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Surname 1
University Affiliation
Student Name
Surname 2
World War II is generally identified as the time when, for the first time, the American
women took various responsibilities outside their homes in huge numbers. Before World War II
erupted in 1939, women were not allowed to engage in any activity outside their home duties for
any form of payment. This was, however, only allowed for the traditional female professionals
such as the typists and cloth makers. During World War II, everything about women changed
where women in large numbers were recruited in the workforce between 1940 and 19451. This
paper will look at some of the role played by women during World War II and some specific
women who played the most vital role in the war. It will also look at the challenges women went
through, the Rosie the Riveter campaign as well as their fate after the war ended. The paper will
also give a summary of how World War II empowered women who served in various positions.
Women in the armed forces
After the attack on the Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, the United States became less
reluctant and committed itself to revenge and enter into the war with a full force. To accomplish
this, it vowed to utilize all of its resources and this included women in the country. Initially,
women who went into the armed force served as secretaries, department storekeepers and
receptionists. This changed immediately after the attack happened and more women got actively
involved in the main war activities even though there were those still working in the same
positions. About 350,000 American women were said to have joined the military during World
Goldin, Claudia D. “The role of World War II in the rise of women’s employment.” The
American Economic Review (1991): 741-756.
Surname 3
War II. Most of these repaired broken planes drove military trucks, did all clerical works, and
became nurses as well as doctors to the injured soldiers. The idea to involve women in the war
was pushed by the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and different women groups who did a lot of
campaigns to let the General allow women to participate in the war.1 General George Marshall
accepted the idea after further being impressed by how the British Army used women in their
workforce and had to implement the ideal. He, therefore, created a women service branch in the
army force, which in 1942 was upgraded by the Congress and became Women’s Army Corps
(WACs). This branch constituted a full army status whose members worked in more than two
hundred non-combat jobs.
The WACs membership grew significantly throughout the wartime where in 1945, the
members were more than 100,000 and more than 6000 officers who were female. Women in the
navy department were known as Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES)
and held the same status as those other naval reservist and also provided great support in the
stateside2. Later, the Marine Corps and Coast Guard also accepted women in their operations
after seeing their efforts and their capabilities but they did this in small numbers. About 1000
Women were also involved in the air force through the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots
(WASPs). Most of those women have a pilot’s license way before the start of the war and this
was their opportunity to show their prowess and at the same time, serve their country. They,
Westbrook, R. B., (1990). ” I Want a Girl, Just Like the Girl that Married Harry James”:
American Women and the Problem of Political Obligation in World War II. American
Quarterly, 42(4), 587-614.
Surname 4
therefore, the first women who flew the American military aircraft. Their roles involved
transporting cargo, ferrying planes from the factories and taking part in the target missions as
well as in simulation strafing. Accumulatively, these women flew the aircraft for more than sixty
million miles from the beginning to the end of the war allowing many of the pilots to actively
participate in the war. By the end of the war, thirty-eight out of the one thousand WASPs died
but unfortunately received no military benefits or honors even after all the forts and the sacrifice
they gave for the country. This, however, changes in 1977 where all the Women’s Airforce
Service Pilots (WASPs) received until military status where they are now considered as soldiers.
Thirteen years later, on March 10, 2010, a ceremony was prepared in the Capital where all the
WASPs were given the Congressional Gold Medal which is considered as the highest honors that
a civilian can receive.3 The event was attended by approximately two hundred Women’s
Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) who are still alive where most of them were wearing the
uniforms that they wore during World War II.
Rosie the Riveter campaign
The Rosie the Riveter campaign was a government made propaganda mainly for
influencing and motivating women to voluntarily participate in the war, whether directly or
indirectly. One of the ways the government did this was using an image of a woman having a
bandana on her head and one of her arms on the air as a sign of might and of being fearless. The
campaigns saw more than 310, 000 women participate directly or indirectly in the war3. The
Jensen, Kimberly. Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the First World War. University of
Illinois Press, 2008.
Surname 5
campaigns were conducted in posters, newspapers, articles and photographs, among other
avenues. Today, Rosie the Riveter work has inspired many popular women all over the world
where her image is still being used. For instance, during Hillary Clinton’s presidential
campaigns, she used the image as a sign of strength and valor as a woman. This was also a way
of showing women that it is possible for them to lead and build the nation as well. The portrait
has also been used by Beyoncé, who a popular singer, on her Instagram page which sends an
important message of female empowerment.
Challenges women faced in World War II
During the war, the role of women changed drastically and some women had a hard time
to adjust to the new functions and duties. The working women, especially mothers who had
small children, faced the most significant challenges during the war. This is because they were
forced to carry out more than two roles as a wife, a mother and at the same time as a worker
where some were involved in demanding jobs like being pilots. To try and address this
challenge, the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt pleaded with her husband Franklin Delano
Roosevelt to approve the 1942 Community Facilities Act which advocated for creation of United
States government childcare facilities. It was after this that seven different centers were created
which had a capacity of serving about 105, 000 children4. The First lady also advocated all the
companies where women worked to adopt the same facilities where women would leave their
children and concentrate on their work.
