by Jim McAllister
With November being the month that contains Veterans’s Day, I believe that it is appropriate to honor another group of individuals that were instrumental in the war efforts of this country during World War II: the women of America.
World War II had broken out in Europe by 1939. In the same year, the Depression was still raging in the United States and we would not be involved in the war until December 7, 1941 with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. At this time it was thought that the woman’s place was in the home and her duties included housekeeping chores like cleaning, doing laundry, and taking care of the kids. This was about to change with the U. S. involvement in World War II; a change that was never going to be fully reversed to the so called "old days".
The war effort was being fought on two fronts which required a tremendous use of manpower for the military forces. The men who did not go into the military were deferred because of war involved employment, physical disabilities, age, or various other reasons. Somebody had to pick up the slack in the American workforce so the call went out to that large untapped source: the American woman.
At first there was some resistance to women flocking into the workforce but by 1944 there were 19 million women working in the war industry. There were various forms of propaganda issued to justify the use of women in these jobs, one of which, as mentioned by Leila Rupp in her book, "Mobilizing Women For War", was that the situation was only temporary and that "allowed the public to accept the participation of women in unusual jobs without challenging the basic belief about women’s roles." (TEXT CONTINUES AFTER PHOTO)