Women In WWII: A First Step Towards Gender Equality or The Other Way Around?

Dani Dhaini

Over the course of time, women thrived to fight against all challenges and norms that marginalized them. There were times when they had to yield to such atrocities because they didn’t have a choice or a higher power to protect their stances, but many things changed after the emergence of the second world war. Working in industrial facilities, aiding injured soldiers, and fixing various forms of automobiles, those were the types of jobs that women received during WWII.

Despite the fact that some working jobs were serving generally male occupations, females were luckily also conceded. Their entry into the world of work and various occupations that were always viewed as “male jobs” allowed for the breakage of the stigma and created an equivalent compensation for the losses. In fact, women at that time, were distributed several roles that allowed them to finally step into society and take their stances in labor contribution no matter its circumstances.

To begin with, since most women could not be invited to battle, they served a great function as medical attendants and nurses in the army, marines, and navy. However, this didn’t happen in a fortnight, for in May 1941, Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts acquainted a bill to provide women with internal army positions which took over a year for approval. After that, women were given the option to situate themselves in any different units within the army. The objective of adopting women for the military was to fill non-battle jobs such as being cooks, secretaries, and specialists. which would ease things for men as they fought the war.

While some were concerned about the war, other people especially worker guilds were concerned about men’s wages that might drastically increase after the war ends since they would have to return to their original jobs. In any case, the public authority’s need was the enrollment of laborers to support ventures and the war exertion. Similarly, people were also worried that because of occupying women during the war, would open up the possibilities for them to also get occupied postwar.

At this level, women would share the exact same positions equally with men without any help or management, but this was a troubling matter back then for many people and was very hard to accept. Most businesses figured out how to bypass the issue of equivalent compensation, and the female compensation stayed normally at 53% of the compensation of the men they supplanted. It is unfortunate though, that jobs that required semi-gifted experiences and incompetent positions were always given to women because they were said to be “incapable”.

Even though their new portability caused numerous Americans a feeling of anxiety and discontent, mechanical development and military activation permitted women to use the country’s trains and transports. Likewise, these women who traveled alone or with their families were treated disdainfully and terribly by their neighbors each day as they came back from work. For instance, people reprimanded female shipyard laborers who came into town as “messy and tired” toward the finish of their works day in Poland, Oregon.

At the time when the war was close to an end, a huge number of women were encouraged to keep their positions and their freshly discovered financial and social autonomy, yet they were all virtually laid off as men got back from military assistance looking for their occupations. Did such unjust encounters against women help inflame the Women’s Rights development of the 1960s? Most antiquarians say “not actually”; it was the Civil Rights development that assisted with prodding the drive for correspondence of women. Thus, in the years that followed the war, women proceeded with wearing their obligated masks as mothers and housewives only, while men continued to climb the pole of superiority and dominance.

Working moms had to settle on troublesome options during the war years. Some had to take on guarding positions or night shifts so that they could spend time with their kids during the day, and work at the time they should be resting. Some of the women who worked day shifts were scrutinized for leaving their kids. As opposed to “devoted motives”, social laborers and school staff theorized that ladies entering the work power were prodded by “extra pay and a too extraordinary status to dodge full obligation regarding their kids.” Later on, reports on expanding adolescent wrongdoing showed up in magazines and papers causing the pressure on moms to accept full accountability for their kids to escalate during the war years.

Contrastingly, Various studies and surveys of female laborers found that they generally needed to stay in the work field instead of getting back to their prewar business conditions. All of these efforts that advocated “containing or restricting” women during the last part of the 1940s by persuading them of playing the roles of goddesses in their own houses, backfired at them in the end. After building up the profound establishments of the correspondence campaigns -from social equality to ladies’ privileges to laborers’ privileges to gay and lesbian rights- their wartime encounters joined with aggregate memory not just influenced their little girls, sisters, and companions straightforwardly, but it has become the overwhelming focus in the postbellum ages.

Amidst the dread of the wartime and having a closer observation of women’s sexuality, charms, and “loveliness”, they were utilized to offer all that they are to embody the source of confidence and empowerment. The World War II years denoted the prime of the “pin-up young lady,” and a remarkable presentation of American ladies’ bodies. Famous actors, for example, such as Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, and Lana Turner were presented enticingly to picture takers and different craftsmen whose prints, banners, and schedules were duplicated in the millions and traveled broadly. Conventional American ladies replicated such stances as they sent those stateside photos to military camps and abroad to battlefronts. Even surprisingly and out of enthusiastic obligation to cover a concise experience or to seal a sentimental relationship, numerous females made the following consistent stride by in a real sense offering their own bodies.

In a nutshell, the question could still be asked further today: did the war come to save women from their treacherous histories, or to add up to their constant miseries? Those women altogether changed their spot in labor and in the public’s eye by committing certain forfeits that lead them to lose themselves at some point. From driving road vehicles to selling war bonds to working in guard businesses, women assumed a significant part in assisting the country with planning and winning the war. Despite them having to achieve such high standards in being primary emblems of power and assistance, women still encounter many circumstantial issues that are scarred today. However, their contributions remain valid and significant, and we will always recall their sacrifices as men were shedding their own blood on the war fields. Such sacrifices never go unnoticed.


Jacobs, M., & Lathan, J. (2015). World War II: Women on the home front. Retrieved from https://dp.la/primary-source-sets/world-war-ii-women-on-the-home-front

McEuen, M. A. (2016). Women, gender, and World War II. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.013.55

Striking Women. (n.d.). World War II: 1939-1945. Retrieved from www.striking-women.org/module/women-and-work/world-war-ii-1939-1945

Spring, K. A. (2017). In the military: During World War II. National Women’s History Museum. Retrieved from www.womenshistory.org/resources/general/military

The National WWII Museum. (n.d.). Research starters: Women in World War II. Retrieved from https://www.nationalww2museum.org/students-teachers/student-resources/research-starters/research-starters-women-world-war-ii

Leave a Reply