Fairer Sex: World Wars!

(I apologize for not coming out with this last week. I’ve been kind of busy and tired. This post may be less than par than usual. I apologize for this)

The world is at war and everyone contributing to the cause in some way. Whether it is actual fighting on the front lines or volunteering at the Red Cross at home. The World Wars were the turning point for women in the industry and society.

Rosie the Riveter is a iconic figure from World War II. She was created to  be a morale booster.

Rosie the Riveter is a iconic figure from World War II. She was created to be a morale booster.

Now women have already been working for years now, but mostly in poor-paying positions that didn’t promise much advancement- if any. But when most of the men left to go to war there was a gap in the workforce, so the people to pick up the slack were the women left behind.

From 1940-1945, the female working demographic went from 27-37%! That’s a 10% jump, in fact, by 1945, 1 out of 4 married had jobs outside of the home. They took on all sorts of jobs such as factory workers, x-ray technicians, secretaries, beat officers, conductresses for street cars; the list is near to endless.

Women during the world wars didn’t just take up jobs that were needed. Some women also served in the army. 70% of women who worked in the army were typists, clerks, and mail sorters. Now this might sound boring, but these were important jobs and now it no longer mattered whether you were a man or a women, but if you could do the job.

Now that previous sentence isn’t completely true. Because during World War I there was an issue of women being paid significantly less than their male counterparts. Throughout the years there were several strikes by women to have more equal pay. On example would be in 1910 at Cradley Heath, England, there were women who worked in a factory as chain makers. The regular minimum wage at the time was 26 shillings for men and 11 shillings for women. But at this factory the workers were being paid 5 to 6 shillings for a 54 hour week. The women went on strike and got a new wage at 11 shillings and 3d.

Another job that women participated in was the WASP organization (Women Air force Service Pilots). These women would fly newly made air crafts to military bases within the US. But sadly the program was closed down and records and documents of the program were sealed for 35 years.

But it wasn’t only the workplace that changed. Women’s clothing styles were also getting increasingly shorter in order to conserve cloth for the soldiers. Instead of wearing floor length dresses women were increasingly wearing knee to calves length dresses and skirts. The age of the floor length dress came to an end.

Sadly at the end of the Wars, instead of greeted with gratitude many women were sacked so that the jobs could be given back to men. The women who weren’t sacked were paid a lower wage then men. Disappointing as it was, it set the stage for future women and their job opportunities.

(Again I apologize for the lateness and shortness of this post. I hope to get back on track next week)

Read more and Citations
















http://www.striking-women.org/module/women-and-work/world-war-i-1914-1918#Women,Wages and Rights