part in the Red Crosswhich was a civilian agency serving the armed forces in the capacityof a volunteer nurse assistance. From the 200000 women, a total of70000 worked in the army and the navy nurse cops and were positionedat home in addition to abroad. The women were found to be very brave,committed and did sacrifice a lot for the country. It was recordedthat 432 women who worked as military servicemen died and 88 werecaptured as prisoners of the war (Mimi, 2).
Womenalso contributed a lot in the World War II also by performing somegovernment roles and responsibilities. By the year1944, they had beengiven approximately a third of all civil service jobs which werepreviously held by men. About one million were deployed to work inthe federal government to fill vacancies left by men who had gone tofight. They were called the government girls and after war they werereplaced again by the men they had gone to fight. Most worked in theareas of important intelligence positions, dealing with classicwartime information. Others worked in research and development areasof weaponry. As a result there was a secret program to develop anatomic bomb which was to be called Manhattan Project and it usedcivilian and military servicewomen and was made in Oak Ridge inTennessee which got established after the war since it did not exist.In the year 1945, Oak Ridge had been occupied by around 75000residents mainly young women from smaller southern towns secretlyrecruited to this city. They agreed the terms of being given solidwages and that their actions would finally end the war. They workedin the factories as civilians (Mimi, 3).
Membersof Women’s Air Corp (WAC) did tremendous, classic intelligenceresearches. Some worked as scientists, directly assisting the bombdevelopment. Interestingly, some women didn’t know what they weremanufacturing that this is a bomb to be given to men to combat war.Thus the women were important to and valuable to the fulfillment ofManhattan Project and ending of the World War II (Mimi, 4).
Womenin the Labor Force
Apartfrom working in government and military, the local women offeredtheir labor forces in the former male dominated factory jobs, farmsincluding many other non-traditional industrial jobs. They were paidfrom the services and working under the war production industriespaid a more than 40 percent of wages from their traditionalresponsibilities like waitressing, cleaning, and ushering the womento be traders and leave their low paying jobs (Mimi, 4)..
Initiallyin the war, these opportunities were done by blue collar women whohad joined the workforce by 1940 like working divorces, wives,students and widows. When more men were send to war, the governmenthad to recruit more women to replace the gaps left behind by men andmainly the single women out of college or school and also somemarried women. There was always the stigma on working on male jobs,propaganda from the government and the efforts from the publicrelation were devised to feminize all works at the times of war toattract the women who were not working. In this case, it wasexplained on how to copy household knowledge and skills to the warmanufacturing production jobs. In the year, 1943 Rosie the Riveterfiction arose symbolizing a single woman war worker as pretty,patriotic, compliant efficient, loyal and compliant (Mimi, 4).
Inthe World War II a lot of women were employed in munitions factories,aircraft factories, boot manufacturing industries, clothesmanufacturing industries and the assembly lines which were veryinvaluable to Allies. As per the assistance offered by women, theindustry productions doubled between in the years 1939 to 1945. Inthe military, the following were produced in the period, 64,000landing crafts, 12,000 ships, 86,000 tanks, and 300,000 aircraftincluding millions of artillery weapons (Mimi, 5).
Inaddition, more than one million women joined the women’s land armywho was mainly composed of women volunteering to work on farms butpaid little wages. They also were involved in rail and trainmaintenance and permitting war supplies and troops flow. Others wereworking as taxi and transit workers. Lastly, they were motivated towork in hotels, laundries and restaurants to support the efforts ofthe war (Mimi, 5).
Womenin the community
Womenorganized and led the community efforts during the World War II likeparticipating in volunteering organizations, recycling and rationing,assisting in civil defense, and enhancing the war bonds effortswhich led t he America victory. Women joined the American Women’sVoluntary Services, which is a volunteer organization and women wereinvolved in firefighting, driving ambulances and provision ofemergency services. They also provided the recreations to militarymen through entertainment both at home and abroad. They alsocollected and distributed the car packages to troops (Mimi, 5).
Womenalso assisted in homemaking and from that had important roles inrecycling and rationing. There were few consumer goods like clothesand shoes and food. These were all rationed to assist the efforts ofthe war. Women also collected metals, rubber toys, and tires to makearms and also they recycled paper to be used in making explosives.They also helped in conservation and rationing of eggs, coffee, milk,sugar and butter and cultivated their own gardens of vegetables.
Lastlywomen also played a big role in civil defenses. There wereestablishementoof Female Civil Defense patrols to check and scan allthe vessels in the coast and aircrafts for enemies, raid on air incase of attack and also to enforce the blackout. They also raisedmoney to bond wars used to fund the defense productions (Mimi, 6).
Theeconomy of USA in the World War II was expanded in order to meet theneeds of the war. This was made possible by the women who were givento serve in the military as the men went out to fight. Women workedin the military, government, provided their labor force and ledcommunity efforts which led to the victory of Allies. As a resultopportunities for women which never existed emerged and in 1940s,they were recruited and employed as a matter of necessity.
Theywere encouraged to leave their homes to go and play crucial role ineconomy to ensure the war is worn by men.US troops in the battle madebrave sacrifices to ensure peacetime which would follow but the roleof women cannot be downplayed since they assisted them to win thewar. It is apparent that involvement of women aided the economy togrow and helped the troops win the war
Mimi,Hoesley. Women in WWII: HowWomen’s Entry into the Public Sphere Helped Win the War andinfluence Gender Workplace DiscourseModern Political Economy: Final Paper, 2013.