Expert answer:Women in World War II Employment History Paper

  

Solved by verified expert:World War II allowed for even more opportunities for women as many men left for war. What do wartime attitudes reveal about women’s “proper” place, ideas of permanence vs. place-holders, and women in the public sphere? Don’t forget the additional reading and issues of ethics.Please create one page paper with evidence from the readings in the response.
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1943 Guide to Hiring Women
The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. This was written for male
supervisors of women in the work force during World War II.
“Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees: There’s no longer any question whether
transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has
settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use
them to the best advantage.
Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from Western Properties:
1. Pick young married women. They usually have more of a sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters,
they’re less likely to be flirtatious, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it, they still have the pep and
interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.
2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their
lives. Older women who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are
inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of
friendliness and courtesy.
3. General experience indicates that “husky” girls – those who are just a little on the heavy side – are more even
tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.
4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination – one covering female
conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit, but reveals whether the
employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job.
5. Stress at the outset the importance of time the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious
inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.
6. Give the female employee a definite day-long schedule of duties so that they’ll keep busy without bothering
the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent
workers when they have their jobs cut out for them, but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.
7. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day.
Women are inclined to be less nervous and happier with change.
8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for
feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply
fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.
9. Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off
harsh words the way men do. Never ridicule a woman – it breaks her spirit and cuts off her efficiency.
10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl’s husband or
father may swear vociferously, she’ll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.
11. Get enough size variety in operator’s uniforms so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be
stressed too much in keeping women happy.”
SS 350
1943 Guide to Hiring Women
1
Introductory Lecture __________________________________________________
World War II ushered in numerous changes for women, especially in regards to work. Ideas about
women working altered greatly during the war years, although many of these ideas were viewed as
“temporary” since women working in new jobs were “emergency” solutions. As you read the textbook,
participate in the discussion, and read this lecture, think about the ethical issues of what women were
told during the war (what they were “capable” of doing, for example) versus their dictated roles at war’s
end. What did the war prove for women? What did the war demonstrate to society? How did different
women and groups of women respond to the war?
One interesting way to look at the war is through women’s direct involvement in it, outside of the home
front. By the end of the war, more than 12 million men and women either had enlisted or were drafted
to serve in the war, a dramatic increase from the 250,000 military members in 1940. Women joined the
Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and the Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service (WAVES) in
droves; women in these and other service branches performed clerical, medical, and transportation
duties. This YouTube clip is from a recruitment video for WAACs:

Women found many new work opportunities in the war years,
particularly in fields formerly dominated by men, whose absence
from the labor force fostered a 141 percent growth in the number
of women working in manufacturing and a 436 percent growth in
the number of women working in war industries. Women saw
increased wages, as industry jobs paid better than clerical, sales,
and service jobs, and the number of women who worked in the
traditionally low-paying field of domestic service dropped by 20
percent. Older women were more likely to join the workforce
than women with young children, for whom the government did
little to provide child care; women who did find manufacturing
work still made lower wages than men and were less likely to be
promoted. “Rosie the Riveter” is one of the most recognizable
propaganda pieces from the war. As you look at this iconic image,
pay attention to the dualities of Rosie. She is portrayed as very
strong (her pose itself highlights her strength), and her facial
expression stresses strength and independence. Yet, there is something still traditionally feminine about
her. The Office of War Information did not want “Rosie” to be too masculine, so her handkerchief and
make-up underline ideas of femininity, comforting aspects to a nation worried that women working in
the new types of jobs would lose their femininity.
Though the image of the strong and forceful “Rosie the Riveter” dominated popular representations of
working women, most employers pitched jobs to women by comparing the work to household labor,
and most women were viewed by employers as only temporary employees. Propaganda to get women
into the workforce is very revealing about how society viewed women overall; consider the ethical
implications of some of the following appeals:
One of the concerns during the war was that women wouldn’t permanently take these jobs, that the
jobs would still be available to men when the war ended. We can see this in other propaganda. Consider
this piece of advertising from 1944:
A significantly higher proportion of women than ever before worked outside of the home and were
employed in war industries and manufacturing. Though they made lower wages than men, these women
workers provided a vital source of labor for companies experiencing shortages in their workforce as men
went overseas. In spite of the advances they made, women were often seen as temporary employees
who would work only until men returned from war.
For American families, rationing and finding ways to support the war effort became a core expression of
patriotism. The Office of War Information encouraged people to plant “victory gardens,” collect scrap
metal and rubber, and ration meat, butter, sugar, and gasoline.
Family life was transformed in the war years as more families had both parents working outside the
home, either with husbands overseas or with both spouses employed in factories. This meant that many
children were home by themselves after school, giving rise to the name “latchkey kids.” Juvenile
delinquency, venereal disease, and prostitution were on the rise, but couples did marry younger and
more frequently; they also had children quickly and, because of war-imposed separations, were more
likely to divorce than earlier generations.
World War II was characterized by lofty rhetoric that was full of the ideals of freedom, democracy, and
liberation from tyranny. The images of Rosie the Riveter and the Tuskegee airmen and the existence of
the Fair Employment Practice Committee belie the United States’ continued commitment to racial
separation and gender discrimination during the war. War mobilization certainly gave women new
opportunities, in particular the chance to work in jobs that required better skills and more training and
that paid higher wages. War industry work was a source of pride for women, and this is reflected in the
strong image of Rosie the Riveter. However, women were still paid less than men and were less likely to
get promoted, and their employers viewed them as temporary placeholders until men returned from
war. In addition, working mothers found that very few employers offered child care, which was
indicative of the cultural norm that women with young children should not work outside the home.
African Americans faced a similar combination of advances and setbacks. The creation of the Fair
Employment Practice Committee and of prestigious military units like the Tuskegee air unit highlighted
the promise of coming change. Nonetheless, the FEPC was symbolic more than helpful, and African
Americans continued to face employment discrimination as well as persistent segregation within the
military. In addition, racial violence continued, and in the summer of 1943 a wave of riots struck, the
worst of which took place in Detroit. You should recognize the complexity of the domestic context of a
war for democracy: Advances in equality were accompanied by setbacks, and the pace of change in the
United States was slow.

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