Plain, G. (1996). Women’s fiction of the Second World War: gender, power and resistance (p.
813). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Surname 6
Women also experienced inequality and discrimination in the workforce. Most of the
women who entered the workforce were in occupations that were regarded as highly skilled and
that were to be preserved for men such as rain and fire engine drivers. These women, therefore,
deserved to be paid equal pay as their male counterparts. This, however, was not the case where
there was inequality in payment. A lot of debates happened advocating for equal pay. AfricanAmerican women faced a lot of discrimination during World War II. In the first place, AfricanAmerican women found it very hard to get a chance to participate in World War II. Those who
managed to get an opportunity to participate experienced a lot of discrimination from the
American women making their life even harder.
How World War II empowered women
Most women worked as housewives and those worked outside their homes only worked
as secretaries and receptionists or storekeepers. Women who worked in civilian jobs learned
crucial skills and experience. According to Kelvin Hymel, who is a historian at the U.S Air Force
Medical Service History Office said that women became self-sufficient during the work when
the men were away. They ensured that they did various repairs at home and in their designated
areas of work. Estimates show that about six million women worked in the civilian workforce
either in white collar of blue collar jobs. The motto for the women was to free the men so that
they could go and fight actively in the battlefields.5 The women, especially the nurses, developed
great courage where they had to work in dangerous environments. They had to be in the front
lines and attend to those injured during the war or had to go near aircrafts fires or under artillery.
They sometimes also had to pass through mud, freezing temperature areas or in scorching areas
Eisenstein, Hester. Feminism seduced: How global elites use women’s labor and ideas to
exploit the world. Routledge, 2015
Surname 7
which made them hardy and more courageous than before. The fact that women previously did
house chores where they were never paid and only relied on their husbands for money, they
became financial free after accepting to be involved in the war. Even though they were poorly
paid compared to their male counterparts, it was much better since they had money for their own.
The fate of women after World War II
Women during the war utilized every opportunity they received, where they proved their
abilities and prowess in every field. This meant that they deserved equal pay and equal work
opportunities, even after the war was over. Many women enjoyed financial, emotional and social
freedom during the war years and many of them feared that this would fade away within no time.
After the war in 1945, women had to leave the workforce and go back to their homes. Some of
them were very okay with this and left their positions with whole new experience, skills and
confidence. However, most of them were not happy about this and wanted to continue. Those
who remained behind were all demoted to a lower rank or role as a way to discourage them.
All in all, the role played by women in World War II showed that men could never totally
claim that they are superior to women anymore6. Women continued to fight for more personal
and financial freedom in the military as well as in different work environments. This happened
quite slowly for over twenty years after the Second World War, where women started being
involved in nontraditional jobs and earned equal rights and pay just like their male counterparts.
Hughes, Sarah Shaver, and Brady Hughes. Women in World History: v. 2: Readings from 1500
to the Present. Routledge, 2015.
Surname 8
The role of women can never be underestimated in the Second World War where they
exhibited tremendous courage and commitment in serving their country even though their effort
was not appreciated as it should be after the war. The women who were more than willing to
continue with their positions could be allowed and encouraged to do so to strengthen the military
force. However, this was not the case where they were forced to live the military and had to go
back to their homes. The county should have taken a bold step to ensure all the skills and
experiences of the women is well utilized even in other fields apart from in military.
Surname 9
Eisenstein, Hester. Feminism seduced: How global elites use women’s labor and ideas to exploit
the world. Routledge, 2015.
Goldin, Claudia D. “The role of World War II in the rise of women’s employment.” The
American Economic Review (1991): 741-756.
Hughes, Sarah Shaver, and Brady Hughes. Women in World History: v. 2: Readings from 1500
to the Present. Routledge, 2015.
Jensen, Kimberly. Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the First World War. University of
Illinois Press, 2008.
Plain, G. (1996). Women’s fiction of the Second World War: gender, power and resistance (p.
813). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Westbrook, R. B., (1990). ” I Want a Girl, Just Like the Girl that Married Harry James”:
American Women and the Problem of Political Obligation in World War II. American
Quarterly, 42(4), 587-614.
Style Manual
Department of History
Saint Mary’s University
Table of Contents
How to format an essay or term paper
How to footnote or document research and create a bibliography
What is a bibliography?
