Paper on the War ManPower Commission - How World War II Helped Change the Role of Women

Women overtime always had many different roles to play this was nothing new. But, when world war II started their roles changes towards a different direction. The men were gone they all were at war. The president at the time told the women they needed them to fill the spaces in various jobs until the men came back from war and then they would return back to the home where they belong. “The government created the War ManPower Commission which sought to persuade women to take industrial jobs and dedicated itself to get women into factories and related civilian activities” stated the class sheet on V- girls. Throughout this semester as a class we learned that a women’s place was in the home and they were always beneath the man. Women were under a system called patriarchy and coverture where they were ruled by the man and also covered by them.

In class, we saw the film “The life and times of Rosie the riveter”. The Differences between the images presented in world war II propaganda newsreels and the real women who told their own stories was drastically different. The commercials made the jobs women were going do look glamorous but, in all reality they were far from that. The jobs were portrayed to be easy, safe business. Many women had to work in factory’s it was a state of emergency. Men got the credit for the work women did. No women could cash a check or go to a movie. The man had power by going to war. Women got free job training. Women needed to take over the jobs because, the world was going to war and all the men were gone. 144 women began working in novelty factory’s they made a dime plus they complained the job was boring and sad. They survived on eating alot of beans worked for a dollar a day and some had Thursday and Sunday off. They did house work, work in restaurant, hotels, chambermaids, field workers picking cane and corn, make molasses etc. One particular women worked on a farm the owner did not realize that she was a woman. She worked so well and she was built strong like a man. If he knew she was a woman he said he would of never hired her. Working in a factory some earned good money and got their very own social security cards. The bosses of the various jobs women worked for did not make the job easy for them. They were treated badly at times. White women got jobs over black women segregation was very much alive. Some women worked in shipyards for a dollar and five cents helpers made eighty-five cents. Women had a good attitude about their jobs. A women got hit in the head while working by the pipes and also one was working at an ammunition place without shoes got blown up into pieces. So women decided not to take that job and I totally agree with them. Women made less than men there was definitely a wage gap. Women had to earn a living there was no one to take care of them. They confronted their bosses and this made the heads upset. Black women made five cents less than what the white women were paid. Society believed that all women were good for only getting married and having children.

Women who worked for unions this was very important. For example, the electrical union paid good women were given an eighty percent raise now they could save some money. There were eight hour shifts and overtime. You had to do the same work over and over again alone it was no more like domestic work. They work together with a bunch of women. Black women could not take showers at the same time as the white women this often caused a lot of problems and conflict. Unions in those days were very important but, they did not want to work with colored women. In those days women had it rough they had young children and Families to take care of all by themselves. They had to bring in the income plus take care of all the duties in the home. For example, Laundry, cleaning the home, looking after the children, cooking etc. Some women were lucky if they had a family member to help them out with the kids. The jobs that these women had did not have respect for women. They did not care about your family only their jobs and those duties you were to fulfill. So women had to leave their kids with family. Your family begins to be neglected that’s when these commercials came out about daycares starting and you could have a little less stress . Now knowing there was a place where they could leave their children safe and secured while they were at work. For example, one women worked on a shipyard and left her child for almost five years. In all reality their children needed looking after some had no where to send them but, to boarding school. While at war men were dieing their homes were falling apart and there was less structure. But, the men were dieing for a good cause. There was another propaganda commercials were mad portraying women as happy, loving their jobs as baby nurses and other job etc but, this was far from the truth these women were under so much stress because , of the various roles they had to play.

After the war women were going back to being housewives, factory owner’s were promised that women would have their old lives back. The men after the war a term was used “they got the longest sleep” and now they needed a job. There were a variety of civillian jobs for the returning veteran. Women jobs were still hard when the men returned. They had all their duties, chores, had to shop for groceries, take care of the kids, and still prepare lunch and look after their husbands. This was very challenging for the women. The husbands would come home and relax the women worked hard. They had ten hour shifts they did more than they had to and overtime was a must. There was a women building shifts the work of a man. While on the job a white boy was kicking a phillipino no one said nothing. The boy was trained to think black people were beneath him. The white boy cried because, the women fixing the shifts confronted him. The women got yelled at for picking up for the phillipino. Men were away at war for more than two years so work had made life
sweet for the women. During the war prices for everything went up especially for food. Your work began to be everyone elses. Women began to
be laid off black women first and white women next. The jobs were over when the war was terminated. Women went to school and worked four hours. Women learned many skills during the war. Before the war they were not that skilled. Women were put into sewing. White women got jobs as baby nurses and in department stores. Black women got jobs as maids and live-inn maids. Also, there were jobs as stock room girls, pressers, in airports, cooking, and dishwashing jobs.

The jobs women use to do they couldn’t get hired after the war because, they were women. These women had a lot of responsibility. Women desperately needed money to take care of their family. Women were homemakers and housekeepers the men were the breadwinners. Independence also came to women they could terminate there own marriage. The film also talked of “the modern women the lost sex.” Women should have their own careers. Wives had become their husbands rivals. Furthermore, now that the men returned there was an increase in birthrates. Everyone was having babies 4million were born they were called baby boomer’s. There were magazines coming out on topics of how to raise your children, recipes, movies, wars, and romance. It was a different kind of propaganda. It talked of what women should be doing. Women were just a big joke society trained women to the role they wanted them to play. Money was the government’s objective and I feel that was wrong in a sense. Why build somebody up to then tear them down. I felt like the women in this time period was used and really under appreciated. But, they eventually overcame their adversity because, women are strong and we never stop fighting for what we believe in. Women are strong and should be respected for the trials they face and sacrifices they made so we the women of this era could have a better life.