A note on plagiarism
Sample footnotes and bibliography
Journal articles in print, as a pdf, from an electronic database, or
Websites and internet sources
Other formats such as conference papers, book reviews,
dissertations, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedia entries
Archival sources and microfilms
How to format footnotes for the second, third reference to the same book,
journal article or electronic citation (and what ibid means)
Further guides to writing, research papers and style formats
Sample history essay with examples of title page, footnotes,
bibliography, ellipsis, block quotations
This style manual is designed to help students format the essays they write for History
courses. It includes information on how to do footnotes gathered from different types of
books, articles and online sources and then set up a bibliography of these sources. The
sample essay and bibliography provide examples of how to document the research for a
History essay.
i. Title Page
The title page of every term paper or report should contain the following information: the
full title of the paper, the name of the author of the paper, the name of the instructor to
whom it is submitted, the name and number of the course, and the date the paper is
ii. Spacing and Margins
Papers should be word-processed using a size 12 font such as Times, Times New
Roman or Palatino. Use standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ (216 x 279 mm) letter white paper. The
paper should be double spaced, with one-inch (2.54 cm) margins at the top, bottom and
sides of the page.
iii. Pagination
Number every page of your paper (not including the title page) in the top right-hand
corner of the page. You may also include your name immediately before the page
number to protect your work.
iv. Indentation and Paragraphs
Indent paragraphs five spaces from the left-hand margin. Leave no extra spaces
between paragraphs.
v. Quotations
Inserting words into a quotation
All quotations should correspond exactly with the original in wording, spelling,
capitalization, and interior punctuation. If it is absolutely necessary to insert words of
your own into the quotation then use square brackets around the inserted words to
indicate that you have done so. In the following example, the pronoun “him” has been
replaced with the name of the historian [Ranke], placed in square brackets to clarify the
meaning of the quotation for the reader and to indicate how the citation has been
slightly changed: “Thus the American Historical Association in 1885 elected [Ranke] as
its first honorary member, hailing him as ‘the father of historical science.’” See this
substitution identified by square brackets on p.2 of the sample essay attached to
this guide.
Block quotes
Note that long prose quotations in excess of approximately 40 words (or more than
three lines) should be should be set off by beginning a new line, indenting ten spaces,
and typing the quotation as a single-spaced block without using quotation marks. See
the example of a block quotation on p.1 of the sample essay attached to this
As cited in
When a citation is not borrowed from the original source but taken from a quotation in a
secondary source it is important to indicate as cited in or as quoted in. See the
example of a quotation written by Ranke in the 1820s as cited in a book written in
the 1990s by the historian John Tosh on pp.1- 2 of the sample essay this guide. It
is always better to use the original source if possible.
If you wish to omit words from a quotation, indicate the omission by the use of an
ellipsis (three spaced periods that look like this …). See the example of the use of an
ellipsis on p.1 of the sample essay attached to this guide. When leaving words out
remember the obligation to represent fairly the quoted author and the need for the
quotation to make grammatical sense. Where the ellipsis occurs at the end of a
sentence, use four periods with no space before the first. Always enclose commas and
periods within the closing quotation mark. Four spaced periods (that look like this ….)
may also be used to indicate the omission of a whole sentence or even of a paragraph
or more.
How to Footnote or Document Research and Create a
You must list all sources referred to in the paper in a bibliography at the end of the
paper, and you must document your source:
1. When you quote directly from another writer.
2. When you are paraphrasing or summarizing material you found in another writer’s
work. Even if you rephrase this material in your own words it is still plagiarism if
you do not cite your source in a note.
3. When you state a fact that is not common knowledge.
Footnotes or endnotes are used primarily to acknowledge the source of your information
— not only direct quotations, but also specific facts and opinions. A secondary usage is
to make incidental comments upon your source or to amplify textual discussions, i.e., to
provide a place for material which the writer considers essential, but which would
disrupt the normal flow of the text.
It cannot be overemphasized that in a history paper sources of all information about the
past, unless it is common knowledge, must be documented. Undergraduate students
are often unintentionally guilty of plagiarism because they assume that when material is
paraphrased, rather that quoted directly, it need not be acknowledged. The rule is that
all statements of particular opinion which are not original with you, and all facts which
are not common knowledge, must be noted.
The individual writer must judge what constitutes common knowledge. Many phrases
from the Bible or from Shakespeare are proverbial and need not be noted. Likewise, it is
common knowledge that Victoria was Queen of England in the 19th century, but it is not
common knowledge that she became Empress of India in 1876. If you are in doubt as to
whether something is common knowledge or not, then you should probably document it.
Notes may either be placed at the bottom of the page (footnotes) or gathered together
on a page or pages at the end of the text (endnotes). For the reader it is more
convenient to use footnotes.
Footnote Numbers
Footnotes should be numbered in one series through an entire paper or report, except
in a thesis, where each chapter contains its own series of footnotes. Indicate the place
in the text by an Arabic numeral (1,2,3), placed immediately after the passage or
quotation to which it refers, and raised slightly above the line. Footnotes and endnotes
should always be single-spaced. If more than one source is cited, each citation should
be separated by a semicolon. See examples of footnotes in the sample essay
attached to this guide.
What is a Bibliography?
i. Bibliography Defined
A bibliography is a list of all sources (books, articles, internet sources, lectures,
interviews, radio or television programs,etc.) that you have used in the preparation of a
paper. The entries in a bibliography are arranged alphabetically according to the
authors’ last names and are placed on a separate page or pages at the very end of …
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